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The New York Times - Dec. 6, 1947

Ban by Columbia on Fast Condemned


An editorial published yesterday in The Columbia Daily Spectator, Columbia College newspaper, charged that Columbia University's barring of Howard Fast, novelist, from speaking on the campus was based on "invalid and dubious grounds." It emphasized that "the pressure of the Un-American Activities Committee has already begun to take effect on the Columbia campus."
"Howard Fast has been denied the privilege of speaking on the Columbia campus," the editorial said. "We are not arguing for or against Howard Fast or his views, for his views are not essential factors in this case.
"Here is the case as we see it: The House Un-American Activities Committee has shown a definite hostility toward leftist individuals. Columbia University has always been noted for its liberal policy in allowing any speaker with a message of interest to Columbia students to appear on this campus. The House Un-American Activities Committee has announced its intention to investigate American education. Columbia University suddenly reversed its long-standing policy of refusing permission to speak by refusing permission of grounds which we consider invalid and dubious.
"We do not deny that the university had reasons for prohibiting the controversial speech. But we feel that the reasons behind the move were secondary not only to traditional university policy but secondary to American tradition as well. We believe that these reasons should have been bypassed by the university. In plain words, we feel that the university has made a mistake and perpetrated a grave injustice when it denies, under pressure, permission to a speaker because of views."