Charter Day – George R. Stewart’s follow-up to the Year of the Oath

In one of the most egregious events of the time, the University actually granted an honorary degree to one of those who tried to destroy academic freedom in the University. Although Stewart was one of the most distinguished scholars at the University, and one of the best-known because of his histories and novels, he decided to boycott the Charter Day ceremonies as a protest against the granting of the degree to Sidney Ehrman. He also wrote a letter, sent to the University community, explaining his action.

Here is part of the letter.

I do not wish to walk in the same procession with the majority of those Regents,
whose beliefs and actions I abhor, and especially by walking behind them to
accept symbolically the position of inferiority….
I earned my doctorate by hard work and honest scholarship…. I do not believe
that the professors that once granted me that degree…. would wish me to wear
my academic regalia under such circumstances.

Those who think the purpose of a university is to field a football team would not understand his actions. But any good educator or scholar would.

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