People For the American Way Foundation delivered more than 11,000 petitions to California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed. The petitions call for the university system to adopt a policy that accommodates employees who have religious or other objections to the state’s “loyalty oath” by allowing them to sign the oath and attach an explanatory statement, the very same policy of the University of California.
“It is simply beyond irony that a teacher planning an American studies course with a section on the McCarthy era would be required to sign a ‘loyalty oath.’ Our members are engaged around this issue, and we’re committed to seeing it through to the end,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Kathryn Kolbert. “This should be a straightforward matter for the University, the protection of religious freedom and free speech. We’re hopeful this issue will be resolved soon.”
The petition reads:
“There’s no good reason for Cal State not to let employees express their religious or other objections to signing the state’s “loyalty oath.”
“Please uphold freedom of religion and freedom of speech by adopting a policy that allows employees to add an explanatory statement to the oath that will allow them to sign it without violating their beliefs.
This is already common practice at the University of California. You should make it the practice of Cal State.”
People For became involved in the issue after Wendy Gonaver, who had been hired by Cal State Fullerton to teach classes in American Studies and Women’s Studies, was fired because, as a Quaker, she was unable in good conscience to sign the “loyalty oath” without attaching a statement explaining her commitment to defending the Constitution through purely non-violent means and her concerns about the compelled nature of the oath. PFAWF attorneys are representing Gonaver with respect to her legal claims against the university over her unlawful firing.
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View pictures of the 11,000 petitions delivered here.