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       No other medium of communication has consistently given such generous and impartial coverage of University affairs as KPFA, the listener-sponsored FM radio station located in Berkeley. In addition to carrying dozens of lectures and conferences given on campus under the formal auspices of the University, KPFA regularly gives air time to events sponsored by various student groups. For example, at one time this station carried a series of commentaries called "On-Campus Politics", on which students of all political outlooks from left to right expressed their views. Thus, KPFA has served and continues to serve as a vital channel of communication and education among the students, the faculty, the Administration and the community at large -- certainly the state's most discriminating radio audience.

       For a dramatic and detailed understanding of KPFA's relations to University affairs,one might turn to the circumstances attendant upon the station's (proposed) coverage of the debate between Fred Schwarz, leader of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, and William Mandel, a prominent Sovietologist and commentator for KPFA. The debate took place January 26, 1962, under the auspices of SLATE.

       The debate ran into trouble even before a word was spoken. Originally, the topic of the Mandel-Schwarz debate was this: "Resolved: Communist Professors Should be Fired." This title was the one specified by Mr. Schwarz. However, shortly before the debate was to take place, Dean Towle spoke to SLATE, saying that the debate could not be held on such a resolution. The Administration's fear was that someone might misconstrue this topic as an admission that there were, indeed, Communists on the faculty at the University of California. SLATE was further informed by Miss Towle that the debate would take place only if the subject were, "Should universities have as faculty members persons who are also members of the Communist Party?" Mr. Mandel, of course, was put in the position of having to take the affirmative on this question, which he did.

       Whether the debate was formally open to the public or not, the controversial appeal of its topic and its participants made it a public event. In fact, no registration cards or other identification were required of spectators for entrance into Wheeler Auditorium, the campus and local press were present in force, and recordings of the debate were made by the University, the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade (for later distribution and sale) and at least two or three other interested parties. (1) Thus, any distinction of the debate as an "on-campus" or "off-campus" event disappeared.

       Very soon after the debate, KPFA applied to the University for use of its tape of the proceedings. In doing so, KPFA was following its usual practice; for five years the station had been permitted to broadcast its own or Language Laboratory tapes of University -- or student-sponsored events, in toto, or segmentally. The station used the Language Lab tapes whenever possible to minimize its own expenses. Some of these tapes recorded events sponsored by such student groups as ASUC Forum (a speech by Mr. Schwarz on January 5, 1962), SLATE (a speech by Frank Wilkinson), Graduate Economics Student Association, University Young Democrats, and the Boalt Hall Young Democrats. Until the Mandel-Schwarz debate, no radio station besides KPFA had taped or acquired tapes of student-sponsored events. The Administration had never placed restrictions (except signed releases by participants, if necessary) on such tapes; neither had it required prior notification and approval of such taping and use of tapes. But, for whatever reason, the Adminstration chose to place a restriction (regardless of signed releases) on use of its tape of the debate. It specified that this tape must not be broadcast in toto, that it be billed as "excerpts" from the debate. After both Mandel and Schwarz signed releases, KEAR, which had also applied for use of the University's tape, agreed to the provision regarding "excerpts", and subsequently broadcast which excerpts they chose. KPFA did not agree to the provision and thus lost its usual privilege. Although "excerpts" remained undefined, although the station might have broadcast 99.9% of the debate, the tape would remain only "excerpts". In view of this, KPFA decided to act on principle, i.e., to be satisfied with nothing less than its usual full coverage, and to avoid acquiescing in what might thereby become an undesirable precedent.

       In placing such a restriction on the broadcasting of the tape, the Administration (2) invoked a long-standing regulation: " Student meetings or events, with the exception of regularly recurring athletic, forensic, dramatic or musical activities, shall not be open to the public without specific prior approval by the Chief Campus Officer or his designated representative." (3) To make the regulation apply to KPFA, it was necessary to regard the station as representing the general public, which it does. But what of press coverage, (4) and the indiscriminate admission to the Auditorium? Besides disregarding the de facto public nature of the debate, the Administration chose to extend what had applied rather obviously to seating policy, to radio coverage, but not to press coverage. And as far as KPFA was more specifically concerned, the Adminstration had invoked and broadened the rule in ex post facto fashion.

       One can only suppose that these rather mystifying actions must have proceeded from assumptions which were more than clear to someone within the Administration. An obvious conjecture, which assumes that the controversial nature of the debate was responsible for the restriction, is that the Administration, presented with adverse criticism, might have been able to imply that "excerpts do not tell the entire story." Thus "excerpts" receives the definition of "safety valve".

       Mr. Mandel himself has supplied another conjecture. He feels that his outspoken criticism, in the course of the debate itself, of the Administration's actions in the loyalty oath controversy during the early '50's, and his association with KPFA, may have combined to elicit such administrative restrictions.

       A third conjecture comes, here in paraphrase, from a highly placed official of the Administration itself: On the one hand, mass media cannot be entirely excluded from these programs, lest the public become suspicious about the goings-on at the University. On the other hand, the University is fearful of having a controversial speaker exploit the University's prestige through over-publicity of his University appearance. No disclaimer of endorsement by the University would be adequate to remove the inference of University endorsement. (In this connection, Dean Towle's care about the wording of the forensic resolution should come to mind.) None of these conjectures is verifiable. None is, conversely, capable of being disproved.

       There are at least two objections which can answer any "reason" or "conjecture" that the Administration would seem capable of advancing in behalf of its own actions in this case. The first is Mr. Mandel's: "The policy of permitting excerpted quotations at the discretion of the reporter makes possible misrepresentation of what was said when there is no possibility for the public to hear or read the full text." (5) The second objection is a broader correlation of the first: if the Administration is worried about unfavorable publicity, it should be more than willing to permit full reportage of entire programs, since local and national press editing is commonly slanted toward daily sensation, to the chagrin of the Administration and the misrepresentation of the University.

       The embroglio concerning tapes of the Mandel-Schwarz debate was a unique series of events only in that such a series has occurred neither before nor since. It is unique but not isolated. The following September, there appeared in the brochure "Information for Student Organizations" (page 9) the following: "Recordings of events which were sponsored by student organizations and open only to a campus audience, may be (similarly) released, provided they are to be played to a campus audience." It is probable that this regulation creates more questions than it lays to rest, for, apart from the difficulty of deciding what constitutes a "campus audience," the phrase "open to the public" alludes to the disputable broadened regulation, quoted above, which was originally invoked to deny KPFA's privilege of broadcasting more than "excerpts."

       It is of first importance to state unequivocally that, since the debate, KPFA has obtained prior approval to record their own tapes of student-sponsored events. Approval has not been denied them at any time. However, this policy has, in many instances, hampered KPFA. Many student-sponsored events are not publicized well enough in advance to permit KPFA enough time to acquire permission through the Public Information Office. For example, KPFA was not able to tape the speech given by General Walker on October 27, 1964. Since they were informed just a short while in advance of the speech they were not able to go through the red-tape required for them to be allowed to tape the speech. Under the former policy, KPFA would have been able to tape this speech with a few moments notice. This is merely one instance among many in which KPFA has been unable to cover on-campus events of immediate interest to the University community. It is of no less importance to realize what kind of shift of emphasis has taken place in the Administration's policy on tapes. One would have to misunderstand every word of this report in failing to realize that it is a shift from an unrestrictive policy regarding the mass media, toward a policy which does not define its criteria for approval, and is therefore arbitrary. And in becoming arbitrary in this matter, the Administration leaves itself open to immediate pressures from the community at large and obviates the task of explaining its actions to anyone. This amounts to nothing less than an utter absence of principle and an utter surrender to expediency.

       The value, if not the necessity of adequate and unshackled reportage and communication of student thought and action to the general public is hardly an arguable point. The Administration does not seem to grasp the seriousness of this idea. If the importance of the actions surrounding the tapes of the Mandel-Schwarz debate could be termed an "epitome", it could as well be termed "the visible tenth of the iceberg."

       -- Cassius Johnson, Teaching Assistant in English
           Joseph La Penta, Teaching Assistant in English
           Fanchon Lewis, Alumna


(1) See photograph in Feb. 1, 1962 issue of the Oakland Tribune showing five microphones on the podium. One microphone could have been the PA system.

(2) See statement by Alex Sherriffs in Daily Californian of Feb. 1, 1962.

(3) Regulation on the Use of University of California Facilities, Revised August 16, 1961, IV b, page 3.

(4) San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 27, 1962, page 7; Berkeley Review, Feb. 1, 1962; Daily Californian, Feb. 1, 1962; Oakland Tribune, Jan. 27, 1962, page 1.

(5) Mr. Mandel's letter to ASUC Ex Com, Feb. 28, 1962.

Item I. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to document how heavily KPFA's treatment of student political and social activity has cost it with the power structure. It should be noted that such an outspoken programming policy has made KPFA and its sister stations (KPFK, Los Angeles; WBAI, New York) the target of harassment by all manner of reactionary groups. TOCSIN, "the West's leading Anti-Communist Weekly", has often run articles about the stations, its policies and its employees. (Vol. 4, No. 4, Jan. 23, 1963, p. 1; Vol. 4, No. 7, Feb. 13, 1963, p. 1). The Pacifica Foundation has been investigated (Jan., 1963) by the US Senate Investigating Subcommittee, and has been harassed by the Federal Communications Commission's requirement that its managers sign loyalty oaths (November, 1963.)

Item II. Mr. Mandel earns his livlihood partially as a translator. He had done piece-work translations for a Professor E. V. Laitone. After the HUAC affair in 1960, Mr. Mandel contacted Professor Laitone for work, and was told that he (Prof. Laitone) had been informed by the University Security Officer that Mr. Mandel should no longer be given work. He has, however, done work subsequently for members of the faculty in the capacity of a translator.


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