A History of the UCLA Daily Bruin, 1919-1955
The Staff on Strike: Part 2
by George Garrigues
Printed edition © 1970, 1997
Internet Edition © 2000, 2001
All rights reserved, but you are welcome to download electronic copies, send e-copies to your friends or make printouts for yourself.
Go to the Front of the Book
Preface, Contents, List of Editors, Bibliography and Index
Go to the First Part of This Chapter
11A. The Staff on Strike (1951)
In the spring term, Hahn played an active role in defeating quiet and moody Jerry Schlapik, the Bruin's choice for editor. Schlapik was a friend of Clancy Sigal and Don Farber, two of the most liberal of the Bruin staff, and Brower later said Schlapik was rejected "through guilt by association." (Questionnaire.)
Hahn reminded the Student Council a week before its vote on Schlapik that "according to the Publications Board constitution, persons not willing to accept their positions regardless of other appointments should be barred from running," adding that "proof of merit should rest on the nominating rather than the approving body. Thus, no member of Council should feel obliged to approve a candidate simply because there was no proof of reason for voting 'No.'" Then he left the Council meeting so he would "not be accused of prejudicing the discussion." (DB, 12/7/50.)
Schlapik was defeated on Dec. 13, and, despite attempts at compromise by the Bruin staff (including the suggestion of the appointment of a faculty advisor), he was again turned down, by a 9-8 vote, on Jan. 10. The Council tapped Bob Strock, former editor of Southern Campus, for the job even though he was not a staff member. (SEC, 1/10/51.) More important was the fact that Strock was a conservative, not tainted with the "People's Bruin" brush. The next day, Strock was declared ineligible due to grade-point deficiencies, and the Council then cast about for a suitable substitute, rejecting two more non-staff candidates (SEC, 1/25/51), before winding up the semester without naming an editor.
In the midst of the dissension, the Council took the time to pass a motion thanking Helen Edelman for her coverage of the meetings during the preceding three semesters, an irony that did not go unnoticed by staff members.
Meanwhile, another spark of controversy had arisen: Articles by feature writer Art Janov (not a member of the Bruin staff), were attacking United States policy in Korea, NATO, the Marshall Plan, German rearmament and the defense of Taiwan, or Formosa, as it was known then. In the midst of an anti-Communist hysteria that was at its height, President Sproul had abandoned his earlier insistence on allowing the student newspapers to settle their own problems. He wrote directly to Dean Hahn, with copies pointedly sent to the three-man Administrative Committee that was governing UCLA after the death of Provost Dykstra the preceding May:
Letters keep pouring in about the column in the Daily Bruin written by Art Janov, including one received today from the Governor's Office. I do hope that some way will be found to keep this young man from using the feature page of the Bruin as a medium for the propaganda of the party line. (DB, 2/13/51.) [Arthur Janov, a graduate student, was a veteran of naval battles in the Pacific and Aleutians. As a psychologist, he later wrote "The Primal Scream" and now directs the International Primal Center in Venice, Calif.]Dean Hahn replied:
Mr. Arthur Janov's materials in the Bruin, referred to in your memorandum, have caused considerable objection to me also. During the first semester, 1950-51, the only direct action possible appeared to be censorship of the paper. This, in my opinion, would have given the left wing in the student body a weapon which could have been used against the University for some years to come. The policy followed was to let the semester run out while preparing members of Student Executive Council to block appointments to senior staff which would permit the continuance of Mr. Janov's or similar articles. In this we have been successful to date. Candidates of Mr. Janov's stripe have been rejected and we are still looking for an editor with more moderate leanings. (Chanc, 1951, File 246-DB, 2/20/51.) . [Dean Hahn did not mention that another regular Bruin columnist was the conservative Walter Stewart, whom Hahn called "the spearhead of anti-communist action." (Chanc, 1951, Folder 228, 2/21/51.)]
The "way" for which President Sproul was searching opened up fortuitously when feature editor Jack Hefley quit school to join the Army. The resignation left two openings for the Council to fill, and the Bruin staff reaffirmed its support for Schlapik as editor and then nominated Eugene Blank for feature editor. Blank, who had campaigned for Henry Wallace and argued for withdrawing American troops from Korea, was too much for the conservative forces to swallow. The Student Council set up a special committee that nominated Brower for editor instead of Schlapik and presented the names of Anne Kligman and Irv Shimer for managing editor to replace Brower. Shimer and Rex Rexrode, a non-staff transfer student from Glendale College, were nominated for feature editor in place of Blank. [Shimer later became Superior Court Judge Irving Shimer.]
The "Bruin situation has reached a point where not only should it be cleaned up but the fluid situation makes this an unusually good time," Dean Hahn wrote to the Administrative Committee the day before the Council was to vote.
In the light of correspondence which President Sproul has had with the Governor, the Regents, and other people, it seems to me that we are at a place where a choice must be made between censorship and a noncensorship situation with a more close control than is true or has been true. (Chanc, 1951, Folder 246-DB, 2/20/51.)On the other side, Acting Editor Schlapik wrote in the Bruin:
SEC meets again tonight to consider The Daily Bruin situation. Let this editorial serve as fair warning. This is not in any way a threat. This is a statement of fact.
The Daily Bruin cannot continue without an editor. No one is walking out. There is no strike. But people on the paper are just plainly disgusted with the present situation. They feel that they have no job security. They feel that there is no use to continue working on The Bruin as long as Student Executive Council has shown so little regard for the paper by delaying the editorial appointment well into the beginning of the semester.
So far there have been six applicants for the post. It would not be unreasonable to form a club of rejected candidates for editor, and if things keep going as they have been, it might well become the largest organization at UCLA. (DB, 2/21/51.)
Go to the Third Part of This Chapter
11C. The Staff on Strike
"So ends a great era in college journalism. We had such great plans, such high ideals. I personally cannot be harsh with the people who killed The Bruin -- they think they know so much, they know so little, they have so much to learn."