Peter Franck Interview

October 17, 1964
Franck

Apparently, the campus was pretty much wide open until about 1932. Then, the radical political activity in the country was on campus and the press started to attack the University for Communism on the campus. In 1932-1934 [Gordon] Sproul, the president then, passed an edict which shut down the campus, basically by the device of barring any non-recognized student groups from presenting speakers or using campus facilities and by setting up a rule that no partisan political organization, or religious one, could be a recognized group. So, the groups couldn't be on the campus. As a matter of fact, they used the separation of church and state as a kind of excuse. The rule Sproul instituted at that time became known as Rule 17, and was the subject of controversy on the campus for the next 20 years.

Numerous efforts were made to get it repealed. The last, before the successful one, was in 1949. That was led by Larry Spicer, who is now the ACLU Washington lobbyist, when he was a representative on the ASUC Executive Committee. That one didn't work. The Student Civil Liberties Union agitated from time to time for a change. In 1955, Hank diSuvero got elected to the ASUC Executive Committee, in a quiet campaign. We decided on another attempt to get this rule changed. This was a time when to be a member of the Student Civil Liberties Union put you more beyond the pale than being a member of the YSA [Young Socialist Alliance] does now.


FSM

Can you spell out approximately what Rule 17 entailed?


Franck

Yes. I did a history of it. It went through a series of modifications, the dates on which are very interesting. There were seven modifications, and they were almost all either in the summer or around January.


FSM

By modification you mean liberalization?


Franck

Not really. In some respects it was further restriction, but the basic provisions remained the same. That is, to do anything on campus, you had to be a recognized group, and you couldn't be recognized if you were political or religious. As I started to say, the first restriction in 1934 was that the YWCA at UCLA, which was just off campus and was sort of the headquarters of radical activity, was barred from sponsoring meetings of any kind on campus. When we made the decision to try to get the rule changed, we decided to attack it at its weakest point, which was "speakers" for educational meetings. We deliberately left for a later date two harder fights: business meetings and organizational meetings. The argument, of course, was easier to make that you should be able to present speakers of an educational nature than that you should have business meetings. We knew what the University was afraid of: pressure from the legislature, so we tried to frame the thing in such a way that they could best defend themselves from attack.

So, our basic proposal, which was adopted, was that groups which are predominantly composed of students, be allowed to present speakers on the campus, not that they be recognized. This is the genesis of this Class A, Class B stuff. Our basic idea, first, was to get a proposal that, in terms of their institutional concerns, would be acceptable; second, to get massive support for us. We had a plan to circulate a petition to the Regents, to get 10,000 signatures on the petition, and hoped that would do it. But we went through several drafts of the rule, and we talked to various people on the campus including Kerr, who was chancellor at the time. I had previously had various dealings with Kerr. I was the leader of the Students Civil Liberties Union and got to know him, sort of. We went to Kerr with this and told him what we were planning. We wanted to know his opinion about our draft of the rule. He proposed to us that before taking it to the campus, we try quietly, behind the scenes, to persuade the administration to change the rule.

We went along with his suggestion. Whether that was the right thing to do or not is an interesting question. We then negotiated with him for a while. We went through about three more drafts. He insisted on a provision excluding candidates for state office who would review the University's budget—a legislator, governor, or candidate for that position gets booed on campus and he takes it out on the University's budget in the legislature. It was with his support, his backing of the thing, that it was presented to Sproul, who was president of the university. We went along with the restriction, figuring it was fairly minor. We also went along with the provision—in fact, we may have proposed it—for fairly careful control over publicity for these meetings to avoid any implication of University sponsorship or endorsement.

Really, we modeled our disclaimer on the Stiles Hall one, which Stiles Hall was using then and still is. Then we decided we should go to some other groups on campus to get their opinions, so that we could present the rule to Sproul saying that we had consulted everybody under the sun. Among these groups were the Academic Freedom Committee of the [Academic] Senate. A member of that committee at that time was Frank Newman, now dean of the Law School. Newman really picked up the ball and ran with it. He had several meetings with us over the text, and we made some more revisions. He got the Academic Freedom Committee not only to endorse the rule in general terms, but they really went further than we did. They objected to some of the compromises we made with Kerr. At that time the structure of the faculty was that the Senate met once a year, and that was everybody. There was a representative assembly which was the operative body of the Academic Senate. Newman, working through the Academic Freedom Committee, got the endorsement of the Representative Assembly, which meant the Berkeley faculty, for our proposal. Then Newman went to Sproul, who presented the proposal to a state-wide advisory committee he had, which was composed of the heads of all the campuses, who made one change in the text we proposed. That was that the groups who could use the campus would have to be composed to exclusively, instead of predominantly, of students.

In March of 1957, Sproul announced that he was changing the rule. One of the more ironic things about this was that we decided to do this in an extremely hush-hush fashion. We set up a committee to back us composed of student leaders, from Hillel Foundation, Westminster House, ASUC, picking the more liberal ones, including the president of the ASUC at the time, who was a fairly liberal guy. This group was very secret—nobody outside knew about it—until almost the end. We had a fight with the committee at one point, with the leadership, about whether it was right to do this in secret. The fight was that if you come out in public and make the public think about it, the Administration loses face and we won't get the rule changed, but if we get the rule changed without anyone knowing what's happening, there's no educational effect. I still don't know what the right answer to that was, but we kept it quiet. Finally, at the very end, we got it out. We presented it to the ASUC Executive Committee, which at that time represented graduate students, too. We asked them for their endorsement. I think that day or the day before we had already gotten the word that Sproul had made his decision. So we got, after the fact, the endorsement of the ASUC on the proposal.

There then developed a controversy over the interpretation of the words—between ourselves and the Administration. We issued a document stating what we had meant by the language, but it didn't seem to do much good.


FSM

You spoke about "Class A" and "Class B." What does this mean?


Franck

It means that certain groups, non-political, non-religious groups, were recognized student groups, and could have all their activities on campus. That was Class A. Other groups, political groups, which could not be recognized under this policy, were allowed to present speakers on the campus.


FSM

That was after you got the revision?


Franck

That was the revision.


FSM

That Class B, then, was the revision?


Franck

Yes. There were other things surrounding it, but the core of it was that non-recognized groups could present speakers on campus.


FSM

You said that you spoke to other people besides Kerr when you first wanted to make the change in the rule in 1957. To whom did you speak?


Franck

The Academic Freedom Committee; we had a discussion with the Cabinet of Stiles Hall; several of the religious groups. It was discussed in something called "The University Affairs Committee." That was an off-the-record leadership committee which met with the Chancellor. It was the chancellor's way of co-opting the student leadership, really.


FSM

This committee was students rather than faculty?


Franck

Yes. As far as faculty goes, other than the Academic Freedom Committee, I don't remember if we talked to any other faculty groups as such.


FSM

When this Rule 17 was originally invoked, was there any kind of massive protest?


Franck

There was protest. At UCLA, they actually threw three people out of school who were on the UCLA Senate for being Communists. I think they were Communists. There was a lot of hassle, and talk, but I don't think that there was any massive civil-disobedience.


FSM

Do you know what the straw was that broke the Administration's back? What form was the political activity on campus taking in 1932 when they finally had to get repressive about it?


Franck

There was a lot of pacifist activity, a lot of anti-war, anti-rearmament activity. There were some really massive anti-UMT [Universal Military Training] allies. Later, off-campus, there was supposed to have been a rally of 10,000 people, or something like that around 1938. The war-clouds were gathering. I am pretty sure that what finally sparked the repressive measure was that there was a great deal of criticism from the press. UCLA was being called the "Little Red School House," and the Los Angeles Times was attacking it for being a den of communists.


FSM

Do you know the actual date of the invocation of Rule 17?


Franck

(No direct answer) . . . What happened during campaigns was that presidential candidates would have to speak to students from the sidewalk. This (shows picture) is Stevenson in 1956, speaking at Oxford street. The only way you could speak to people on campus. At that time, Telegraph Avenue ran up to Sather Gate, and Sather Gate was a free-speech place. People would stand on the tail-gate of a station wagon or trailer pulled up on the street and speak to crowds.

Rule 17, when first promulgated, was promulgated as Rule 11, and I once had every version that went through. One change was on July 1, 1938. Another change was on October 15, 1939. As I recall, there was an initial statement of policy by Sproul, in 1932, promulgated as Rule 11. In 1936 it became Rule 17, and so it remained. And so, in general, the period from 1932 to 1934 was the crucial period.


FSM

You also made references to the "Stiles Hall Disclaimer." Can you tell us what that is?


Franck

When this happened, Stiles Hall adopted what they called a "no conform" policy, of allowing any student group to use their facilities. During the most repressive periods of the late 1930's, during the war, and in the 1950's, they were the only place where they could hold a meeting. Everybody else was scared. Stiles Hall, in spite of considerable pressure from the Community Chest, which they were a part of, and other sources, held to this policy. They required a disclaimer on publicity, saying something like, "Stiles Hall does not necessarily endorse this meeting, but adheres to its policy of freedom of speech, and lets the organization use its facilities."


FSM

Do you know who was running Stiles Hall at the time when all this started?


Franck

Yes. The Executive Secretary of Stiles Hall from the early 1930's, or maybe even earlier, until he retired in 1955, was Harry Kingman. Bill Davis runs Stiles Hall now; he helped start the Student Co-op, in 1932 or so, during the Depression.


FSM

You also spoke of the president of the ASUC during the time that you were trying to get the revision through. Do you remember his name?


Franck

Yes. It was Jim Kidder.


FSM

You spoke of "Article 9, section 9." What is that?


Franck

Article 9, section 9 of the Constitution of the State of California, establishes the University. It has a provision in it saying that in the appointment of the Regents and in the administration of the University's affairs, the University shall remain free of partisan political influence.


FSM

Has this ever been interpreted to apply to the students?


Franck

Every time the University wants to restrict the students, they claim that the state constitution requires them to. They claimed it on Rule 17. They claimed it on the Communist Speaker Ban. They've been claiming it now. Every time they retreat under the pressure, they conveniently forget about it. I'm told that somebody saw on Vice-chancellor Sheriff's desk a memo from the Regent's council office, saying that Article 9, section 9 doesn't require this. It is very clear that this was designed to prevent the University as an institution from getting involved in political fights. They got deeply involved around 1860. The University was in the hands of the Democrats, and the legislature was in the hands of the Republicans, and for two years the legislature didn't appropriate any money for the University. The University practically collapsed. It had nothing to do with student activities.


FSM

Does this have any relationship to Proposition 2, now?


Franck

You will find that the University, every time that there's a bond issue, uses various agencies at its command to bring political pressure to bear—even having the ASUC pass resolutions, sending things out to students, the Daily Cal running editorials, administrators making speeches, and so on. One of the things that was in Rule 17 was that even if a recognized group wanted to have a speaker, it had to present a balanced program. Essentially what it said was that you had to have a debate. Kerr made a slight liberalization of the ruling before the change by reinterpreting it to mean that [the meeting] could be part of a series. You could have a Republican one time and a Democrat the next time. And that was used restrictively.

Of course, tables have always been an important part of the political scene, and in about 1952, the City of Berkeley tried to ban them. There was a policy requiring you to get a permit. And really, what it came down to was that they denied the permits to people they didn't like. So a student, Ruec Amdor, put up a table in defiance. He applied for a table and was denied. He put up a table, and was arrested. I think that the table was for the Student Civil Liberties Union, but I'm not sure. Anyway, this was on the property of the City of Berkeley. ACLU took the test case, which it won, the court holding that the law was, then and is now, pretty clear that you could not arbitrarily deny a permit. This is one instance of repression by the City of Berkeley. After this court decision, there hasn't been any trouble with the city sidewalks.


FSM

This change in Rule 17. . .


Franck

The first speaker under the rule was a British member of Parliament, sponsored by Stiles Hall. Now, I would say that the fact that the change was made reflected some lessening of tensions. Sproul was largely responsible for there being an ASUC, which, during his regime, was a very important and quite prestigious organization on campus, much more so than it is now. I think he agreed to the change in the rule partly because he sensed that it wasn't as needed as it was before, partly out of respect for the students, partly to head off a mass agitation for broader change which would have shaken things up more. It was a subtle thing at the time to try to sense when they were loosening up, but by 1957 things were loosening up quite a bit. As a matter of fact, Sproul made the decision in March. We had started working on it the previous June. It was the following June, three months after he made the decision, that the Supreme Court came down with a whole raft of very liberal decisions—civil libertarian, that was the Watkins decision, that whole set. It was another sign of how things were loosening up. When I first came here, the period of 1953 to 1957, all the faculty and the student leaders, particularly Kerr, were hollering about student apathy. If you open the Daily Cal for that period, you see nothing but people deploring student apathy and how the students don't care about anything. They're not talking that way anymore. Activity on the campus picked up from there, is what I'm trying to say. The Student Civil Liberties Union was the only really political group around. There was also another group called Students to Combat McCarthyism. Essentially that was a CP [Communist Party] front. The Student Civil Liberties Union was an SP [Socialist Party] front.


FSM

Is there any way to document statements like that?


Franck

Ask the FBI! (much laughter)


FSM

But at least at the time, this was the general consensus of opinion? One was a CP front and the other an SP front?


Franck

No, no, no. General campus opinion was that anybody who was concerned with civil liberties must be a Communist. But the point is that the whole number of people who were active on campus in any kind of political sense, was probably no more than 50. Stiles Hall plays a very important role, because it was the one more or less respectable place where people got active and met. And the people who formed and founded SLATE came together in Stiles first.


FSM

Now, you were going to tell us the anecdote of how Kerr got to be president.


Franck

Yes. Let's deal with Kerr for a few minutes. I can't document this, at least I can't now, but I don't doubt it a bit. First Kerr got to be a chancellor by selling out the non-signers on the loyalty oath fight. He had made a name for himself as a labor mediator, and was an expert in labor relations. He had a good reputation as a liberal and as a Quaker. Around 1955, the University came under attack by the Burns Committee, the Un-American Activities Committee of the State Senate. They insisted on having a contact man on campus, somebody who they would have contact with who would give them information on subversive activities of professors, whom they could ask about professors. There was quite a stink about this. The ACLU was very much involved in that. On this controversy, which was a very important one at the time, the ACLU files would be the best source. Anyway, Kerr appointed himself contact man, which was a typical Kerr move.

I think Kerr's weaknesses as president stem partly from his Quaker background. He was not bad as chancellor, because he was good at heading off conflicts and avoiding them, rather than meeting them. What his idea was, was to appoint himself contact man, and simply not give them any information. Sort of meet their request, but quietly not do anything about it. This works when you're the chancellor, and you're in the middle between the local administration and the state-wide administration and political forces. This way of operating, in my opinion, doesn't work when you're president of a major university. And that's why he's in the fix he's in now.

In about the mid-1950's, I forget the exact date, the chancellor of UCLA campus, his name was Allen, started the witch-hunt within the academic world at the University of Washington. He asked for the first loyalty oaths, and fired the first people who refused to sign. He was pretty notorious for it. They brought him in and made him chancellor of UCLA, to clear up the Reds. In fact, the word is, that at about the same time, the guy that they sent up here from UCLA, the former dean of students, Stone, was sent to clean up the Berkeley Reds because he'd had experience with the UCLA ones. In 1955 or 1956, it looked like Sproul was due to retire. It looked like this guy Allen had the inside track for the presidency of the University, which we felt would be disastrous. And we still thought Kerr was a good guy. So I went with the president of the Student Civil Liberties Union to see Kerr. That's a hell of a thing to admit now. We told him that we were terribly worried that Allen might beat him out for the presidency of the University. What could we do to help him? And he said, "Oh, no, there's nothing. I'm not interested in being president of the University. I want to go back to my research." That was a lie. I discovered from a source quite close to Kerr whom I consider absolutely reliable (which I still feel I can't quote because this person is still around) that the way Kerr got the presidency of the university was to insinuate himself into the good graces of each regent individually. He's a great manipulator. He found out what each of the guys on the Board of Regents was interested in, what his pet project was, and he let that guy think that was what Kerr thought was just about the most important thing going. So that, at the meeting before the meeting at which Kerr was made president, there was a vote on who should be president. There was only one vote against Kerr, and that was Sproul.


FSM

What is your educated guess as to why Sproul voted against him?


Franck

First, because anybody in that position wants to pick his successor. Sproul probably had another idea. Second, there had been increasing conflict between Kerr and Sproul. Sproul also was very much an autocrat and wanted to run the whole University. Kerr wanted to run this campus his own way. Plus which, Sproul probably knew that Kerr wouldn't make a very good University president. This kind of scene that we've witnessed in the last few weeks, would never have happened to Sproul, not the way it did. If it had happened—everybody around the car—I am absolutely convinced that Sproul would have gotten up on the balcony of Sproul Hall, spoken to the crowd, and probably would have gotten them to go away. It would have been quite a different kind of scene. Kerr, on the other hand, is a faceless image of authority that nobody ever sees. He sends in his henchmen to do the work.

Shortly afterwards—after Kerr became president—there was a controversy. This goes to the question of repression and the students' rights, over what came to be called the Rynan Resolution. Bob Walters, who wrote that book (Stacey Towers), worked for two years at Stiles Hall. Stiles got a $25,000 grant from the Fund for the Republic for a pilot project to educate students on the Bill of Rights. Bob Walters was hired as the Executive Secretary to administer that project. I think it was Bob who first raised the issue of FBI agents and other government investigative agents coming to faculty members and asking them about the views of their students, expressed in the classroom. Frank Newman was involved. And a motion was made, eventually, in the Academic Senate that this be considered privileged information: what goes on between student and instructor in the classroom is nobody else's business. The Senate passed a resolution to that effect. This was the Rynan Resolution. This must have been in 1956 or 1957 [adopted November 28, 1958]. The problem that anybody faces when one of these agents comes to you, is that if you don't talk, there is an automatic suspicion that something is being hidden. So the notion was that if you could say that this is faculty policy, it prevents such a refusal from raising such an implication. Kerr got a reversal of this. Kerr got a lot of heat from the government on it. He got a phony ruling out of the Regents Council Office to the effect that the [Academic] Senate didn't have the power to do this. What they said was that the Senate didn't have the power to compel its members not to talk. Newman at that point dropped it, for some reason. He had some rationale which I don't understand. He subsequently got the deanship at the Law School, and that may have had something to do with it.


FSM

Did this remove the resolution?


Franck

Yes. The resolution was recalled. The Senate moved to reconsider it, I think the intention being to revise it, in such a way that it would handle this problem. And so far as I can understand, there's no reason why they couldn't have done that. But, they didn't.


FSM

What do you think of the legality of the resolution? The privileged information between doctor and patient and lawyer and client is a matter of law. How do you think that this between student and teacher would have stood up under the same kind of legal scrutiny?


Franck

If it were a matter of a professor being called into court and being ordered to testify, he couldn't refuse. A profession can set up its standard of professional ethics, and it doesn't have any standing at law. But, of course, these agents have got no power to compel you to testify. The important point about it is that if you can say, "I'm obeying a canon of ethics of my profession," then there's a very little, if any, implication that you are hiding something and it doesn't hurt the person who's being investigated. If, apart from that, any agent goes to a professor and wants to know about a particular student, and you say, "I won't talk to you," it probably hurts the student in getting a security clearance because the agent is bound to think that something is being hidden for some reason.

A related problem was the question of the University Security Officer. There was a lot of controversy about that. A man by the name of Wadman, had a function that nobody was really quite sure of. He's still around. I think he has an office in Sproul Hall. Apparently, it was his job to keep track of subversion on the campus. He has these big files. There was a lot of attack on him raised. It was claimed that this was just to protect contracts with the AEC and security stuff on the hill [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory]. But there was a very wide-spread belief that he was keeping tabs on political activity generally.


FSM

Well, this is very interesting and I think germane. When was his office instituted? When did he come on the scene, and at whose request?


Franck

I don't know the answer to that. I think early 1950's at the latest, and so far as I know, he's still around [in 1964].


FSM

Who put him in, do you know this?


Franck

No. But the rationale is that there are people, contacts on this campus, handling classified information, and they need somebody to run security checks or something. But there was a point at which he was asking people to file reports on other professors' political activities.


FSM

What was the Watkins decision?


Franck

Watkins refused to testify for HUAC. He testified about his own activities, wouldn't testify about other peoples' activities, claiming the 1st Amendment, not the 5th. The court held that he couldn't be compelled to testify. It was a violation of his first amendment rights to testify, unless the Committee could show very clearly that the questions asked were germane to the purpose of the hearing, and the witness knew what the purpose was.


FSM

When was this and who was Watkins?


Franck

The decision was in 1957, June. Watkins had been a labor organizer.


FSM

Who was the president of Student Civil Liberties Union with whom you went to speak to Kerr before he was president?


Franck

Raphael Hansen.


FSM

What was your position with the Student Civil Liberties Union during the years that you were connected with it?


Franck

For a year and a half I was vice-chairman, and then I was chairman. I was chairman for the academic year (I guess) of 1956 to 1957. I don't know the exact dates. I was vice-chairman from about January 1954 to whenever I was chairman. Now, I'm the chairman of the Berkeley chapter of the ACLU. Basically, what happened was that this political stuff picked up from about 1957 on. There was the first political party formed on campus in 1957. The main guy behind that was F. Tygesen. First, Hank Di Suvero, when his term was up on the ASUC Executive Committee, he got Mike Miller elected. Then this Tygesen started this political party called TASC, which stood for "Towards an Active Student Community." The thrust, you see, was against apathy. It did a few things then collapsed for several reasons. One of the most important of which was that Tygesen was an SPer [Socialist Party] and he insisted that we have, like the British Labor Party, some loyalty pledge. People elected by the party to the ExCom would sign an undated resignation so that you could yank him if he didn't give in to discipline. The fraternity kids got ahold of this and smashed it.


FSM

It didn't collapse because of administration pressure, or was there any?


Franck

There probably was. Let me give you a general picture, so that we can go into this in more detail. There was a lot of reaction against TASC on a lot of grounds. What they started to do, then and later, was to bring up in the ASUC political issues—bomb-testing, free speech, the Arthurine Lucy case at the University of Alabama, apartheid in South Africa, and the ROTC. Those were the main issues. Then the fight about "on-campus" and "off-campus" started. Then there was Slate. Basically, the first response to the attempt to raise political issues in the campus context, was from the fraternity kids, who at the time controlled the Student Government. There was good reason to believe that they acted in good part with the advice and at the behest and string-pulling of people in the Administration. But the first repression against politics on campus, the attempt to make it illegitimate, and keep it illegitimate, came from other students, with the Administration acting behind the scenes.


FSM

When was TASC, 1957?


Franck

TASC was in the Spring of 1957.


FSM

How long did it last?


Franck

That spring. Well, on paper it lasted into the fall semester, and then it tried one election and didn't get any place. The thing that led to TASC—this is one of the ironies—was the graduate student representative to the ASUC Executive Committee raised the issue of discrimination in the fraternities and proposed a resolution that the University ban fraternities which have discriminatory clauses in their charters. Get rid of them by about now. Which has just happened. This was considered absolutely revolutionary. There was huge controversy about this, one of the first really big controversies. Of course, we took a stance with that. TASC was formed to pick it up as an issue. We always said we weren't attacking the fraternities. We were just concerned with discrimination. Actually, it was a sub rosa way of attacking the fraternities. In the fall semester of 1958, TASC decided not to run any candidates. It never really took as an organization.


FSM

Now when TASC held meetings and when TASC sponsored speakers, were they allowed to have their meetings on campus?


Franck

I guess they were able to present speakers on campus. I'm not sure. But, I'm sure they did not have organization meetings on campus.


FSM

But they ran candidates for the ASUC slate?


Franck

Yes. They ran candidates for ASUC office. I think that their major effort was a write-in effort and it flopped, partly for that reason.

I can give you the details on how Slate started and what the response to it was. Basically, what happened was, it was started through a bit of maneuvering. Slate got status as a recognized organization on campus, with all on-campus privileges, because it wasn't partisan political, or sectarian. We slipped through a loop-hole in the language they used in Rule 17. First the repression and the attack on Slate came from the Daily Cal and students, and subsequently from the Administration directly.


FSM

Red baiting?


Franck

Yes. There must have been a fair amount of Red baiting. See, Mike Miller got a bright idea one night, studying for an exam. He decided that we should run a slate of candidates in the up-coming elections. We had been talking of it before but we had never been able to or succeeded in mustering a full slate. Mike managed to call a meeting the next morning, and the name took [Slate]. We ran a full slate, which meant eight candidates, one of whom was Butch Hallinan, which, naturally, if it did nothing else, provoked some Red baiting. Yeah, there was a lot of Red baiting.


FSM

This was the brunt of the attack on Slate?


Franck

Actually not. I may be wrong. My perception may be distorted, because I was sort of used to it by then. I didn't pay too much attention. What happened was that the election rules were not designed for a group of people running together and for what was considered to be a violation of the rules. The slate got thrown off the ballot. There was a huge outcry. It was not a dissimilar situation to what we've just had. Masses of people, who weren't with us at all on the issue that we were raising, or even on our notion of making student government a political forum, came to our aid on the "fair play" kind of notion. This was in 1958. The crucial thing about this whole business is this. The level of political action on this campus and the number of people politically committed would be not a quarter of what it is if the Administration would simply have ignored us from the start. If it hadn't been for the series of repressive measures, we would not have drawn in this wider circle of the people. There must be thousands of people over these years who first got involved because of the sense of outrage at the unfairness, who then got involved with more political people. That's the first step. Then they take subsequent steps. I'm absolutely convinced that Slate wouldn't exist as an organization now if the Administration had left it alone and there had been no repression at the beginning.

A series of resolutions were introduced [in the ASUC ExCom] on various topics of the kind that I mentioned [political issues]. At first we got some of these through. Others we didn't get through. We got one through on bomb testing. To jump ahead, this was the genesis of the so-called Kerr directives. Kerr banned the ASUC from taking stands on off-campus issues. With TASC a major part of the whole debate it raised was whether or not a campus political party was a valid idea. The issues were discrimination in use of facilities, invitation of speakers to the campus, rights of students to travel to China, etc.

One of the reasons that Slate fell, was that it had done its job. That is, they'd gotten things going politically. Other groups with specialized interests and capacities took it over from there. In its early days, it was an umbrella for all the political factions. The YPSL's [Young People's Socialist League] were in it, and what would now be the Du Bois types were in it, and liberals and independent radicals. One by one they subsequently spun off and formed their own groups. Slate became something of an arena for them, rather than the focus of their primary activity.

Halfway into the election campaign, Slate got disqualified. They were just a slate of candidates. They got disqualified for referring to each other in their leaflets. This was a violation of the election rules, campaigning as a group. The rules really were not made to cover this kind of thing. They used the rule to disqualify Slate, but the rule really didn't fit the situation one way or the other. This happened twice. It happened the next time too. Both times there was a massive uprising of support. The first time, they put us back on the ballot by changing the rules. They used technicalities. They cancelled the election and scheduled a new one for the same day. With the disqualification and the apparent attempt to prevent us from going before the voters, we got an enormous amount of sympathy. The actors in that scene were ASUC people. We had, in that early stage, relatively little evidence of Administration participation. This was the fall semester. Then over Christmas and in the spring, we got organized and had a founding convention. The first time we ran, we got one of our own people put in as the chairman of the Elections Council. We got disqualified again by him. That was a sort of complicated affair. He did it out of sincerity. We were widely suspected of putting him up to it in order to get underdog sympathy. That time they couldn't use a device quite so transparent as recalling the election the same day. That second election we got several seats, I think three or four. By then there were two graduate reps. We were always sure of getting those, and also of getting the graduate vote. Not many graduates would vote, but those who did would vote for us, a guaranteed probably four or five hundred votes.


FSM

Once Slate got started, did the graduate student vote pick up?


Franck

Oh, yes. I'm sure they hardly ever voted at all before, nothing to vote for. In the summer of 1959, Vice-chancellor Sherriffs got the Sociology department to do a survey, to design a survey of graduate students, and their attitudes about their participation in the ASUC. He made an absolute commitment that this would not be considered in any way a vote. This was an opinion poll. Then during the summer, he suddenly announced that the graduate students were out of the ASUC. Because that's what they had voted for.


FSM

When were they given the chance to vote? How was the opinion poll rigged?


Franck

It wasn't rigged. I think they received a little card in the registration line—this was before registration by mail—whereby they were asked their opinions.


FSM

But they didn't think that they were voting?


Franck

That's right. Then, this was used as a vote and the graduate students were pulled out. There's just no question in the world that this was done to undermine Slate's strength in the ASUC. The graduate reps were the two guaranteed people we had, plus the other votes.


FSM

Of course, there had been a lot of graduate student griping about compulsory membership in the ASUC.


Franck

Yes. Now this is another story that should be followed up. The whole business about how they got the ASUC to be a compulsory organization. The ASUC was a voluntary organization until 1956 or 1957. Most Slate-type people, most liberal, radical people were against this being a compulsory organization. But, if they hadn't made it a compulsory organization, which they had to do to get the money from the federal government—to put up a student union. Again, there was a questionnaire in the registration line. There were about four alternatives on this question of voluntary vs. compulsory. The two different ways of making it compulsory got about 30% of the vote each. They added those up to 60%.


FSM

Can this be documented?


Franck

The Slate files were all stolen once. Slate had an office in the basement in the back of 2404 Dana. There was a whole set of files there. The place was broken into and they were stolen. We were sure it was Tocsin, or somebody like that. The cops never evinced any great amount of interest. Some of the information on which the Burns committee reports later seemed to be based, probably came from there. That was a set of files which had been kept by one guy, Marv Sternberg and it was really the best set of files. Different people have different files. Lensky has got some files, and so on.

So, Slate went through the same bit with getting disqualified. Then came back on the ballot again. One of our big campaign planks in that campaign was to get the three old men off the ASUC ExCom. There were three voting non-student members—the Chancellor's representatives. They were the Dean of Students; an alumni representative, appointed by the alumni association; and a faculty representative, appointed by the chancellor. So I think there was only about 18 people on the ExCom altogether. The Administration had three votes directly. Often those three were the swaying vote between our getting stuff through or not—until we attacked that. I don't know what they have now, but I think that it was a successful attack. You see, at that time, the ASUC administered the football program. It owned, theoretically, the stadium. The whole football business was run by the students. So they were running a multi-million dollar business. The theory was that the ASUC was the policy-making body for that. Kerr got into a big fight with Allen [Chancellor of UCLA] over professionalism in football. He was trying to maintain amateur standards, so-called, but he didn't really. It was about this time that they decided to take athletics out from under the ASUC—after Slate had been going for about a year and a half or two years. We sort of supported this, because it gave the Administration slightly less stake in exercising control. It was a phony thing anyway.

Then there was the whole hassle about NSA, National Students' Association. The conservatives tried to pull the ASUC out of the NSA membership because the NSA usually has fairly liberal resolutions. But again, the Administration's role in that was, I think, behind the scenes. They didn't say much about it.

Okay, we'll start with the Kerr Directives. You ought to get the details from Lensky. He was chairman of Slate at the time. The Kerr Directives came down. They said that the ASUC couldn't do anything much—couldn't pass resolutions on controversial topics, couldn't have speakers, and recognized campus groups couldn't deal with off-campus issues. Basically, it wrapped an iron curtain around the campus. They said that on the campus, nothing that was off-campus could be dealt with or discussed.


FSM

Was that going back to the state law? (9, 9)


Franck

Oh, yes. They invoked that. They said that was the reason that they had to do it. Then there was a hue and cry, and Kerr issued a clarification about three weeks later about what he meant, which was a substantial retraction.


FSM

What were the specific incidents that brought about the Kerr Directives? What were they a reaction to?


Franck

They were a reaction to the whole development of politics on campus and to a perception of Slate's political strength which was unrealistic. The first Kerr Directive was in the spring of 1959. The directives asserted a power and a control over the ASUC that had never been asserted before. There had been something in the ASUC constitution, that you couldn't change it without the President's permission, and they exerted that. Slate put some kind of constitutional amendment on the ballot to knock out that section of the preamble, and Chancellor Seaburg ruled that it couldn't be put on the ballot. That was part of the Directive, that you couldn't put any constitutional amendment on the ballot. What that came up over was the Three Old Men. We circulated a petition, and got enough signatures, to amend the constitution to delete those seats, and the chancellor said that it couldn't be on the ballot.


FSM

Where did he get his authority for this?


Franck

The preamble to the constitution of the ASUC says that the ASUC is established by the grace of the president of the university, or something like that, and that was really what they got it from.

Now—on the Speaker Ban—there had been buried in the University rules someplace, all along, a provision that even if all the other requirements of Rule 17 had been met, Communists couldn't speak. We made a quiet, but self-conscious decision not to raise that issue in seeking a change to Rule 17. That was sort of lost sight of. We didn't raise it. Nobody else raised it. A number of Communists did speak on the campus. I know that Archie Brown spoke during the HUAC affair. He debated Fulton Lewis III, I think, in one of the dorms. I think there was a debate before the Mandel-Schwartz debate in Wheeler. It was one of those deals where the Administration suddenly got heat from the press or someplace, and discovered an old rule, unearthed it. And, we had the Speaker Ban fight.

SCLU went through long negotiations and talks with the Administration, and didn't get very far on the Speaker Ban or the 72 hour notice requirement which they were using to generally harass. The Speaker Ban there was a lot of agitation over. Petitions, etc. The Southern California ACLU, director, Eastman Monroe, who knows the educational system very well because he was a non-signer of the loyalty oath at San Francisco State, figured that filing suit, a) might win, b) would focus attention locally and nationally on the Speaker Ban, and so embarrass the university that they'd drop it. I think that was the extra bit and the catalyst which kept the thing going, kept the pressure up and caused them to drop the Speaker Ban. There was a move in the ASUC to file an amicus brief in that case. I wrote up a brief for them to file. There was a great deal of pressure from the Administration not to file it saying that the ASUC was a part of the university and one part of the university can't file a brief against another part. Sherriffs had various people in. The heat was really turned on. Ken Cloke was on the Senate—he made the motion—he can give you that story.


FSM

Did they file the brief?


Franck

No. They voted it down. Let me back up to something: on the question of the Administration, the crucial person in this is Sherriffs. He is a hatchet man. Kerr appointed weak chancellors. I'm absolutely convinced that Sherriffs is a case of pre-psychotic paranoia. And THEY, is Slate, or was, and now it's the politicos in general. This is a part of the reason why Kerr has handled this present situation so very badly. Because he's acting on very badly distorted information he got from Sherriffs. Anyway, Sherriffs really constantly misjudged the situation. Everything that happened was a diabolical plot on our part. When they were about to throw the graduate students out, I tried to talk to him, to explain that they were screwing themselves by doing this, because they were giving the students another issue to holler about. He just absolutely couldn't see this. It's amazed me that he's lasted this long. I'm told that they sort of shunted Sherriffs to the side at this latest go-round.

Another thing that should be gone into is the whole ROTC fight, and in particular, the Creighton case. They picketed the ROTC at some ROTC drill or Chancellor's review, or something. This whole thing was about ROTC being compulsory for lower division. One of the kids, Creighton, picketed in uniform, which I guess they'd been told not to do. Once when I was in ROTC, I was passing out leaflets for SCLU when I was in uniform, and some upper division character came and told me I shouldn't be doing it, but nothing came of it. But Creighton was given an F in ROTC. That screwed up his record and did all kinds of things. There was a whole schmeer that went on within the faculty and within the university about the use of military influence and the use of an F grade to maintain discipline. He [Creighton] passed the course. He was given an F for picketing in uniform. Ten Broek [Jacobus Ten Broek] was the key guy in that. He is now a professor in political science. He was then the chairman of the Speech Department. He's the one faculty man, in my opinion, who's really solid. The Creighton case is, I think, a case of the Administration buckling to pressure from the military.


FSM

When you say "they" picketed, who is "they"? Slate?


Franck

Yes. What really happened is that Slate picketed the ROTC drill. I think it worked like this. Somebody else was in uniform, and was told by some ROTC officer to stop picketing in uniform and he did. Creighton got mad, went home, put on his uniform, came back, and picketed. Compulsory ROTC was always one of our big issues, and of course it was "won". I'm inclined to think it was "won" because the Defense Department decided it wasn't needed, more than anything else.


FSM

Back to the Speaker Ban, why do you think it was lifted?


Franck

It was lifted for the sake of the University's reputation within the highest strata of the academic world. Kerr has always had the aspiration to make this the Harvard of the West. He's even used that phrase. For all the senior members of the faculty, their public and peer group is not at Berkeley. It's national. It's their colleagues at Harvard and Columbia and Chicago. Among top men, this University has never recovered from the Loyalty Oath fight. The Speaker Ban is one more thing which made the University look petty, small and parochial, rather than a major academic institution of standing and strength. Once attention was focused on the ban, it really hurt the University, in terms of recruiting, getting good faculty, mainly.


FSM

What about the Loyalty Oath?


Franck

The legislature was threatening to pass a loyalty oath and to save the autonomy of the university, Sproul tried to beat them to it. Just like in the present instance, I'm sure they didn't expect the furor that it caused. It caused fantastic furor. It lasted for years and split the faculty right down the middle. Many of the best people left. As I said yesterday, I have reason to believe that he sold out the non-signers and was paid off with his job as chancellor.


FSM

What about tenure issues?


Franck

Tenure: so far as I know, the Administration in recent years has not been guilty of breaking the tenure rule—getting rid of somebody who has tenure. But what they have been guilty of is getting rid of guys. Preventing guys from getting tenure if they're particularly active or close to the students or politically outspoken or even, I think, good teachers. I think Joe Tussman is an example of that. He now chairman of the Philosophy Department. He was a terrific teacher and he didn't get tenure. What they say is that he hadn't published. There's always a hassle about having published enough or not. Pretty systematically, the people who have been close to the students have not stuck around. Drimon is the best example. Drimon played an enormously constructive role because he was very close to a lot of the key students. He differed politically with many of them. He was in the Socialist Party and he was a pacifist. He taught the whole Slate generation a great deal about political tolerance. The fact that he was there and he was sympathetic and he was willing to help was very important. In fact, one of the things that has always bugged me, has always bugged students in general, is that you will find, almost without exception, every time the faculty at this campus has ever done anything good politically, it has been at the initiative of the students. This has always created a real role tension, because they're supposed to be the teachers and the students are supposed to be the learners. This is very evident in this latest go-round. The students were really looking for support and even leadership from the faculty. The faculty guys were just absolutely unprepared to give it.


FSM

Where's Drimon now?


Franck

Drimon went off to Leeds for two years and then he came back here for one year. I think he had a research grant. Now he's at Hobart College in New York. I'll tell you, it does something to people. It did something to Drimon. I didn't know him very well before, but I know this from my own observation, and from people who are quite close to him, there was a change when he came back—really quite cynical, quite withdrawn, didn't participate in anything. And the same thing is true of Tussman [Joseph Tussman]. His position on this whole free speech issue now is bad. Kerr has promised him an experimental college. Now Tussman teaches people to play the game.

One thing we haven't talked about is the expulsion of Slate. What happened was that we applied for recognition as an on-campus organization because we saw the loophole in the rule that I talked about yesterday. In the application blank where it says "nature of the organization" we put down "campus political party." They turned us down, saying "we haven't yet decided whether we're going to allow campus political parties." So we filed another application—this was in 1958—"a group of students interested in ASUC politics and other matters of social concern" or something like that. That was really the last that was heard of that. Then when things got hot in 1960 to 1961, Slate referred to itself as a campus political party, and got called down for it. Meyerson, who was Slate chairman at the time, agreed not to do it anymore. Then somebody else in Slate sent a telegram to the Oberlin newspaper and signed it in Meyerson's name: "Mike Meyerson, Chairman of Slate, Campus Political Party." It was for violating that that they threw Slate off campus. That was the reason given. The throwing of Slate off campus was simply demoting it from the full on-campus status to the off-campus status, so it could still present speakers. But, up until then all business meetings had been held on the campus.

One thing I picked up on about the HUAC affair—I don't know if anyone else will mention this—is that I have good reason to believe that the university acted to get some lawyers, who are active in liberal type stuff, involved in defense of the kids arrested in order to prevent the left-wing lawyers, so-called, from dominating the scene.


FSM

The question I would like to ask—and I would like to see it asked of many people for the purposes of compiling this report—can you make any kind of statement as to what motivates student-hating behavior on the part of the University Administration? Why does the Administration of a college attract people of a character who are anti-intellectual, anti-student, and anti-inquiry?


Franck

There are some sociological-type answers that you can give to that. One is that people who aren't going anyplace professionally, academically, get drawn into the Administration. I think that's one factor. Kerr had a policy, which was good in some ways and not good in other ways, of taking men out of the faculty, having them come into his office as assistants for a two year stint, and then go back to the faculty. This made some sense in terms of cutting down the division between the faculty and the Administration, but was also a co-optive device in the way of getting his men in and getting them out again. I think there's an element of guilt, the using the students for an excuse for doing all the other things that they want to do. I mean, you can't have a university, at least not yet, without having students. But students are really a necessary evil. In fact, I've been told this by some faculty people—Harold Taylor I think said this—there's a great feeling of guilt about their neglect of under-graduate students in education. There's also, I think it's very evident, a lot of fear.

Apropos of this, the dorms, the physical set-up and the way they were organized socially when they were first opened was very carefully and very intentionally designed to increase control over students. The policy of the Administration was essentially anti-fraternity and pro-dorm because the dorms were subject to much more direct control. Control to prevent outbursts of dissatisfaction, to prevent them from rocking the boat.


FSM

Yes, but the question is, ultimately, what is "the Boat"? There is this identification set up between the University and the Administration. This is a false identity. This is not a one-to-one identity. A university is the faculty and the students. The Administration is the necessary evil that keeps it running financially, or whatever. How does this identity get subverted?


Franck

Well, I don't know if it answers any of your questions, but Katherine Towle came here from being a captain or something in the Marines. She's the Dean of Students. We learned some things about their techniques when Dave Armor got elected president of the ASUC. Immediately, there were invitations which he accepted—for cocktails at Sherriffs' house. Sherriffs would come on very sincere. They'd have several drinks and talk. A very strong co-optive thing that goes on. It goes on with every Daily Cal editor, too.

Then there's several secret bodies. There's a secret society called The Order of the Golden Bear. I'm a life member of it. Take a look at Senior Men's Hall. Look inside of it and look at the length of the room. Then go outside and look at the length of the building. There's a blackboard on the left-hand side which covers a door, which swings open. This Order of the Golden Bear has all the student leaders in it, fraternity leaders, the ASUC leaders. They have always had the president of Stiles Hall in it and whatnot. Then, as soon as things started to get stirred up, they'd take in a few of the political types. It was a co-optive mechanism. Sherriffs went frequently. Kerr used to attend from time to time. Sproul even turned up once in a while.


FSM

How did you get to be a member?


Franck

It's like a fraternity: three no votes and you're blackballed. It was before Slate, and the key man in it at the time was Bill Davis who runs Stiles Hall. He and the president of Stiles Hall at the time got me in. Armor got in. Lensky got in. You see, once you get in you're a member for life, and alumni come back. This sort of thing. I was sworn in at the same time that Justice Peters of the Supreme Court was sworn in. They always have to put some Alumni guys on. We've always played with the idea, all of us—there's enough of us around, Mike Miller is a member—to come back and really mess up the works. You're sworn to secrecy, and the whole bit. We'd talk about the problems of the university. A very strong co-optive mechanism.

There was the Chancellor's Committee on Student Affairs. There was something called "The Cal Club" which was a state-wide thing from all the campuses, which Sproul was very big on. They have a lot of techniques for bringing co-optive type pressure on student leaders. There is a whole succession of people—who got elected as ASUC presidents particularly—who sounded good when they got elected. Who were fairly liberal, partly because Slate had shifted things over to the left. Who once they got in, saw the other side to everything and nothing happened. As a matter of fact, the primary function of the ASUC student government is as the vehicle of the University to control the students. Otherwise, there'd be no access. It gives them direct access to the student leaders, and sort of creates an apex of leadership for them to deal with. Otherwise, they would have a great deal of difficulty in controlling student behavior. In fact, the last really big panty-raid happened on a warm spring night when the Order of the Golden Bear was meeting. I've always had a hunch that if it hadn't been meeting, if a lot of the guys with status in the fraternities, hadn't been pulled away from the scene in this meeting, they might not have had the raid. This was a case of the co-optive device failing.


FSM

Do you think the Administration really objects to things like panty-raids?


Franck

Yes. It's bad publicity. For them it's not a very much different category from the FSM. It's really one big PR machine. Once we started to learn our way around, we realized that this was our weapon, our one weapon. Always focus on adverse publicity, because they're super-sensitive about the legislature, about their funds. If you can make them look bad, you have leverage.

I just remembered one other thing that was a long-standing fight on the campus. Where the Administration had been bad, was the question of discrimination in housing. The first guy active in Stiles Hall in his mild, meek way was working on Ruth Donnelly, who was head of the Housing Office then and still is. First, to adopt and then to enforce in a meaningful way a policy of not taking listings in places where there is discrimination going on. They didn't then, and they don't now, do anything very serious to enforce non-discrimination because it'll upset the landlords. The Student and Alumni Placement Center is involved in discrimination. If somebody doesn't want a negro stewardess, or whatever they place, they go along with that. The whole racial thing on the campus is very bad. That's what the whole Drimon case really eflects.


FSM

Do you think there's any policy as far as admission to the university is concerned? You see so few negroes on campus. Thousands of Orientals, but no Negroes.


Franck

I don't think there's any policy as such. I think there's a policy of de facto segregation. And, there's a failure to rectify it. Negroes feel very uncomfortable here. In part, because there's so few of them, partly the attitude of the fraternity system. That's very bad. It still sets the tenor for the campus, although much less than it used to. Partly, the housing thing is a drag. Then, there are problems which the university refuses to do anything about: with the counselors in the high schools discouraging Negroes from trying to come here; a self-conscious policy on the part of the police of harassing Negroes. I found out about that, particularly lately, as more started to hang around the university who weren't necessarily students. In the last couple of years the Negro students started staying on campus much more. They were more visible. This affected the attitude of the cops, too. The business of the Griffin case reflects it, too. I think it may have come from higher than the police. In other words, there's not a policy excluding them in admissions, but there's a policy of sort of harassing undesirable types from hanging around the campus.


About this text
Title: Interview with Peter Franck: Oct. 17, 1964
Copyright Note: Copyright status unknown. Some materials in these collections may be - protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the - reproduction, and/or commercial use, of some materials may be restricted - by gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and - publicity rights, licensing agreements, and/or trademark rights. - Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond - that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the - copyright owners. To the extent that restrictions other than copyright - apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable - rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining - permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user.