Senate proposes bill to weed out Communists at University

March 30,

A bill that would require all employees of the University to sign a loyalty oath was introduced Friday in the Minnesota Senate.
Sen. A.O. Sundet (Faribault), the bill’s author, specifies in the bill that University employees take an oath of allegiance to the United States. Employees would be required to sign an oath stating that they do not belong to or support any organization that believes in or teaches the overthrow of the government.
The bill, which has been referred to the Finance Committee, also would forbid the use of money appropriated to the University by the Legislature to pay any employee who is a member of the Communists party, a Communist front, or a Communist action organization.
“So far the reaction to the bill has been very favorable,” Sundet said. “Our purpose is to try to stabilize those people who are in the business of educating young people.”
Sundet said his bill refers only to the University because “it is the only place where this problem has been pinpointed.”
Last week, Gov. Karl Rolvaag opposed the bill and said it “has no chance of passing.” He explained, “It will be a sad day for Minnesota if honest persons are forced to ‘prove their loyalty’ or suffer the disgrace that many innocent persons underwent because of false accusations made during the infamous McCarthy era.”
University President O. Meredith Wilson said, “The effect of such a bill if it were to pass would cripple the University as it would cripple any other educational institution subject to it.”
Wilson added that if the bill were taken seriously it “would cloud the reputation of the state of Minnesota.”
Sundet emphasized that his bill does not refer specifically to Political Science Professor Mulford Sibley. “The bill refers to all groups and individuals which threaten our country. Although we don’t care for his views, we couldn’t care less about Sibley personally,” Sundet said.
The bill was introduced by Sundet at the urging of Richard Landkamer, a College of Liberal Arts senior. A hearing has not been requested.