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Full text of "The dismissal of Bob Burke. Heidelberg comes to Columbia."

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THE DISMISSAL 

of • 

BOB BURKE 





HEIDELBERG COMES TO COLUMBIA 



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Published by 

THE BURKE DEFENSE COMMITTEE 

THE AMERICAN STUDENT UNION 

THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION 



The Dismissal of Bob Burke 






IARLY in June of 1936, Robert Burke, president- 
elect of the junior class, was dismissed from Columbia College. 
Burke, who was a prominent leader of the American Student Union 
at Columbia and an amateur boxing champion, was expelled after 
a demonstration protesting Columbia's acceptance of an invitation 
to the Heidelberg anniversary ceremonies. University officials have 
stated that his dismissal was caused by his "unseemly conduct" and 
"refusal to apologize." An examination of the facts of the case 
plainly reveals that these allegations are not the real basis for the 
University's action. We contend that the facts show conclusively 
that the University dismissed Burke because — and only because — 
he was an outstanding leader of the Student Union and a courageous 
exponent of those principles for which the Union stands. 

Our case rests upon the following testimony: 

February 26-28, England: In rapid succession Oxford, Bir- 
mingham and Cambridge Universities announce their refusal to par- 
ticipate in the Heidelberg anniversary exercises. They take this 
stand in condemnation of Nazi attacks upon academic freedom, the 
dismissal of 44 teachers at Heidelberg since 1933 and the convic- 
tion that the ceremonies would be used to glorify the Nazi regime. 
Germany thereupon withdraws its invitation to all English uni- 
versities. 



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BOB BURKE 



February 28, New York: Columbia University announces ac- 
ceptance of the Heidelberg invitation. "It is the custom of Columbia 
University to be represented, whenever conveniently possible, at 
all celebrations of educational institutions here and abroad," states 
Philip M. Hayden, assistant secretary, of the University. At the time 
of the announcement, President Nicholas Murray Butler is travelling 
and cannot be reached. 

March 2: The Columbia Spectator sends a cable to Dr. Butler 
informing him of Mr. Hayden's announcement and urging him to 
rescind the action. No reply was ever received. 

March 2— March 15. American Student Union chapter votes 
to oppose Columbia's participation and to organize campus-wide 
protest against it The Columbia Student Board takes similar action. 
A mass meeting is held to protest the University's decision. A peti- 
tion against participation is launched, prominent faculty members, 
including Franz Boaz, George S. Counts, Harold Urey— Nobel prize 
winner — and many others signing this statement. The Columbia 
chapter of the Teachers Union passes a resolution citing the "neces- 
sity of reconsidering" the University's acceptance. 

MARCH 18: Four fraternities submit their protests against 
Columbia's acceptance. 

March 26: A committee including two editors of Columbia 
publications, representatives of the Columbia and Teachers College 
Student Councils, a member of The Columbia Law Review and rep- 
resentatives of the graduate school is formed at the instance of the 
Student Union to carry the protests to Dr. Butler. 

March 29: 1,000 students and faculty members have signed the 
petition urging rescinding of the acceptance. Dr. Butler returns 
to the campus. 

March 30: Committee interviews Dr. Butler. He promises 
"full consideration to the views of the students in a study of the 
entire matter." Dr. Butler states that he is uncertain whether the 
Heidelberg ceremonies will have political significance, as the stu- 



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dents claim, and that, if investigation justifies their claim,, he will 
veto the acceptance and seek similar action by other American 
Universities, He also assures committee members that they will 
receive word from him as soon as a decision is readied. (See 
affidavit No. 5.) 

April 28: A despatch to The New York Times reports: 



NAZIS WILL GUIDE HEIDELBERG FETE 

"The program of the ceremonies honoring the 550th anniversary 
of Heidelberg, just published, indicates that spokesmen for the 
political regime now in power will have the major role. Despite 
assertion made here that the event would have purely local academic 
significance, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and other Nazi 
functionaries will be among most prominent hosts to scholars and 
scientists who have been invited to represent the universities of the 
world. The principal anniversary ceremony will take place on 
June 29. The program states that addresses will be delivered by 
representatives of the Reich government and of the National Social- 
ist Party of the city of Heidelberg, and Heidelberg students. Three 
out of four speeches will be made by representatives of the govern- 
ment and national socialism. The evening before the ceremony the 
Reich government will be host at a reception at which Propaganda 
Minister Goebbels and Bernhard Rust, Minister of Culture, will 
speak, 

Germany. Heidelberg officials announce that Arthur F. J. Remy 
will be Columbia's delegate to the Heidelberg ceremonies. 

New York: Philip M. Hayden, assistant secretary of Columbia, 
asserts that "at the time of the acceptance of the invitation it was 
indicated to Heidelberg University that Professor Remy would be 
the delegate. There has been no new action since the last announce- 
ment." 

April 29: Although sixteen North American universities were 
listed in German report as having accepted invitations, five of them 
— Vassar, Davidson, Western Reserve, Michigan and Alberta 




{Canada) deny that they will participate, according to The New 
York Times. 

April 30: Newspaper clippings of April 28 (quoted above) 
revealing political character of ceremonies are sent to Dr. Butler 
with a request for action in the light of his earlier pledge. (See 
March 30.) 

May 6: Having received no reply to this request, committee 
asks interview with Dr. Butler to discuss the case on the basis of 
evidence of political nature of ceremonies. 

May IX: Assistant Secretary Hayden informs the committee 
that "Dr. Butler has nothing to see the committee about." 

THE 'BOOK-BURNING' CEREMONY 

Mat 12: American Student Union chapter holds open meeting 
to discuss University's stand. With less than two weeks of the 
semester remaining and the University apparently determined to 
evade the issue until school disbands and further pressure is impos- 
sible, the meeting votes to hold a protest demonstration that night. 

300 students are quickly rallied and they assemble on South 
Field in the evening. They conduct a mock "book-burning" to 
satirize Columbia's acceptance. After this is concluded, the com- 
mittee in charge decides to continue the demonstration in front of 
Dr. Butler's home in a final attempt to shake his indifference to 
university opinion. When the students reach there, Paul Thomson;, 
a member of Student Board } and Robert Burke deliver speeches. 
Burke criticizes Dr. Butler for accepting the invitation in the name 
of the university and climaxes his speech with the statement: "Nicky; 
and I hope you hear this too, you can send a representative to 
Heidelberg but let it be known that he is not the choice of the 
student body"- (See affidavit No. 2.) Observers testify that not 
only did Burke refrain from any personal or abusive language but 
that he also attempted to quiet a few individuals who shouted per- 
sonal comments. (See affidavits Nos. 1-4.) 

In the course of the evening several picket signs are dropped in 



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the corridor leading to the front door of the house. The meeting 
lasts for about half an hour and then disbands in orderly fashion. 
According to observers, "the meeting was attended with little dis- 
order." (See affidavits Nos. 1*4.) 

After the meeting Dr. Butler's 1 doorbell is rung by reporters seek- 
ing a statement. Later this incident is riiade one of the charges 
against the student demonstrators. (See affidavit No. 3.) 

May 13: Dean Herbert E. Hawkes calls Paul Thomson to his 
office. The exact nature of that interview has not been disclosed. 

May 21: Dean Hawkes summons Burke. According to Burke:* 
"A few days later I was summoned to the Dean's office. He con- 
fronted me with the accusation of having been a leader of a dem- 
onstration which was in exceedingly poor taste, rowdy and which 
had violated the sanctity of Dr. Butler's home. He told me that 
someone had shouted profane remarks about Dr. Butler and that 
someone had left pickei signs in the foyer of Dr. Butler's house, 
I told the Dean that I hadn't heard the profanity and that I was 
sorry that someone had left picket signs. The Dean was quite angry, 
however, and made it clear that he thought the entire affair deplor- 
able and reprehensible, I maintained that as far as picketing Dr. 
Butler's house went and speaking in front of it, we were within our 
rights and well within the bounds of decency. This became our 
major point of difference. The Dean said that there were two 
alternative decisions which he might reach: either he would forget 
the whole matter or I would be asked to resign. He asked me if 1 
would accept the invitation to resign if it were proffered. I replied 
that since the American Student Union had called the meeting and 
had asked me to speak, and since the result of this case would affect 
the A, S. U., I could not decide that question without consultation 
with the Union. I told the Dean that if I were expelled it woula 
appear to the student body that this action was an attempt to frighten 
the A. S* U. out of any action of significance and to frighten politi- 
cally conscious students so that they would not take part in A. S. U. 
affairs. Surely, I said, I could prove that my behavior in front of 






*A11 of Burke's testimony quoted here lias been made in affadavit form. The 
affidavit will he submitted to any authoritative body. 



Dr. Butler's home was reserved and considered. Further, on the 
same evening that the A. S. U. demonstration took place, several 
hundred students not associated with the Union and not connected in 
any way with the Heidelberg protest, stormed the fence around 
Barnard College, tore it down and dragged it into the streets. 1 
pointed out that this was apparently not considered below Colum- 
bia's standard and I suggested that perhaps the political portent of 
the Student Union meeting explained the different attitude of the 
administration toward the two occurrences. The Dean denied this, 
asserting that the tearing down of the Barnard fence was a "usual 
pre-examination outburst" while the Union demonstration was an 
invasion of the sanctity of Dr. Butler f s home and could not be tole- 
rated. The Dean again stated that, according to the newspapers, 1 
had led the demonstration and that since he knew no one else who 
had been there except Paul Thomson, we two would have to be 
held responsible. I left the Dean's office after reiterating my apology 
for the alleged profanity and for the leaving of picket signs in the 
foyer of the president's house. I again stated that the A, S. U. 
would accept responsibility for the meeting hut would oppose the 
singling out of one man as a victim, 9 ' 

May 24: The American Student Union's Columbia chapter 
sends a letter to Dean Hawkes saying "... At the book-burning 
student enthusiasm quickly spread and with the approval of the 
committee in charge of arrangements many students started for Dr. 
Butler's home to demonstrate to the President that they disapproved 
of his seeming indifference to repeated student request for a state- 
ment . . . The A. S. U. considers any obscene language which may 
have been used by members of the crowd to be reprehensible. The 
cluttering of Dr, Butler's foyer with placards is regrettable. The 
A, S, U. apologizes for any personal affront to the President. Be- 
cause of the group character of this demonstration, we do not feel 
that any individual can be held responsible for the conduct or issue 
of any part of it." 

May 23: The Dean again summons Burke, According to Burke: 
"Several days after this letter I was again called to the Dean'3 office 
and charged with distorting his interview with me. I told him that 



I had been careful to explain to any men I spoke to that the case 
was not settled and that I had not distorted his remarks at all, We 
again argued the right of students to picket Dr Butler's house and I 
again apologized for the two questionable matters, making it clear 
that I had not used profanity nor left the picket signs." 

June 2 : Burke of his own accord -confers with a member of the 
faculty who, according to Burke, advised "that I go in and apologize 
for the actions which I felt to be reprehensible . . * He said the 
Dean would probably be placated by an apology, I explained my 
position and said that / had apologized twice before but would 
apologize again for the profanity and the placards. I tried to see 
the Dean that day but he was not in, and as I left the next day, 1 
had no chance to see him." 



THE LETTER OF DISMISSAL 

June 16: Burke receives a letter of dismissal from Dean Hawkes, 
which reads: 

"After very careful consideration and consultation concern- 
ing your situation, 1 have finally come to the conclusion that it 
would be in the best interests of all concerned if you did not 
register in Columbia College next Fall. I should be glad to 
help you in any way that I can to find a field of interest where 
you can fit in more definitely but the kind of behavior that has 
attended your residence in Columbia College seems to me to 
justify the decision which I have made. I am notifying the 
Registrar of this action." 

June 25: Burke sends notification of his dismissal to the 
national office of the American Student Union and asks action in 
bis behalf. 

June 27: Burke's father writes to Dean Hawkes urging him to 
reconsider his decision, adding; 

" . . . Perhaps you do not realize the sacrifices that my wife 
and I have made to get a Columbia diploma for Bob. Have you 



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considered the hard work the boy has done to help support him- 
self while earnestly trying to acquire a really comprehensive 
education? . . . The extension of equality of opportunity to all 
men has been the chief interest of my life and it has been my 
ambition for many years to have a son so learned in economics 
and earnest in purpose that he could devote his life to the cause 
of social and economic justice with absolute certainty of sub- 
stantial accomplishment. We chose Columbia because we be- 
lieved these ambitions were compatible with its tradition of 
liberal tendencies. Please let me know what there was in 
Robert's conduct s behavior or manner that would make him 
undesirable as a student at Columbia ... I ask that you supply 
me with a full and exact account of the incidents in Bob's life 
there that you think make him unfit to associate with his fellow 
students at Columbia. ..." 

June 28: American Student Union makes public report of 
Burke's dismissal and announces its intention to campaign for his 
reinstatement On the same day, according to The New York Sun> 
"... Dean Herbert E. Hawkes revealed that two other leaders in 
the demonstration had apologized and that no disciplinary action 
would be taken against them. It was said today that Burke had 
taken a defiant attitude and had refused to apologize." 

June 29: Dean Hawkes refuses to furnish any detailed reply to 
Burke's father, stating: 

"... Since the boy has taken the matter up with the Ameri- 
can Student Union for demonstration and protest, and by a re- 
lease to the press, I hardly know how to reply to your letter. 
I suppose that any thing that might be said would be reported 
to the headquarters of the American Student Union with the 
consequent misrepresentation and garbling which emanates from 
this source. Suffice it to say that your son was one of the leaders 
in one of the most disgusting and unmannerly demonstrations 
that has been seen at Columbia University for many years. After 
several conversations with him he expressed no regret or apology 
for his part in the affair, I am therefore obliged to assume that 



1 1 



his action on this occasion represents the kind of conduct we 
may expect from him. In that case I do not regard him as a 
person whose conduct is likely to reflect credit upon himself or 
upon Columbia College." 

July 10: Burke writes to Dean Hawkes with a renewed appeal 
for reconsideration, repeating his 'apology for the instances of dis- 
order to which the Dean had objected: 

"I have, sir, worked hard and earnestly for the past several 
years to gain an education, I entered Columbia because of its 
reputation for liberal and progressive action. During the two 
years I have been in attendance there I have come to respect 
many of my professors and the learning inherent in the institu- 
tion. Certain other aspects I have come to abhor. This is, I 
believe, a natural reaction- Those aspects I disliked I protested 
against in the hope that some change might be accomplished. 
This, to me, was loyalty to Columbia. . . , I read with regret 
that you saw fit to call my behavior disgraceful and disorderly. 
I believe that my record at Columbia disproves that charge. 
Anyone at the Heidelberg demonstration will tell you that my 
personal behavior at that meeting was both orderly and calm . . . 
I wish to repeat my apology for the alleged use of profanity at 
that Heidelberg meeting and also for the fact that some picket 
signs were left in front of Dr. Butler's home. I repeat that I 
had no part in these unfortunate incidents. I hope that some 
agreement may be reached which will put an end to the publicity 
which is inimical to the best interests of Columbia and myself. 
I will deeply appreciate any effort of yours to reach another 
decision in my case." 

July 20: Dean Hawkes again declines to elaborate upon the 
dismissal. 

July 30: Arthur Garfield Hays, noted attorney, agrees to carry 
Burke's case to court in the fight for his reinstatement if such action 
proves necessary. 




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HO decided upon Burke's dismissal? 

Dean Hawkes' letter of dismissal maintains that his decision was 
reached after "consideration and consultation". With whom did 
he consult? No student witnesses were called. It is known that 
several faculty members recommended to the Dean that Burke should 
not be expelled. 

Did Dean Hawkes consult with the Board of Trustees and Dr. 
Butler? If so, was their recommendation decisive? 

Why was Burke dismissed? 

On June 30 Dean Hawkes is quoted in The Sun as declaring 
that while Burke had been dismissed, no disciplinary action had 
been taken against other leaders in the demonstration. He explained 
this by the statement that other leaders had apologized and that 
Burke had refused to apologize. 

However, the facts show that Burke apologized on three separate 
occasions: once, in his first interview with the Dean after the demon- 
stration; again, the next time the Dean saw him and a third time by 
mail from his home. The first two apologies were made before 
Dean Hawkes* June ZOth statement to The Sun and before the dis* 
missal. 

■ We can only conclude that, if the Dean's statement means any- 
thing, there must have been a real difference between Burke's 
apology and those of the "other leaders." 

Burke apologized for offenses committed by the students in the 
course of the meeting. He made it clear that he had no right to 
apologize for the actual holding of the meeting. He continued to 
uphold the right of student organizations to hold protest meetings 
on issues of su-ch gravity. If the other apologies were different 
from his, they must have included apologies for holding the meet- 
ing itself. 



12 






URKE'S dismissal then is clearly an attack on the 
right of student organization and action. Burke's insistence upon 
this right was the cause of his expulsion. He defended this right 
with the full knowledge that the University might take drastic action 
against him. For this firm stand he merits the support of all those 
who believe that these rights are essential to academic freedom. 

That the Heidelberg issue was of sufficient gravity to warrant 
the holding of protest meetings seems indisputable. Immediately 
on the announcement of Columbia's participation student and faculty 
opinion from different organizations in all parts of the campus was 
outspoken in opposition to the acceptance. This opposition grew 
until by March 30th 5 when the committee first saw Dr. Butler, it 
represented a dominant section of university opinion. Dr. Butler 
gave clear indication that if the claims were justified, he would 
rescind the invitation. 

On April 2Bth these claims were justified by press quotations 
from the Nazi officials themselves. On the same day the name of 
Columbia's representative to Heidelberg was made public. When 
another interview was requested, Dr. Butler had "nothing to see the 
committee about" 

In view of these circumstances, there was only one way in which 
Dr. Butler could effectively be made aware of campus sentiment. 
Every other method of democratic expression had been shut off by 
Dr. Butler himself. The demonstration of May 12th was the inevita- 
ble result of Dr. Butler's indifference to student and faculty opinion. 

Whatever unfortunate incidents may have marred the demon- 
stration — and the degree of misconduct is still to be established — 
the demonstration itself was emphatically justified. Columbia 
arbitrarily took part in a ceremony which was later described by 
The Times correspondent as follows; 

"The second day of Heidelberg ■ University* s celebration of the 
550th anniversary has gone by without one catching sight of an 
academic robe. Both ceremonies of the day's program had a mill- 




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lary and political character . . . All directions continued to be issued 
by a special office of the Propaganda Ministry set up here" 

It ivas incongruous for Columbia to remain silent on the Heidel- 
berg issue and yet so readily to expel a student who protested this 
silence in the name of the student body. 



B 



URKE'S expulsion is an attempt to stifle student 
opinion. It is a challenge to every advocate of democratic educa- 
tion. It is a shocking forerunner of that kind of arbitrary, ruthless 
academic dictatorship to which education has been subjected in 
Germany. Columbia sent a representative to Heidelberg; are Heidel- 
berg methods coming to Columbia? 

The meaning of Burke's reinstatement was plainly stated by 
Burke in a letter to' his attorney; 

"The question of my reinstatement at Columbia is important 
to me for two reasons. First and least important is that I do 
not want the brand of 'disorderly and disgraceful* on my record 
and I desire very greatly to finish my education. (The Dean 
told me that if I saw fit to fight this case I would stand very 
little chance of ever entering another educational institution in 
the United States.) The second reason that forces me to fight 
this case is the question of academic freedom. // Columbia can 
get away with this expulsion, freedom of thought and expression 
on every campus in the country will be endangered. The un- 
written threat of administrative discipline will force more and 
more students to silence. It is my belief that our country is at 
that point in its development at which we must fight against 
every manifestation of that suppression which is so horribly 
rampant in fascist nations. If we fail to carry the battle, then 
I am sure that our country will also find itself throttled and held 
by the pernicious forces which desire to defend their privilege 
even when humanity starves. My case is one small skirmish in 



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the battle. But I intend to fight it and win. Your help will be 
invaluable." 

We join Burke in asking your help. Demand Burke's reinstate- 
ment. If you are a student or a, teacher: 

1. Urge your student councillor general organization) and 
student newspaper to protest the dismissal and urge rein- 
statement. 

2. Get your club, fraternity or teachers' group to send a resolu- 
tion of protest to Dr. Butler and Dean Hawkes demanding 
Burke's reinstatement. 

3. Circulate petitions throughout student body and faculty de- 
manding Burke's reinstatement. 

4 Secure statements of support from faculty members and 
prominent citizens, to be sent to Dr. Butler and Dean Hawkes. 

5. Have your organization initiate or join local committees for 
Burke's defense. 

6. Support mass meetings being planned throughout the coun- 
try in Burke's behalf. 

If you are not in school: 

1, Send personal protests to Dr. Butler and Dean Hawkes. 
Circulate petitions among your friends and neighbors, 

2. Secure protests from organizations to which you belong. 

3- Support mass meetings throughout the country. 

Send petitions and copies of all resolutions, statements or actions 
to American Student Union office, 112 East 19tk Street. Funds are 
urgently needed to carry on this campaign. Contributions should 
be forwarded to the Union office. 

Let Burke's fight be the rallying ground for all progressives. 
His reinstatement will be a smashing defeat for the enemies of 

democratic education. 



AFFIDAVITS 






(All except one of the following affidavits are from students now in attend- 
ance at Columbia. Four names have consequently been withheld lest their 
academic standing be jeopardized. We are prepared to submit the affadavits 
to an impartial committee set up with the approval of the Burke Defense Com- 
mittee and the University.) 

AFFIDAVIT NO. I 

I was a spectator at the demonstration of the American Student Union, 
held in front of the house of Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler on the evening 
of May 12* 

I saw the entire demonstration and heard the entire speech of Robert 
Burke. 

, " I swear that I do not recall any remarks in that speech which pertained 

to any matter other than that of Columbia's representation at the Heidel- 
berg ceremonies and that I do not recall any reference to Dr. Butler in 
that speech except in connection with his stand in the Heidelberg matter. 
That my opinion, formed at the time* was that Burke was moderate 
in his speech, and certainly within the bounds of propriety. 

That, contrary to some newspaper reports, no demonstrators attempted 
to enter Dr. Butler's house. 

That the only persons I saw attempting to enter Dr. Butler's house 
were a group of reporters* of which I was one. 



Notarized: 



Signed. 



AFFIDAVIT NO. 2 



I solemnly swear that I was present throughout the entire demonstra- 
tion in front of Dr. Butler's home on the evening of May 12, and swear to 
the truth of the following statements: 

1. Robert Burke never attacked Dr. Butler personally, but confined his 
remarks about him solely to expressing disagreement with his policies. 

2. Burke referred to Dr. Butler in no more abusive terms than "Nicky". 
I cannot recall having heard him using any violent or obscene language 
at any time. 

3. The gist of the speech is condensed in the following statement, quoted 
as directly as possible from memory: "And 'Nicky, I hope you hear this 



16 



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3 




too, you can send a representative to Heidelberg, but let it be known 
that he is not the choice of the Columbia student body". 

Upon leaving Dr. Butler's residence in the company of two other spec- 
tators we remarked to one another, that the meeting was attended with 
little disorder. 



Notarized 



Signed. 



AFFIDAVIT NO. 3 

I swear that I witnessed the demonstration held In front of Dr> Butler's 
home on the evening of May 12 and that 

1. Burke did not, as charged, use any obscene, violent, or abusive language. 

2. That whenever he made reference to Dr. Butler It was only in connec- 
tion with Dr. Butler's stand on the Heidelberg question. 

3. That any show of rudeness was confined to scattered remarks from 
the crowd. 

4. That Burke used his influence to restrain the crowd from making such 
remarks. 

5. That the doorbell ringing was done by reporters known to me. 

6. That the demonstrators at no time entered Dr. Butler's house. 
Notarized: Signed. 

AFFIDAVIT NO. 4 

I was present at the meeting before Dr. Butler's home on the evening 
of May 12 during the entire speech of Robert Burke. 

I can say without reservation that Burke was restrained in his state- 
ments and in no sense disorderly. 

His remarks dealt only with the matter of Columbia's participation 
in the Heidelberg festivities, 

As I remember it, the meeting was orderly on the whole, boisterous- 
ness being confined to a mere handful of those present. 

ROGER CHASE. 

AFFIDAVIT NO. 5 

I was one of the nine students who interviewed President Butler on 
March 30, 1936. This committee presented to Dr. Butler a petition signed 



18 



by 1,000 students and by many faculty members asking that the Heidel- 
berg invitation be rejected. The committee also presented Dr. Butler 
with clippings from The Columbia Spectator which reported student pro- 
test against the acceptance of Heidelberg's bid. Finally, the committee 
requested, that in view of the strong student opinion against Germany's 
regimentation of its universities* Columbia refuse to give sanction to this 
policy by sending its representative to Heidelberg. We reported that 
English Universities had declined to attend and urged Columbia to do 
likewise. 

in the- discussion that followed, Dr. Butler declared that he was un- 
familiar wilh the nature of the Heidelberg invitation. He had not seen 
it and did not know whether it was received from the university of Heidel- 
berg or from the German government. He had not, he stated, read of the 
action taken by the British Universities. He assured us, however, that he 
would look into these matters. 

Moreover, Dr. Butler stated at length that he was most distressed over 
the persecutions conducted by the German government He wag. especially 
concerned over the fate of scholarship under the Third Heich, He ridiculed 
the results of the German elections (reported in the press that very day) 
which showed 98.87% of the German vote for Hitler. He scored the Nazis 
for having closed the Deutsche Hochschule fur Politik (founded by Dr. 
Butler after the war), and for having reopened it as a school for Nazi 
propaganda. In short, President Butler showed that he held the Nazi 
regime in contempt. At the same time, he wanted to study the nature of 
the proposed celebration at Heidelberg more closely. He promised us a 
report when he had completed this study. 

Dr. Butler felt the need for an international conference of universi- 
ties to determine their policy toward German academies. He stated lhat 
he would urge the establishment of such a conference. 

In regard lo the invitation from Heidelberg^ Dr. Butler slated that 
its acceptance was not to be regarded as final. If his study showed that 
the proposed celebration was to have a political and propaganda character, 
he would refer the invitation back to the proper committee. It was dis- 
tinctly my impression at this point that Dr, Butler wished to determine 
what the character of the Heidelberg festival would be and that if he 
found that it would be political and propagandist in nature, he would 
urge Columbia to reject the invitation. In any event, Dr. Butler promised 
to inform us of his decisions "within a few weeks." 



I swear that the above statements are true. 



Notarized; 



Signed. 



J') 



AFFIDAVIT NO. 6 

I hereby swear that I was chairman of the arrangements committee: 
of the anti-Heidelberg demonstration held by the American Student Union 
the night of May 12, 1936 at Columbia University, and that Robert Burke 
acted only as a member of that committee abiding by its decisions in every 
detail of the demonstration both on South Field and before Dr. Butler's 
home. He assumed no individual initiative, .but acted at all times as a 
committee member. 

And I further swear that I -was both withnr sight and sound of the 
above mentioned Robert Burke throughout the demonstration, and that at 
no time was his conduct boisterous, undignified, nor did he use any obscene 
language. T stood beside him during the speech, and T heard him give no 
more than a direct and dignified presentation of the point of view of the 
American Student Union in relation to the sending of a Columbia repre- 
sentative to the Heidelberg festival. 

And I further swear that the conduct of the above mentioned Robert 
Burke was in full accord with order and decorum in the demonstration. 
And further that Burke acted to keep the demonstrators in regular lines, 
and to prevent the use of any improper language, with the result that I 
heard no such language employed by anyone present. 

And finally I swear that Robert Burke left the demonstration at once 
upon its conclusion, and before any placards bad been placed anywhere 
about the Butler premises. I can attest to thia, for I left just after Burke, 
and at that time there were no placards visible. 

PAUL K, THOMSON. 
Notarized: 



SEND THIS TO PRESIDENT NICHOLAS BUTLER AND 
DEAN HERBERT HAWKES 

(name of club], organization or individual) 
protests the dismissal of Robert Burke as an unwarranted attack 
upon student liberty and urges his immediate and unconditional 
reinstatement. 

Signed »- 

(Name of Representative) 

School or College ■• »»■■ •'- 

If organization, number of members 

Please send copies to American Student Union office, 112 East 19th Street, N. Y. City 



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