1948 : Michigan Legislature Worried About Communists at MSC

April 9, 2018 all-day

On April 9, 1948, Michigan State College President John Hannah announced that no groups or individuals on the campus are admitting that they are Communists. Hannah and S. E. Crowe, dean of students, were subpoenaed by state Sen. Matt Callahan (R-Detroit) to appear before his Michigan Senate Un-American Activities Committee, which conducted its meetings behind locked doors, and only allowed a few reporters to attend.  (The Michigan Attorney General was barred.)

Hannah stated communists could not be barred from enrolling because MSC does not ask political affiliations on applications for enrollment.  Since the state of Michigan recognizes communist candidates on its election ballots, MSC is not going to ban any such group, but since a group would have to get faculty sponsorship, it was unlikely any such group would ever form.

Crowe said the Spartan Citizens League, formed a year ago when the American Youth for Democracy was banned on campus, contained some “liberal thinkers.”  As far as college authorities are able to determine, he, said, the meetings are mostly concerned with “long hair” art, music and literature.


MIRS News Service.

“Official Says MSC Has No Known Reds”, Detroit Free Press, April 10, 1948, p.4.

Owen C. Deatrick, “No Danger of Red Groups Starting at MSU, Hannah Says”, Detroit Free Press, April 13, 1948, p. 14.

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