The Regents' meeting of November 20 resulted in surprisingly harsh rulings concerning the dispute over political activity on the Berkeley campus.
I. Although the Heyman Committee recommended that six of the eight students suspended on September 30 should not have been suspended at all, the Regents voted to confirm their suspensions; in addition, while voting to reinstate all eight, the Regents decided that Mario Savio and Art Goldberg should be placed on probation for the rest of this semester. Such probation could easily result in expulsion for both, because they have been in repeated violation of university regulations since September 30.
II. The Regents voted to allow the administration to take disciplinary action against students, staff, and organizations who advocate illegal off-campus actions. The wording of the resolution is ambiguous, and the responsibility for interpreting it is given to Chancellor Strong. The Regents rejected without consideration the proposals concerning political freedom made by various faculty members, the ASUC Senate, and the FSM.
These rulings (and others not discussed here) stunned the 5000 students awaiting the Regents' decision outside University Hall. It is the consensus of students involved in the controversy that the rulings are unconstitutional and unacceptable. The university must not set itself up as a secondary court, to punish students for actions which are liable to civil court action.
Chancellor Strong said in the Daily Cal Monday that "there will be no prior determination or double jeopardy in matters of political and social activities organized on the campus by students and staff." That's fine, for now. But the essential thing is that he can make "prior determination" not only of the act of advocacy but also of the act advocated. He can take disciplinary action against students -- whether they are subjected to court action or not -- if he decides to do so at any time in the future. This is clearly intolerable.
The Academic Senate is meeting this afternoon to discuss the Eli Katz case. This case involves the refusal by the administration, and specifically by the chancellor, to rehire Professor Katz, despite the recommendation of the German Department that he be rehired. In that instance the chancellor interpreted his powers as the case demanded. Professor Katz was not rehired as a direct result of insisting on his constitutional rights.
There is a close connection between the Katz case and the free-speech controversy, and we hope that the Academic Senate will consider this fact. Specifically, we expect the senate to take a stand against the Regents' rulings. Up until today the faculty has played the role of mediator in the dispute between the administration and the students. In so doing, the faculty has seriously compromised the principles of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The faculty, by its compromising proposals, has allowed the administration to becloud the principles involved.
LET THE FACULTY NOW STAND UP AND UNEQUIVOCALLY SUPPORT THE STUDENTS OF THIS CAMPUS IN THEIR JUST DEMANDS FOR FULL POLITICAL FREEDOM.
We urge all students to attend the Academic Senate meeting today -- place as yet undetermined.