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   The complex of rules governing the relations student groups enjoy with the University was "recodified" in a version we will call the "Kerr Directives." The Directives were issued on October 22, 1959, and the changes we shall discuss were made after this date. Some earlier events are, however, relevant to this discussion. 1

   On July 9, 1959 Kerr sent drafts of the new regulations to Professor Frank C. Newman, stating: "I would appreciate having the comments and suggestions of the Committee on Academic Freedom..." 2 After a meeting of the Committee, of which he was chairman, Newman sent Kerr specific recommendations on September 1. In the words of the Academic Senate Record,

"The most significant recommendation (with respect to the section 'Use of University Facilities') was to delete the entire Section ... with respect to rules and procedures regarding the specific approval of off-campus speakers. It was our considered view that the University should not require such specific approval...

"The most significant recommendation with respect to the draft on Student Organizations concerned the conditions for recognition. (We) proposed that organizations having as one of their purposes 'the taking of positions with reference to off-campus... issues' should not be debarred from the substantial privileges conferred by recognition.

"On September 30 ... President Kerr advised that (our suggestions) 'were most helpful' and that he had incorporated all of them except that (a)...he had 'decided to retain the system of speaker approval for all off-campus speakers sponsored by student organizations'; (b)... he had `decided to retain the original form of the draft which prevents extending recognition to organizations which have among their purposes 'the taking of positions (on) off-campus ... issues.'

"Unfortunately," remarks the Record. "these two exceptions were the essence of our recommendations."

   Similarly, on October 12 the Committee suggested to Kerr that the student government and its agencies should not be prevented from taking stands on 'off-campus' issues, but should be allowed to take such stands provided they made it "clear that they do not represent the University or the student body as a whole." Four days later Kerr informed them that he would not accept this recommendation.


   The Directives were printed in the Daily Californian on October 23, 1959, with a front-page editorial beginning, "President Kerr slapped student government in the face yesterday." The paper's criticism centered on the three points mentioned above. On October 27 the ASUC ExCom passed a resolution of protest 3 . At a rally the next day Slate urged student defiance of the new regulations. 4

   On November 4 an open meeting of students and faculty discussed the effects of the Directives and possible action against them. <5 The next day ExCom asked for a student poll. 6 On November 13. Slate announced that it was considering a court action to test the legality of the Directives, and sent a travelling committee to organize protest support on other campuses. 7

   President Kerr began to respond to the pressure on November 3, when he devoted four pages of the Daily Californian to a 'clarification' of the reasons for the new regulations. The paper responded two days later with an editorial declaring that the clarifications needed to be clarified.

   At a meeting of the Academic Senate on November 20, Kerr presented a revised set of regulations. The clause denying recognition to organizations having as one of their purposes the taking of positions on 'off-campus' issues was changed to read, "The organizations must not be identified with any partisan political or religious group, or have as one of its principal purposes the taking of partisan positions identified with such a group." The requirement of prior approval for off-campus speakers was changed to one of prior notification. 8

   Two questions are in order.

   (1) On October 23, Kerr stated that the regulations were devised after "widespread consultation...with administrative officers, faculty, and students." 9 Was this statement's implication justified, when the Academic Senate had complained that Kerr had disregarded "the essence of our recommendations"? And why did the student government say, in its resolution of October 27. "We further protest that (the Directives) were drawn up and established without the consultation and involvement of students"?

   (2) Why were the regulations changed? The official answer was, "Kerr...said the change was made because the original wording was subject to interpretations which were never intended." 10 This explanation is insufficient, for the change was not only in the wording, but in the content. The newspaper had a different theory: "The recent Kerr modification was attributed to the Academic Freedom Report." 11 But the part of the Committee's report suggesting the changes that were made was in Kerr's hands a month before the regulations were made public, and he specifically rejected its recommendations.


   After the first change, the Committee on Academic Freedom commented:

"(We) are of the opinion that the whole distinction between 'recognized' and 'off-campus' organizations might well be eliminated ... we now cannot envisage any harm to the University that would result from making its facilities available to... student organizations with avowedly partisan political or religious goals." 12

   But the Administration had a different opinion. On July 24, 1961, rather than eliminating this distinction. President Kerr formalized it. The 1959 Regulation on Student Organizations had provided a single category, that of 'recognized student organization.' The 1961 Privileges of Student Organizations which replaced it crested the new category of 'student organization authorized to use University facilities for special events', or `off-campus' organization. 13

   Let us note that, though nominally this change might be conceived of as a liberalization, in practice it proved to be a restriction. For example, State, SCAL, and SAAT were not granted on-campus status under the new rulings. 14

   The difficulties which motivated the change were forecast by the Committee on Academic Freedom in 1959:

"We feel that it will be in practice extremely difficult to draw any clear-cut line between 'recognized' organizations, which may now concern themselves to some extent with political and religious issues, and 'off-campus' ones, which allegedly have partisan motives."

   The Administration's reluctance to extend recognition to 'partisan' groups comes from the fact that such recognition affords outside pressure-groups the chance to criticize and, possibly, to damage the University (c.f. appendix on HUAC and Slate) After the HUAC demonstrations of 1960, criticism of the University and of students was particularly strong. The California Senate Fact-Finding Committee on UnAmerican Activities devoted 80 pages of its 1961 report to student activities at Berkeley: much of this space concerned Slate. The Committee's report also included a rather unsavory criticism of President Kerr for laying the campus open to such groups. 15

   Such pressures led an administrative official to tell a Slate member that the administration ". . .would prefer that I not proceed with sale of (Sounds of Protest) because any further connection of the University with the demonstrations could seriously affect its possibilities of getting funds, including government money, and. . .would also affect the University's image with prospective students. . ." 16

   The suspension of Slate's 'on-campus' status in June 1961 17 is also relevant to the question of why Kerr formalized the distinction between 'on-campus' and 'off-campus' organizations. For the two previous years Slate and the Administration had conflicted frequently over what privileges and rights Slate had. Following the suspension, a small but vigorous protest in Slate's behalf was made by a group of faculty members. 18

   In short, there was a clear need for the Administration to take a stand. It might have accepted the Academic Freedom Committee's previous recommendation to eliminate the distinctions entirely. It might have disassociated the University totally from any student involvement in political affairs. Instead, it took a middle course.

   We are not, in this report, concerned with the justice of this choice. We only wish to point out that the available record indicates that it was motivated by fear of outside pressures on the University.

   One further point about this change in regulations must be made, in the interests of providing some information about how administrative policy is determined. On July 17, a group of 19 faculty members made a formal request to Kerr, asking that the revised regulations not be issued until they had been submitted to the Academic Senate for discussion. 19 The request was refused. Kerr instead consulted the Academic Council, which is regarded by many on the faculty as not representing the views of the Senate. 20 The new regulation was issued on July 22, unchanged from the draft form in which it had been circulated.


   In Fall, 1961 there was immediate student reaction to the second change. By September 14. Slate was circulating pamphlets attacking the Directives. The SCLU entered into discussion with the Administration. After prolonged debate, Slate named a delegate to the SCLU Consulting Committee. 21 The committee met with Administrative officials, and discussed a possible lawsuit against the University. 22

   On October 26 a headline in the paper reported: "Reps Relate Apathy To Kerr Directives". On November 13, Slate ASUC Representatives Ken Cloke and Roger Hollander published a lengthy criticism of the Directives in the paper. Two days later, open conflict flared flared when Kerr addressed an open letter to them on the front page of the Daily Cal. The next day they responded with another open letter, again on the front page.

   Kerr's letter read, in part. "The claim that' students' rights which previously existed' have been eliminated. . .is a good example of the 'Big Myth' technique at work. . ." It went on to offer Slate, and the whole student body, a "free choice" between the current directives and the corresponding rules under President Sproul. An appendix purported to give a point-by-point comparison of these two sets of rules, but unfortunately neglected to mention the liberalizations that Sproul had authorized in 1957. 23

   (Elsewhere in this report we discuss the successful attempt of Administrative officials to dictate to the ASUC ExCom a resolution affirming the Kerr Directives and, thus, refusing Kerr's offer. 24 )

   Kerr's open letter, which was unprecedented (and widely viewed as an attack on Slate), and the curious pressure put by the Administration on ExCom to insure its support, lead us to conclude that the Administration felt itself put under considerable pressure.

   This brief summary of the events of Fall 1961 may help to resolve the following puzzle. Kerr's open letter of November 15 devotes considerable energy to explaining that the then-current regulations were (a) carefully formulated, and (b) quite liberal. It makes no mention of any proposed further liberalizations. But on November 27 the Daily Californian reported:

"Only 72 hours notice need by be given for off-campus speakers as of December 1, according to a revision of the notification rule issued . . by Katherine A. Towle, acting dean of students. The present ruling says that any student organization which plans to hold a meeting at which an off-campus speaker will appear must file notification seven seven days prior to the event."

-- Michael Rossman
  Grad., Mathematics


1. For a summary of the differences between the first and the present versions of the Kerr Directives, see Appendix D.

2. All material about the Academic Senate, including quoted passages, is taken from the Academic Senate Record, Vol. 6, No. 2.

3. Daily Californian, Oct.28

4. Ibid.

5. D. C. Oct. 30, Nov. 4

6.D. C. Nov. 5

7.D. C. Nov. 13

8, 9. Academic Senate Record

10, 11. D. C. Nov. 24

12. Academic Senate Record

13. See present regulations.

14. D. C. Aug. 11, 1961

15. See, e.g., pages 83 and 95 of the report.

16. The quotation is from the appendix on the HUAC Demonstrations, q.v. See also the appendices on Slate and on the Faculty.

17,18,19. See appendices on Slate and on the Faculty.

20. Communications from several faculty members. I have softened their original phrasing, which was much more provocative.

21. In view of the events of Fall 1964, a note on Slate's internal debate is relevant. A minority of members felt that:

". . . the Administration has proved itself composed of unreasonable bureaucrats, so that to negotiate on reasonable grounds would be hopeless . . . Slate must act immediately and sensationally while the issue is still a topic of interest. Pressure the Administration by embarrassing them with constant demonstrations and petitions . . ."

A majority, however, took the view that:

". . . all legal methods, all negotiations must be exhausted before the student body could be aroused to the point that any direct action could be taken. With an educated student body, Slate has a better chance of pressuring the University, or, if that means fails, taking effective action."

These pessimistic views, reported in the Slate Newsletter of September 24 1961, testify to the extent to which many students were convinced that prospects for negotiations were poor. The history of negotiations attempted previously might perhaps account for this feeling.

22. D. C. Oct. 13, 1961

23. See the appendix on the liberalizations in Rule 17.

24. See Appendix C.


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