Michigan State News

February 3, 1969


Chris Mead

"Hannah backs Psych Dept.; group plans rally for Garskof"


In an open letter to the University Community Sunday, President Hannah affirmed that the proper procedures have been followed in the dismissal of Bertram Garskof and that the University will call upon the civil authorities if protest action threatens the orderly functioning of the University.

"The University alone must take the decision as to when the ongoing work of the University is being interfered with," Hannah’s statement said.

"If that decision is ever made, the University will call upon the civil authorities, local and state, to take whatever action is required to permit the University to function in an orderly fashion."

The Student Steering Committee to Defend Garskof will rally at 2 p.m. today on the plaza of the new Administration Bldg. to protest the Garskof dismissal.

The group vowed to take action against the University if Garskof is not reinstated with full privileges by the College of Social Science at this time.

Hannah noted that the resolution on disruption of University activities prohibits "any effort to impede the holding of classes, the carrying forward of University business, the arrangements for properly organized and scheduled events on the campus or the discharge of his responsibility by any University officer or employe."

Section 16.00 of the University Ordinances specifically forbids unauthorized assemblies "for the purpose of creating any noise or disturbance, riot, raid, or other improper diversion . . ."

Hannah explained that the tenure rules adopted by the Academic Senate regarding faculty reappointment had been properly followed by the Dept. of Psychology when it decided to grant Garskof a probationary contract of two years off the tenure track

Because Garskof had not officially responded to the two-year offer and from information provided to Lawrence O’Kelly, chairman of the Dept. of Psychology, Social Science Dean Clearance L. Winder decided to withdraw the offer of Nov. 25.

The only method to deal with the Garskof situation, Hannah said, is through "proper procedures, a great deal of discussion and the weighing of opinions."

He said the Academic Freedom report provides all such procedures.

Clark Akatiff, asst. professor of geography and head of the Faculty-Staff Committee in Defense of Garskof, said his group hopes to have a broad base of faculty support at today’s rally.

The faculty group’s purpose is to lead faculty protest only, Akatiff said, and it is "not an attempt to graft our higher status into their (the student’s) movement."

He said the committee’s primary purpose was to show students that a core of faculty members, "an even division of radicals and non-radicals," is concerned about the Garskof case.

John J. Masterson, associate professor of mathematics and a member of the executive council of the American Assn. of Univercal" faculty member who will join today’s rallyers.

He said he is particularly interested in trends and not just the Garskof case itself.

"The University seems to let go, through one form or another, some of the most vocal, creative members of the faculty," Masterson said.

There is a trend to remove faculty members by "quais-legal" methods who violate accepted traditions in teaching, he said.

"We seem to be losing that element of the faculty that has touched that portion of the students who are most seriously interested in attempting to solve some of the problems that are the most critical," he said.

He said the action taken by Winder was "highly irregular" and part of an "almost subconscious" trend in American universities to remove faculty members who fit in the normal way.

"The AAUP sends representatives to department heads, deans and eventually the provost," he said, "and in almost every case, nothing is accomplished."