Rutgers University School of Law. Committe of Review. Transcripts of the Hearings Regarding The Suspension of Abraham Glasser
- May-June, 1953
Scope And Contents Note
The records of the hearings regarding the suspension of Abraham Glasser, Professor of Law, before the Faculty Committee of Review of the School of Law, consist of 8 transcripts dating May-June, 1953, which form a series within the School of Law records. The transcripts are arranged chronologically in one half manuscript box. The records were acquired through transferral by Peter Simmons, Dean of the Law School, in May, 1991. The Faculty Committee was referred to the case by University President Lewis Webster Jones, with Law Professor Arthur R. Lewis named chairman. In the course of the hearings, the Committee followed a strict reading of President Jones' questions of 1) Whether Glasser had violated the fixed policy of the Board of Trustees concerning invoking the fifth amendment when questioned about Communist Party affiliation or membership, and if so, 2) Whether there were any unusual circumstances which mitigated this violation, and they considered the question of Glasser's fitness as a teacher and lawyer to be out of their scope.
The transcripts record the Committee's investigation of Glasser's position as an attorney at the Department of Justice, from which he was suspended in 1941 on charges of Communism and espionage, the Department's subsequent investigation of Glasser, and Glasser's motivations for his refusal to testify to certain questions before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Though at the conclusion of its investigations the Justice Department found Glasser innocent of the specific charges, it determined that he had acted negligently in his handling of Department files and required his resignation.
Glasser stated that although the Department of Justice had cleared his name, the original charges followed him over the next twelve years through a series of positions, continuing after he had resigned from government service. Glasser regarded the facts that the charges to which he had invoked the fifth amendment in March, 1953 before the House Committee were those of which the Department of Justice had already exonerated him, and that he had been continually harassed on these charges, as unusual circumstances in which case the fixed policy of the Board of Trustees should not be applied. Glasser further stated that in preparing for his testimony before the House Subcommittee, he had planned not to answer any question which he had answered previously under oath before government bodies. He said he considered the Velde Committee to be an inciter of hysteria and destructive to the country. He acknowledged to the Faculty Committee that his testimony before Congress did not reflect well on the University.
Material related to these transcripts is included in the records of the Rutgers University School of Law, Dean's Office, General Office Files Subgroup, Series Group VIII (RG N7/A1/11). These records include correspondence between Law School Dean Lehan K. Tunks and Clark Byse, then Chairman of the Association of American Law School' s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. This correspondence indicates 14 exhibits introduced into the hearing, which are noted in the transcripts, and Glasser's brief stating his case.
0.2 Cubic Feet (1/2 manuscript box)
Language of Materials
The records of the hearings regarding the suspension of Abraham Glasser, Professor of Law, before the Faculty Committee of Review of the School of Law, consist of eight transcripts dating May-June, 1953. The transcripts are arranged chronologically in one half manuscript box. The Faculty Committee was referred to the case by University President Lewis Webster Jones, with Law Professor Arthur R. Lewis named chairman. In the course of the hearings, the Committee followed a strict reading of President Jones' two questions: did Glasser violate the fixed policy of the Board of Trustees concerning invoking the fifth amendment when questioned about Communist Party affiliation or membership, and if so, whether there were any unusual circumstances which mitigated this violation.
Historical Background on the Abraham Glasser Case
On March 19, 1953, Abraham Glasser, Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School, Newark, was suspended by Rutgers University President Lewis Webster Jones, following his refusal to answer questions before the House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities (also known as the Velde Committee) concerning possible Communist Party affiliations . It was Jones' opinion, which he pronounced in his statement of March 19, that Glasser's conduct "raises grave doubt" concerning his "fitness for his position".
On April 29, 1953, Jones referred the case to the Faculty Committee of Review of the Law School of Rutgers "for hearing, consideration, and recommendation to the Board of Trustees".
Jones charged Glasser with violating both University statute 3.92, which required proper conduct as a citizen, a professor, and a representative of the University, and the policy of the Board of Trustees' resolution of Dec. 12, 1952; The resolution required of automatic dismissal of faculty and staff for invoking the fifth amendment in refusal to answer questions relating to Communist Party affiliation. Jones asked the Faculty Committee to act as an advisory body in recommending to the Trustees whether 1) Glasser had violated the policy of the Trustees' resolution of Dec. 12, 1952, and 2) If so, whether there are any unusual circumstances in the case because of which the fixed policy should not apply.
The members of the Committee followed a strict interpretation of the questions and did not consider it their responsibility to judge Glasser's fitness as a teacher or a lawyer. They also rejected making a value judgement on the Trustees' fixed policy, as Glasser would have them do, as they regarded it as a law of the University. The Committee found it to be a prima facie case, as the Trustees' resolution established so strong a policy that they could not find that any unusual circumstances could outweigh Glasser's violation of it. The Committee recommended that Glasser should be allowed to resign without prejudice.
- Inventory to Rutgers University School of Law. Committee of Review. Transcripts of the Hearings Regarding The Suspension of Abraham Glasser, May - June 1953 RG N7/G2/03
- Edited Full Draft
- Arda Arguilan
- December 1994
- Language of description note
- Finding aid is written in English.
- 11/11/98: File Created.
- June 3, 2004: glasser converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository
Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
169 College Avenue
New Brunswick NJ 08901-1163