time resigned on his own. A related case, in which not having a doctorate was at least one reason for a liberal faculty member’s being let go, is that of Chandler, a number of persons in the SWT community believe. Chandler’s political activities have been mentioned above. His wife was a reporter for the Citizen, an outspoken liberal weekly that has been highly critical of McCrocklin and his administration at SWT. Chandler had been on a leave of absence during the 1964-’65 school year, the “same year in which Jefferson was let go. Chandler believes he likely would have been turned out at SWT at the same time as Jefferson had he not been on leave. Chandler named several faculty members at SWT who came to San Marcos at the same time or the year after he did who were given contracts after three years there despite not having their doctorates. And several persons have named a man high in the SWT administration, a man described as “McCrocklin’s right hand man,” who does not have his doctorate and has been at SWT longer than three years. MCCROCKLIN WAS inaugurated as the president of the local college in 1964. He was accompanied by a reputation, so far as people in San Marcos believed, for being a rather strong devotee of academic freedom. In March of that year he told an Austin reporter that “A faculty has the greatest reservoir of brains in a community. This brain power should be utilized not just politically, but in all civic endeavors. Too many of us tend to pull into our shells. Something may be controversial, sure, but if we give of ourselves, do what we think is right, it is right.” As is almost invariably the case on a Texas college campus, and perhaps in most colleges throughout the nation, there are those who complain about the lack of local academic freedom. McCrocklin’s four-year tenure has been marked by a number of cases in which faculty members departed under conditions that raised questions in the minds of some members of the faculty and student body about the status of academic freedom at SWT. The two cases that have drawn the most statewide attention involve two liberal professors, Bill Malone and Bill Gorden, who had their doctorates, so were not susceptible on that score. The two men believe it was nonetheless made clear to them that their futures at SWT were not promising despite their holding PhD’s and tenure here. Malone, a history teacher, ran into difficulties at the college after participating in the Huntsville sit-ins during the summer of 1965 \(Obs., becoming, in the fall of 1965, the nominal head of the Texas Liberal party, which never got off the ground. He says he was told by his department chairman in late 1965, that his political 4 The Texas Observer activities would jeopardize his future at the college. Malone understood that the chairman had been advised by “administrative sources” close to McCrocklin that promotions and salary increases for Malone might be adversely affected. McCrocklin later denied that such an impression had originated with him, saying “Dr. Malone has not been officially warned as far as I know.” However, according to Malone, McCrocklin told him that he had “done us quite a lot of damage”; McCrocklin mentioned phone calls, letters and loss of money. This blew over when the Citizen jumped onto the story, intimating one week that McCrocklin was out to get Malone. The next week McCrocklin denied to a Citizen reporter that such was the case and the matter was dropped. Malone, who now teaches at Murray State in Kentucky, tells the Observer he decided a few months later to leave San Marcos because of discouragement over his own situation, what happened to Gorden and the faculty, administration and student response to the Gorden incident. The Gorden matter was fully reported in the April 28, 1967, Observer. An associate professor of speech, Gorden had arranged for some of his students to cut tapes of discussions for broadcast over the local radio station. One tape on the sexual revolution was refused by the station and wound up in McCrocklin’s office. Eventually Gorden’s impending promotion to full professor was delayed for one year by the administration. MCCROCKLIN appointed a committee to investigate, including two men who were chairmen of departments and a third who was in line for a chairmanship. The committee report, released after the Observer’s account of the Gorden case, held that one administrative official had “best stated . administratration’s case when he said that he considered the tape an ‘incitation to sex revolution’ rather than an objective, scholarly discussion . . . ‘ ” The committee decided that the tape “was of questionable value at best and shouldn’t have been released. . . . [and that] McCrocklin’s action was not an invasion of academic freedom, e i t her Gorden’s or the students’.” The committee recommendation read, “Had Dr. Gorden not resigned, this committee would have asked the policy council to limit the suspension of his promotion to one year; the purpose of the delay is not intended as punitive; rather it would have provided a study period so that the administration could determine whether or not the new machinery for the supervision of public speaking is workable and, moreover, it would have provided a waiting period for Dr. Gorden to determine whether or not and to what degree his philosophy could function within the framework of a state college.” The committee’s final recommendation was that a three-man standing committee on academic freedom, academic tenure and academic responsibility be established at SWT. The committee report noted that allegations had appeared in the local press that Gorden’s problems stemmed in part from the professor’s appearance at a school board meeting to speak in favor of passage of a bond issue to improve the public school system. Gorden’s position irked some of the leading citizens here who did not want the bond issue passed as it would raise their property taxes. When Gorden’s promotion was considered by the administration his appearance before the board “was not [emphasis added] mentioned,” the committee report said. “Dr. McCrocklin did not take an active part in the discussion; his role was, rather, that of moderator. The president’s only significant comment was made just before the vote [on promotion] was ‘taken. He declared that Dr. Gorden’s beliefs were not an issue and that the only question to be decided was whether or not Dr. Gorden was a competent teacher. The policy council approved the promotion by a lopsided although not a unanimous vote.” Gorden, who will join the Kent State letter to the SWT community his reasons for resignation, among them “because I felt that this kind of criticism was meant to make me feel unwelcome as had other criticism of other faculty. In my five years here I have seen a number of teachers leave who were both well-trained and dynamic persons. Circumstances for their leaving has often seemed dubious . . .” Gorden said he left SWT also “because I felt that the issue did not seem to concern groups which should be concerned. . . . [T]he speech department, the local chapter of the [American] Assn. of University Professors and the local chapter of the Texas Assn. of College Teachers chose not to take up the issue formally. It Gorden wrote the national office of the AAUP last summer telling them of some of the incidents mentioned above which he believes raise questions about academic freedom at the college, as well as about the questions about Dr. McCrocklin’s dissertation. Gorden tells the Observer that an official in the national AAUP office indicated the organization is not interested in the dissertation matter. Because Gorden resigned and was not fired, the association did not undertake an investigation either of his case or of academic freedom at SWT. A number of other cases raising questions about academic freedom of both faculty and students at the college have been told the Observer, varying in detail but essentially the same sorts of situations as recounted above. Last December, the faculty senate circulated a 75-point questionaire to SWT teachers, one question of which was, “Can you say what you think around here?” Thirty-seven of those responding said yes, 35 no, and 21 were undecided. G.O.
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