The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 09:29:20 -0500
From: mIEKAL aND <dtv@MWT.NET>
Reply-To: UB Poetics discussion group <POETICS@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Teacher fired for refusing to sign loyalty oath

Teacher fired for refusing to sign loyalty oath,0,6280956.story

LET GO: �I wanted it on record that I am a pacifist,� Wendy Gonaver said. She 
wants an apology and a teaching job for next year.
Cal State system ousts another instructor who objects on religious grounds to a 
pledge adopted by California in 1952 to root out communists.

When Wendy Gonaver was offered a job teaching American studies at Cal State 
Fullerton this academic year, she was pleased to be headed back to the 
classroom to talk about one of her favorite themes: protecting constitutional 

But the day before class was scheduled to begin, her appointment as a lecturer 
abruptly ended over just the kind of issue that might have figured in her 
course. She lost the job because she did not sign a loyalty oath swearing to 
"defend" the U.S. and California constitutions "against all enemies, foreign 
and domestic."

The loyalty oath was added to the state Constitution by voters in 1952 to root 
out communists in public jobs. Now, 16 years after the collapse of the Soviet 
Union, its main effect is to weed out religious believers, particularly Quakers 
and Jehovah's Witnesses.

As a Quaker from Pennsylvania and a lifelong pacifist, Gonaver objected to the 
California oath as an infringement of her rights of free speech and religious 
freedom. She offered to sign the pledge if she could attach a brief statement 
expressing her views, a practice allowed by other state institutions. But Cal 
State Fullerton rejected her statement and insisted that she sign the oath if 
she wanted the job.

"I wanted it on record that I am a pacifist," said Gonaver, 38. "I was really 
upset. I didn't expect to be fired. I was so shocked that I had to do this."

(more online

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