Michigan State News
February 6, 1969
"More on Garskof: Motivation non-academic"

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is "An Open Letter to MSU University Community," signed by 29 faculty and staff members.

We, the undersigned faculty and staff of Michigan State University, consider the firing of Professor Bertram Garskof to be motivated by non-academic considerations. The basis of our reasoning is as follows:

It is charged that Dr. Garskof’s handling of courses 151 and 490 did not benefit the course descriptions and their intended purposes. Such irregularities are usually cleared through curriculum committees. It has been reported that in this case, the matter was being considered by the Curriculum Committee of the Psychology Dept., and that Dr. Garskof had agreed to comply with the committee’s recommendations.

It is also charged that Dr. Garskof offered a "blanket A" to his 490 class. However, it has been brought to our attention that more than a dozen other professors, even in the Psychology Dept., give "blanket A’s" without any reprimand from the authorities.

The procedures and action recommended and taken by the Dept. of Psychology were not followed by the Administration. According to President John Hannah (State News, Monday, Feb. 3), the department chairman offered Dr. Garskof an appointment for two years on Nov. 25 "Last week Dr. Garskof had not officially responded. Because of this and because of the recent information collected from a variety of sources and information provided to the dean by the department chairman, Dean Winder on Jan. 23 decided to withdraw the offer of Nov. 25 . . ." (emphasis is not original) This conceals the fact that UNOFFICIALLY and INFORMALLY Dr. Garskof had communicated to his chairman that he was interested in the offer, and unless he found a more suitable position he would accept the offer. We are aware that the final decisions concerning appointments are usually made during March-April, the time during which professional conferences take place to look for prospective employees. Further, it might be asked how and why the dean sought to "collect" information on Garskof!

We are aware of many activities and projects in which this University and its faculty are actively involved that are not covered by the "normal" academic disciplines. And yet, such practices are justified. "A" grades and degrees are granted, professors honored and rewarded for such "study projects" as "Pacification in Vietnam" and "Working in a Foreign Embassy in Washington D.C." etc. That is acceptable because the majority of society does not disapprove of such things. However, we may remind ourselves that our society is intolerant of radicalism. This has been our heritage!

We do not doubt that Professor Garskof is a radical and non-conformist. We do not have to agree with the ideals and views of Garskof. But we strongly feel that the University ought not to function with "double standards" in hiring its faculty. We believe that there is a need for such an innovative, creative teacher. We earnestly urge that authorities to reconsider their decision.


Charles P. Larrowe, professor, economics; Walter Martin, assistant professor, humanities; Enrico Forni, visiting lecturer, philosophy; Robert O. Blunt, film writer, instructional media center; George Barnett, professor, secondary education and curriculum; Douglas T. Miller, asst. professor, history; Dhirendra Sharma, associate professor, philosophy and JMC; Edward J. Vandervelde, instructor, geography and JMC; Joseleyne S. Tien, instructor, ATL; Joyce Ruddel, instructor, ATL; Marvin Grandstaff, asst. professor, education-Clark Akatiff, asst. professor, geography; Meyer Wolf, asst. professor, computer institute for social science research and linguistics and Oriental and African languages; Charles Craypo, asst. professor, labour and industrial relations; David O. Roberts, asst. professor, English; James R. Anderson, instructor, humanities, and asst. director honors college; Albert C. Gafagna, instructor, philosophy and JMC; Gunter Pfaff, staff member.

The following staff members are from the Dept. of Mathematics: G.D. Taylor, associate professor; H.S. Davis, asst. professor; John G. Hocking, professor; A.S. Carasso, asst. professor; P.K. Wong, associate professor; L.M. Sonneborn, professor- John Wagner, professor; J.E. Adney, professor; Patrick Doyle, professor; John J. Masterson, associate professor; Carl C. Ganser, asst. professor.

John Hurley, professor, department of Psychology, he signed with reservation that he considers the firing of Garskof "partially" motivated by non-academic considerations.