Two identical petitions supporting the loyalty oath provision of the National Defense Education Act, and criticizing President Pusey's opposition to the oath, were sent yesterday to U.S. Senators John F. Kennedy '40 (D.-Mass.) and Leverett Saltonstall '14 (R.-Mass).
Sixty-eight University students signed duplicate copies of the letter--one for each Senator. Sponsored informally by the Harvard Conservative League, the petition was circulated at the beginning of the week.
The letters charged that Pusey had overlooked arguments for the loyalty oath, "in his understandable zeal to defend academic freedom." Citing a distinction between "conspirators" and intellectual "heretics," the petition claimed that the former attempt to "cut short free exchange of opinion."
Continuing this thread of argument, the petition said "We see no reason why a government which can be peacefully altered by vote of its citizens should sub-sidize those who seek its violent overthrow."
Support Rights of "Heretics"
The letter also denied that the loyalty oath abridged the freedom of "heretics" "to voice radical opinions." "Academic freedom," it said, "implies recognition of everyone's right to teach, advocate, and peacefully support his own ideas. Conspiracies to impose an ideology or form of government upon the people by force of arms, violate the academic and personal liberties of every member of society."