[The following report was approved by the University Senate on October 5, 1970.]
|TO:||The University Senate|
|FROM:||The Ad Hoc Committee Charged with Preparing a Statement on the Visit of President Nixon to the Billy Graham Crusade
In its June 29, 1970 meeting the Senate passed a resolution calling for:2. Method of operation of this Committee"The appointment of an ad hoc committee charged with preparing a resolution dealing with the events in the stadium, and the participation of faculty members and students in it and the consequences to them, which will be acceptable and car, he submitted to this body for adoption or rejection; which we hope will be so stated as to be acceptable to a very, very overwhelming majority vote."
a. The Committee has chosen to deal with the events in the stadium and subsequently on as general a basis as possible, taking the events as examples, where possible, of similar actions that might occur at some future time, to state whether the events should be guides to future actions or not, and to reaffirm some general principles in the light of these events.3. Events reported to have occurred
b. The Committee has called no witnesses and has made no detailed investigation of written reports. A number of cases are pending in the courts, making investigations difficult and probably inappropriate. The Committee has considered the knowledge of its own members and newspaper accounts, both of the events and of statements made by individuals, It is recognized that newspaper accounts may be inaccurate, but they are important in that they represent the main information available to the public at the time.
a. The Billy Graham Crusade was welcomed to the campus by the University administration.4. Basic assumptions of this committee
b. The Crusade paid a fee for the use of the stadium.
c. The Crusade was very well-attended, not only by Knoxvillians but by many visitors. Special traffic arrangements were necessary and at times access to parts of the campus was limited. It was later reported that Knoxville Crusade was one of the most successful ever, with greater attendance than similar Graham Crusades held in the largest cities the world over.
d. The Crusade appeared on campus just prior to final examinations, bringing crowds of 50-60,000 people nightly for a week to a stadium that also serves as a dormitory for students.
e. Although the Crusade was sometimes referred to as a visit to a university campus by Billy Graham, attempts by the faculty (e.g., in the Department of Religious Studies), to have Mr. Graham meet with groups of students for academic dialogue were unsuccessful.
f. President Nixon was invited to the Crusade by Billy Graham and to the campus by the University administration.
g. President Nixon was welcomed to Knoxville and to the stadium by enthusiastic crowds. The stadium that night was packed to overflowing and thousands were turned away.
h. President Nixon was joined on the speaker's platform not only by dignitaries of the University, the city of Knoxville, and the Crusade, but also by Tennessee members of his political party, some of whom were running for office during the year.
i. Both before President Nixon's visit and later, public opinion was divided on whether his visit was simply a part of a religious service or whether it should be treated as a public address by the President.
j. The President's visit was widely recognized as having the special import of being his first visit made to a university campus since the Kent State tragedy; it was a time of nationwide unrest on campuses. Much of this unrest was apparently focused on the national administration's Vietnam policies.
k. A group of students organized a protest demonstration. Many small signs reading Thou Shalt Not Kill were distributed. The group, numbering 500-600 and accompanied by perhaps a dozen faculty members, arrived at the stadium early. Many were searched as they entered the stadium and many signs confiscated. Seated mainly in one section of the stadium, the group of demonstrators was confronted during the evening by police.
l. When the President rose to speak the demonstrators chanted and shouted vulgarly. The majority of the audience was outraged by this behavior. Police moved to photograph and identify demonstrators. (The President later was quoted saying the demonstration was rude but not disruptive.)
m. President Holt publicly pledged the full cooperation of the Campus police to identify and help prosecute those involved in the demonstration.
n. Newspapers and TV were quick to call for punishment of the demonstrators.
o. Arrests followed the demonstration by a day or more, being based in part on identification by photographs taken by the police and University photographers.
p. Judge Jesse Butler, before whom most of the defendants appeared, set unexpectedly high bails, considering the type of charge and the maximum penalty under the charge.
q. After this Committee was charged, Chancellor Weaver, in the context of discussing the disruptive events during the past school year, implied that some students involved in these events would not be readmitted to the University and that some court cases might result; and he reminded his audience that professors can be dismissed through the tenure processes.
a. A university campus is not a sanctuary for lawbreakers.5. Conclusions of this Committee
b. A university campus is a sanctuary for those who would critically examine and test the ideals and the faults of society. It is a place where any extremist, even one blindly and unqualifiedly devoted to the First Amendment or to something as hopelessly ideal as Thou Shalt Not Kill, must have the opportunity to espouse his cause so long as he does not interfere unduly with the rights of others.
c. A university campus must offer opportunity for free speech, even when pressures in other parts of society inhibit free speech.
d. A speaker and his audience should not be subjected to unwelcome interruption.
e. The conflicting rights of speaker and dissenter in the context of public demonstrations is well treated in an excerpt (three pages attached) from a speech made by Attorney General Mitchell to the Texas Bar Association a few weeks after the Graham-Nixon event here. The Fourth paragraph from the end is particularly relevant to our situation.
f. There is obviously a difference between what would be considered an interruption at a religious service and at a political speech. The key to the inflamed passions on both sides of the Graham-Nixon issue is due in part to the ambiguity of the affair. What o most present should have been a spiritual, noncontroversial evening, was looked upon by others as a political meeting that presented an opportunity to confront the national administration on one or more timely political issues.
g. The appearance of the Crusade on the campus was ambiguous to a certain extent. Was it a University function or not? The Crusade paid for the use of the stadium. The program was not integrated with any of the academic functions of the University. The religious program was dogmatic and evangelical. The audience was by a large majority not from the University community. Yet, University officials invited the Crusade to the campus.
a. It is regretted that the University did not call on its slate of faculty and staff observers, as it had in previous situations during the year when trouble was expected. Admittedly, this would have been difficult because of the timing and because of the large number of outside persons involved, but objective reports by pre-selected observers would be very useful now. And the presence of observers from the University community might have had the effect of dampening the demonstration.
b. It is regretted that such a huge affair was scheduled just prior to final examinations without prior discussions with student and faculty groups. Even though such discussions might not have influenced the time at which Billy Graham could have fitted Knoxville into his schedule, they should have been held to promote communication between and to show concern for the campus groups and scheduled classes and examinations affected by the crowds.
c. It is regretted that the small signs reading Thou Shalt Not Kill were confiscated. it is possible that the protest would have been more quiet and orderly, if the demonstrating group had been allowed to protest by holding up these signs.
d. It is regretted that some demonstrators, particularly outside the stadium, brought vulgar or obscene signs. This was a crude affront to the many devoted and conscientious persons coming to the stadium for religious purposes.
e. It is regretted that some demonstrators and probably others in the stadium shouted vulgarities. This undoubtedly did violence to their neighbors who had come to the stadium for religious purposes. The committee deplores the crude disruption of a service which to most persons present was part of a continued religious crusade.
f. The police officers on duty in the stadium are to be commended for their handling of the situation within the stadium. There was strength enough so that undue force was unnecessary and the use of photographs instead of physical arrest on the spot probably did much to prevent the use of force, either by the police, the demonstrators, or by members of 'the audience opposed to the demonstrators.
g. It is regretted that the University administration joined in or led in making quick public statements calling for punishment of those involved in the demonstration. Most of the immediate public statements, by whomever made, assumed that President Nixon's address was part of a religious service and glossed over the division in opinion as to whether the address was political or a part of a religious service.
h. It is regretted that high bails were uniformly set for all who appeared before Judge Butler. Bail costs are not recoverable, even by those later found innocent. High bails and forced legal costs can be used to harass persons guilty of nothing more than unpopular, not illegal, behavior.
i. It is regretted that the University administration has hinted that actions may be taken to deny readmission to students or reappointment to professors involved in disorders and that these actions may be challenged in the courts or in tenure procedures. It is the special burden of a university, as a place where unpopular actions must he tolerated to the full extent of the law, to assure scrupulous due process to anyone accused of a misdeed. Because it should honor the rights of free speech and free assembly in as ideal a way as possible, a university should handle such disciplinary cases in a manner so as to assure its legal staff that a challenge through court action would be unexpected.
j. The Committee appreciates the terrible burden a university administration has in trying to uphold academic traditions when challenged by groups that do not themselves apparently honor any traditions and that use academic freedoms to attack and disrupt orderly campus functions, The Committee realizes that an academic community cannot tolerate violent, disruptive behavior. If indeed this time of trial is the prelude to a revolutionary attack upon our heritage of freedoms, the academic community must fight with all honorable means to preserve itself both from destruction by nihilists and from repression by those who would take advantage of this moment to cripple the university as a forum for all ideas, including forceful political dissent. And to this fight, faculty, students, and administration should expect to devote their wholehearted support and leadership.
"We also reaffirm the repeated decisions of this Court that there is no place for violence in a democratic society dedicated to liberty under law . . . There is a proper time and place for even the most peaceful pro-Lest and a plain duty and responsibility on the part of all citizens to obey all valid laws and regulations. "Thus, the Supreme Court has ruled that demonstrators do not have a constitutional right to cordon off a street or to use a loud amplification system or to block the entrance of a building, or to insist that passersby listen to speeches, or even to peacefully demonstrate on public property, such as a county jail, which is set aside for specific governmental purposes.
"The United States Constitution does not forbid a State to control the use of its own property for its own nondiscriminatory purpose."
VI. THE APPLICATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENTHere, we come to the most difficult question: How do we, as lawyers and public officials, insure a maximum range for free speech while, at the same time, attempting to insure a minimum opportunity for violation of the rights of those who are not involved in a demonstration?