Flatly and, at times, angrily contradicting each other's arguments, Mark DeWolfe Howe '28, Professor of Law, and L. Brent Bozell, Washington correspondent for the National Review, clashed last night over the loyalty affidavit in the National Defense Education Act. The debate took place at the Boston College Law School Forum before a packed auditorium.
Speaking first, Howe stated two arguments against the disclaimer affidavit of the NDEA. First, he said, from a technical, legal point of view, the affidavit provides criminal penalties for a false statement or a question of opinion. This is "an intrusion of criminal law into the sphere of belief," he contended, and thus "a denial" of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Secondly, Howe continued, the affidavit is a moral evil. "People engaged in education have the moral responsibility to keep their minds free," he said. Howe pointed out that, under the terms of the NDEA, the universities must contribute their own money to the fund, and are thus required to "place restrictions on the use of their own funds." The real issue, he declared, is "can the federal government dictate the terms of education as the result of an infernal inheritance from Senator Joe McCarthy?"
Bozell, speaking in rebuttal, called Howe's statements on civil rights "sophistry." He charged that the content of Howe's speech amounted to "an assertion that the academic community possesses special privileges." The only question at stake, Bozell declared, is "whether the public has the prerogative to determine how its funds will be spent." Admitting that he personally believes the affidavit "unwise," Bozell contended that it "does not violate one word of the Constitution."