The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, May 18, 1956, Page Page 2, Image 2

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Post 2
Friday, May 18, 1955
Ncbraskan Editorials:
The Charge: 'hunk, Bui Unfair1
The Nebraskan has been criticized, for its news
appraisal and editorial expression.
In a letter to the editor Dr. William PfeHer,
chairman of the Germanic Languages Depart
ment, said that The Nebraskan has been "(rank
... but not fair In Its presentation of news and
editorial commentary on the controversy arising
from Che demotion of Clyde Mitchell as chair
man of the department of agricultural economics.
Editorially, Pfeiler says that "hearsay, rumor,
yague generalizations and subjective impres
sions are the basis for your charges."
Newswise, he contends, the paper is too often
. . oblivious to the truth that there are usual
ly two, if not more, sides to the question."
These arc important considerations for any
newspaper, particularly a student publication,
and they constitute essentially the criticism
which has been directed at The Nebraskan in
the past few weeks.
For these reasons, It is imperative that these
charges be answered as completely as space
First, a little background. A chance remark
in a Student Council meeting sometime ago first
alerted The Nebraskan to the demotion of Dr.
Mitchell. Checking on its authenticity, the Ne
braskan contacted all but one member of the
agricultural economics department who attended
the special meeting with Dean Lambert prior
to spring vacation.
No. one who attended this meeting denied that
they had been told: (1) Mitchell was to be re
lieved as chairman; (S) a replacement was being
sought, and (3) pressure from sources outside
the University prompted the decision.
In the meantime The Nebraskan talked with
Dean Lambert six times; Dean of Faculties
Adam Brechearidge three times (once In a 25
minute personal ceaversatiea) and Chancellor
Hardin twice. No ee affirmed the reports of
the twenty-odd professors.
The Nebraskan printed the story in a Friday
Issue, attributing its information to "sources in
the agriculture economics department" with
adjacent quotes from the administrative officials
to the effect that "no change was being con
sidered." Three days later the official announcement
appeared that lEtcbefl was being replaced as
chairman of the department. The reason given
t this time for the demotion was to " . . .
strengthen beyond present levels the research
and extension program of the department.
This statement appeared to be an oblique re
flection upon Mitchell's reputation and prof es
saonsl competence. In an attempt to learn more
about bis abilities in agricultural economics. The
Nebraskan wrote several important economists,
all authorities in the field, who might be in a
position to comment upon varhell. AH news
paper clippings were enclosed in the letters.
Many excellent replies were received, iaclad
Ing cemineadataoas for Mitchell from sach eat
standing figares as Lasrea Sola, editorial page
editor of the Des Meiaes Register; Leo Key
seriing, former chairman of President Tramaa's
Ceaca of Economic Advisers; aad John GaB
feraita, professor of ewraamits at Harvard Us,
About this time Dr. William Swindler's resig
sstka a director of the school of Journalism
appeared. The impSactians in bis rf:tgnwn
to the effect that the rmnflifirms producing the
demotion of Dr. Mitchell might Dot be isolated,
prompted The Xebraskan to interview personal
ly nearly 59 professors, who represented a
trossectkm of IS diiefreni departments at the
After two weeks of interviewing, the results
were published in two news stories. Every re
mark, every quote, every phrase which was
used in these stories was given to Nebraskan
reporters by University faculty members. AH
quoted remarks have been saved in the report
er's notes or notes specially prepared by the
interviewer. v
Names were not used in the articles at the
request of the faculty members interviewed and,
according to the ethics of journalism, cannot
be revealed until the persons involved give the
newspaper permission to do so. "
Also, at this time, approximately 40 professors
who had recently left the institution were con
tacted by letter. Each was asked three questions:
Would you care to comment on Clyde Mitchell
the current controversity on the University cam
pus or the reasons why you left Nebraska?
Every letter which has been received from
these professors has been published (including
several which disagreed explicitly with the edi
torial stand of The Nebraskan). These letters
have all been signed; they represent the author's
viewpoint and they have been published as such.
The Nebraska cannot "back up factually"
every assertion which has been made in its news
stories. This is neither within the areas of
journalism responsibility nor common sense
However, it can completely back up the fact
that irry story and every assertion which
has been made p the stories was either given
directly to The Nebraskan by University faculty
members or sent to us by faculty members
who have recently left the institution.
These are the only facts which are needed to
publish a legitimate news story.
The slay which each story has received has
fceea gauged as objectively as possible in accord
with its Importance, its relevance and its cor
responding significance with the remainder of ;
the news for that particular day.
However, the point is still good that "the other
side" has not been given adequate treatment.
But this is not entirely the fault of The Ne
braskan nor is it because such an opportunity
has been lacking.
Before and after each story has been pub
lished. The Nebraskan has contacted all the
persons involved, asking for comments or state
ments. This has been done in almost every
case, except where time did nor permit or the
person concerned was unavailable for comment.
When statements have been made, the paper
has tried to give them as good coverage as their
importance merited. The news columns as well
as the letterip cohmms have and will continue
to be open to all comment, pro or con, on the
In regard to editorial expressiea, The Ne
araskaahas based its stand upon the remarks
made in the arcicoJtcral economics staff meet
ing, the series of conflicting statements made
Vy the adwihrfstraQoa and the snasy statements
which have been given to aw, both privately aad
pablidy, by Caiverrity personnel.
The Nebraskan may have made mistakes, it
may have used bad judgment, but nevertheless
it has striven conscientiously to provide the
public with information pro and con on aa
issue which may determine the future and in
tegrity of the University of Nebraska.
It is with this ha mind that The Nebraska
weWmes the disecatiag opium of Dr. Pfeiler.
Professor Calls Nebraskan-
IF rank, Buf Mof IF ah
In your campaign for academic
freedom on the campus, you have
given copious space to your sup
porters. I trust that in the "enter
prise of ideas" you will be equally
generous with views differing from
C. P. Scott, famous editor of
the liberal "Manchester Guardian"
from 1872 to 1929 once said. "A
newspaper is of necessity some
thing of a monopoly, and its first
duty is to shun
the temptations
o f manoDolv. '
Its primary of
fice is the
gathering o f .
At tne pent
1 1 ; '
Building Program Produces
'Unfunctional Mediocrity
Before I satisfy four great
hangar for more of my vrie
daza, wit and Inimitable prose,
I should like to Quote rather
good comment which appeared
to T2E this week I never
read anything deeper than
TIKE by K. Lw Mendken, on
a professor's eavgonmentt
"Eis whole professional ac
tivity g circnmsorlbed by the
prejudices, vanities and avar
ices of Ins utuvertsty trustees,
1 a oamraitfcee of soap
ttailers, nail - auunf aefcuren.
bsnk-directort aid politi
cians I dost mesa to say
that that lias any relevance
iter, of course. There's so
soap-boiling Aam la skis state.
However, whatever mm sy
about the UsmirKitr, &m J&
sunny-nailers a a always
switch the sutjeet ty referring
to "the bunding program"
Cist fhey are carrying on nere
at the Citadel
They may be torturing pro
fessors on the rack, -or cut
ting the tongues out of stu
dents, but we can always
"point wifh pride to the new
campus buildings.
JUuS we must sty that fee
aSahajsiratiaa las used great
Joreeight, ingenuity and imng-
inatSoa is forwarding our cam
pus building. They are using
all of the modernistic trends,
like mo design, and no archi
tects. I have beard competent
architects foam at the mouth
for bours about the ig2y new
buildings that the University
is erecting. The glory spot
was the mausoleum called the
State Historical Society that
was set vp to bouse relics and
give the campus the rigorous
flavor of Forest Lawn.
Next, we bave the Student
Union, which. I hear, as going
to be expanded. It it a de
pressing spot as it is; ex
panded it will become maca
bre. This inefficient, colorless.
My Booties Cries
MnfanctionEl blc& is rather pa
thetic when compared with the
marvelous amions at Colorado
and Oklahoma.
The CJU) urB
any bear! lyrical, especially
the lovely temporaries enhanc
ing the xnalL We're al des
perately waiting Jar the sickly
trees to row mp enough tto
bide the rest of the building.
Burnett H&3 and Andrews
EaQ and MornJl Eal are all
specimens of what is known
areund bere as SeEeck Quad
Modern or Upside-down
Cracker Box.
It wouldnt be so bad af they
weren't building more and
snore and more of these shape
less, duD. (unimaginative mon
strosities. More of that lovely,
lovely SeBeck Quad Clasncal-Army-B
arrack is on the plas
oing board.
Love library, which is at
tractive on the outside, as
completely impractical and
wnfunctional as a library
within. II is built like a public
building, with great, empty,
The only place you can study
is at long, public tables as
large, ao j s y public balk,
where you are continually iis
turbed by the ondartoae of
fifty people comparing notes.
In short, somebody bad bet
ter leU Adminny EaJ that the
'buildine program" bat pro
duced nothing but unf unctions!
mediocrity and promises little
better lunlet the Great Cre
ators who are designing and
planning it nee more imagin
ation or hire someone witfj
THd Nsbraskcn
tiembert Associated CGfisite Press
f HtomiEegSate Press
T&wmmxSn Ka&oud Advertising .fervtoe.
7 sl-Zi&i& mm SB, Stodest Unloc
34sa A S.
Vievwulf mi Kebrttska
S..hafsSn, Kebr&siLa
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tmUmm tff , .Crtiiftjr WkS tuom.
twniitrwm : V miri iU4iiir. HwhunHi Wviminiv, (Cmvv
Swo, SHik Wm, Diik I iInm Salm Stoma.
HHm MrnfiMM
mm mH(tn.
CouiM Kim. turn
of iU s o u 1 it I '
must see that ' )
the supply is ,
not tainted. tJk kA
Neither in courts icoin tur
what it gives Pfeiler
nor in what it does not give nor in
the mode of presentation must the
unclouded face of truth suffer
wrong. Comment is free, but facts
are sacred. 'Propaganda so-called
by this means is hateful. The voice
of opponents no less than that of
friends has a right to be heard.
Comment also is justly subject to
a self-imposed restraint. It is well
to be frank; it is even better to
be fair."
The Nebraskan has, indeed, a
monopoly as far as campus opin
ion is concerned; in issue after
issue for weeks and months you
have set forth your views, un
hampered by censorship or re
straint. In your charges you have been
frank, in the arraignment of sup
porting views you have shown skill,
but you have not been fair insofar
as you failed to consider the com
plexity of the administration's pro
blem and insofar as you gave edi
torial emphasis to statements so
licited according to your apparent
ly handpicked list.
Tea have saeeeeded ia sevees
lag the last modkarn of seasatioB
al alarmism eat of year campaign
Tear sampling of epiaioa was well
directed, hat agaia yoa failed as
giving aay evidence of a sober,
critical appraisal of the stories yoa
gathered from variees soarces.
You cannot be oblivious to the
truth that there are usually two, if
not more, sides to every question.
Bjt with unbelievable thoughtless
ness, you accepted each critic's
view and opinion as a sterling
fact, never suggesting that men
have an inborn tendency to ration
alize their actions and expei "s
in terms of maximum self-. 1
cation. Hearsay, rumor, vague general
fxations and subjective impressions
are the basis for your charges
which you voice with such ictrig
tdnf eloquence and ringing pathos.
When Chancellor Hardin, after
serious and thoughtful deliberation
with the senate committees, point
ed out the right approach to the
rectifk-aaon of passible imdeair
able condTlaiwts, yon tried to pre
judice your readers against hum
from the start by taead!iaac.g:
"Hardin says Expressions if Opin
km 'Welcome'."
The Quotation marks here are
the tools of a vicious type of jour
nalism that should have no place
in a newspaper that claims to fight
tor lugn ideals.
In your editorial of May 15, you
state that all statements, etc.,
made this semester The Nebras
kan can "back up factually."
Please do so; do not just say so!
Repeat: do so!!!
Two committees are ready to
receive the proofs of your accusa
tions, especially the one on "Ten
ure and Academic Privilege,"
whose chairman, Professor Julius
Cohen, 302 Law Building, is a col
league of top professional compe
tence and unquestioned integrity.
If you should fail to "back up
factually," you will be suspected
of reckless and irresponsible cal
umny. Since I have started to express
to yon my views, mainly because
no one single facultv voice had
been raised ia opposition to your
spirited campaign so far, permit
me a few more observations:
For the first time I have seen
the term "demotion" used in con
nection with the replacement of a
chairman. It was cleverly chosen
because of its deprecatory overtones.
A chairman is never "promoted"
to his position, but appointed; he
is never demoted, but relieved. If
the policies of the administration
clash with the views of the chair
man, be may withdraw from his
position and devote again his full
time, in full academic freedom, to
hi- professorial duties.
Many outstanding faculty people
have served as chairmen and after
a while returned to research and
teaching. The duty of a chairman
commands no higher respect than
those pertaining to teaching and
A prerequisite for his success
as a departmental administrator is
that he can co-operate loyally with
the University administration.
With academic freedom goes re
sponsibility, fairness and restraint.
History shows that ambitious ad
vocates of freedom too often came
to identify their own personal in
terests with the cause of human
ity at large, and it is also a sad
fact that not infrequently pioneers
of liberty have turned into arro
gant and intolerant suppressors of
views contrary to their own.
Another matter has bee givea
small attention. Oar demeeratie
belief that the wffl of the people
Large Selection
must prevail Is also basic to oar
system of University administra
tion. The Regents, elected by the
people, appoint the executive offi
cer, the Chancellor; they are the
legitimate functionaries of the
Not for a moment do I maintain
that they and the Deans and the
faculty represent wisdom incar
nate; I am sure that errors in judg
ment cannot be avoided, but the
fact is: they are the people with
the legitimate authority to run the
We may disagree with them on
some of their decisions (those who
know of my record will remember
that L on occasion, openly and in
Eds. Note: This letterip
was sent to The Nebraskan by
Prof. W. K. Pfeiler, chairman of
the department of Germanic lang
uages. It Is printed in its entirety.
committees, vigorously questioned
some measures of the administra
tion), but no public institution can
function if it lacks the support of
its staff.
I am surprised that in all the dis
cussions of the ethical issue of
freedom, etc., the important fac
tor of loyalty has never been men
tioned. Loyalty is not obsequious
conformism; it means a faithful
support of general policies, even if
some of their aspects may cause us
to wonder.
The success of a democratic
community rest, as I see it, on
two pillars: the restraint of the
majority in the use of its authority
and the willingness of the minority
to co-operate with the majority
for the good of the whole, as long
as no basic principles are violated.
I want to go oa record thai
according to my knowledge the
morale of the faculty is far from
low, that research and teaching
are seder no restraint aad are
carried oa vigoroasly, despite the
fact that professors come aad pro
fessors go and ehairmea are ap
pointed and "dis-appolnted." This
process goes oa in any institution
of higher learning; it Is normal
at the University of Nebraska.
As a member of many com
mittees of the University in the
past, and among them was also
the committee on nomination for
membership in the Graduate Col
lege, I found the approach to per
sonal problems and questions of
policy eminently factual and fair.
On more than one occasion, any
suggestion of an undue personal
influence found vigorous and unan
imous rejection on the part of a
faculty that in no way resembles a
bunch of cowed weaklings as you
portray them In your discussions.
And most of them do not wait to
speak up to the administration un
til they live at a "safe distance"
and have gone elsewhere because
"freedom was threatened" We.
Chairmen and members of the
faculty cannot always secure ad
minis trational support and approv-.
al for plans and policies that some
of us deem quite essential.
Sensitive people might be likely
to see in this a personal persecu
tion, or feel that someone is "after
them"; they feel offended, hurt
and sulk when they cannot have
their way.
The University has over seventy
departments, so one should realize
that not having all of ones own
suggestions followed is not a mat
ter of personal suppression, but a
procedure dictated by necessity
and an over-all well-balanced ad
ministration. The majority of the faculty Is
alert and not aware of the daa
gers that selfish groans constitute;
it welcomes vigoroos support from
the students In the eaase of aca
demic freedom, bat views it with
sadness wbea this grand eaase Is
used to vent aa fares poos Hrie ani
mas, perhaps for the sake of aa
exaggerated self -assertion.
W. K. Pfeiler
Department of Germ an! a
You Are Invited To Worship
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