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Professor Starsky’s Case

To the Editors:

…It is very important that we join in the defense of Dr. Morris Starsky, whose appointment as Associate Professor and Chairman of the Philosophy Department at California State College, Dominguez Hills, was withdrawn by the President of the college on the basis of his having lied when he stated on one of the employment documents that he had never been discharged from previous employment. It is the contention of the President that in 1970 Dr. Starsky had been discharged from his position at Arizona State University.

Trouble started to brew quite openly for Dr. Starsky after he had canceled a class in January, 1970, to address a student rally in Tuscon. At the end of the academic year, the Regents ordered the President not to renew Dr. Starsky’s contract. This action was taken following investigation of Dr. Starsky’s conduct by both an ad hoc faculty committee, appointed by the President, which unanimously recommended he not be discharged, and a formal dismissal hearing before the Faculty Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. This latter committee was very positively impressed with Dr. Starsky’s academic record and also recommended against dismissal. Although the President accepted this recommendation, Dr. Starsky’s contract, by order of the Regents to the President, was not renewed.

In addition Dr. Starsky is receiving very strong support from faculty and students in his struggle. The action by the President, of not rehiring Dr. Starsky, was protested by the Arizona State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the Arizona State University local of the American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO), and the Arizona Civil Liberties Union. At present Dr. Starsky has a suit, in federal court, opposing the action of the Regents.

There is a great deal to indicate that Dr. Starsky is not being allowed to teach not because of his academic ability and performance, but because he comes from the wrong end of the political spectrum; socialism is apparently not yet to be considered in the open market place of ideas in some parts of this country. He has been a vigorous opponent of the war in Indochina and an activist on campus and it would appear that career-wise this has not stood him in good stead.

The fight will be long and hard and the expenses heavy; they are already mounting into the thousands.

We urgently request your support of Dr. Starsky’s case, both for him and to defend academic freedom. Please send funds to: Committee of 1000, P.O. Box 85425, Los Angeles, California 90072.

Milton Wolpin

Psychology Department

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

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