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Newsjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:12 AM
Original message
Quaker teacher fired for changing (California state) loyalty oath
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

California State University East Bay has fired a math teacher after six weeks on the job because she inserted the word "nonviolently" in her state-required Oath of Allegiance form.

Marianne Kearney-Brown, a Quaker and graduate student who began teaching remedial math to undergrads Jan. 7, lost her $700-a-month part-time job after refusing to sign an 87-word Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution that the state requires of elected officials and public employees.

... A veteran public school math teacher who specializes in helping struggling students, Kearney-Brown, 50, had signed the oath before - but had modified it each time.

... Each time, when asked to "swear (or affirm)" that she would "support and defend" the U.S. and state Constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic," Kearney-Brown inserted revisions: She wrote "nonviolently" in front of the word "support," crossed out "swear," and circled "affirm." All were to conform with her Quaker beliefs, she said.

The school districts always accepted her modifications, Kearney-Brown said.

But Cal State East Bay wouldn't, and she was fired on Thursday.

... Kearney-Brown said she could not sign an oath that, to her, suggested she was agreeing to take up arms in defense of the country.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/29/BAQPVAUVO.DTL
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
1. Some religions are more equal than others, I guess. n/t
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leftofcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. I had to sign one when I started teaching
That was back in about 1974. You have to in all states but it is ultimately the school district that decides whether or not the oath can be changed. As though teachers are ever privy to state secrets!

Left of Cool
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. Not all states at the college or university level...
Edited on Fri Feb-29-08 10:43 AM by HereSince1628
I've never been presented with a requirement to sign such a document, not in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota or Wisconsin. I don't think I was required to do so for graduate teaching positions at Texas A&M, either.

But in Texas I was told that I was to get my 2-per yankee ass out of the state once I quit paying tuition

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
34. I've never had to sign one
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grilled onions Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
3. Why Do Teachers have To Sign Such A Thing
They are not military. As long as a teacher is qualified for his or her job isn't that enough??????
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leftofcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. One would think so
teachers are state employees, that's why they pay us the big bucks. All state employees have to sign a loyalty oath to the state. Who knows why. It is probably a rule that goes back a hundred years.

Left of Cool
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pop goes the weasel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #4
22. McCarthy
It's a rule that goes back to the McCarthy era.
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Debau2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
30. I was a state employee
in Alabama, and never had to sign an oath.
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #30
42. Does Alabama HAVE a constitution?
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. You'd think if someone actually intended harm to the country ...
... they might lie when they take their loyalty oath.

This stuff only hurts people with the integrity to be honest, like the teacher in this case.
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comtec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
5. I never thought I could be ashamed of my beloved bay area
until now!
Those are not unreasonable changes, to adjust to her Quaker beliefs. There have been allowances made for pacifists back to BEFORE the revolutionary war! This is unbelievable bullshit!
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. The East Bay has plenty of Repuke strongholds.
Check out Walnut Creek sometime.

I'm betting the rest of our beloved "Far-Left Loons" will go to work and make us proud. This won't stand for long.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Hey, it made the paper.
Prolly not in most areas of our republic.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #13
23. You need to catch Brian Copeland's one man show about
growing up in San Leandro. His family moved there the year it won an award for being the most racist suburb in the country.

I think he's playing in Walnut Creek. Great show, good writing and Brian is exellent.
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #5
24. Quakers were hung in Boston before the Revolutionary War.
For their beliefs of course. Quackers rule...(But not Nixon)! The state was very wrong to fire her.
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IowaGirl Donating Member (539 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #24
39. Why were they hung?
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Tanuki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. More about the hanging of Quakers in Boston here:
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #39
49. Their religion.
I think I read that in the book "The Mayflower". They weren't Puritans.
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #24
43. The Quakers, I believe
excommunicated Nixon.

Something the Roman Catholic Church never did to Hitler, or to any NAZI Party official - except for one guy who was excommed for marrying a Protestant.
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #43
50. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks.
About them dumping Nixon that is.
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Agony Donating Member (865 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #43
51. Nixon remained a Quaker for his whole life.
While many (several hundred I believe) mostly eastern Friends Meetings called for his East Whittier Meeting to disown him, neither they or the California Yearly Meeting did so. Quakers are by no mean monolithic and the Whittier Meetiing was (is?) rather fundamentalist. Being a little thee, thou, tho myself it is no surprise to me that they would let RMN decide what pacifism meant for himself.

Whatever... it's just religion.
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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #43
52. I guess hitler never attended sunday mass
:sarcasm:
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paparush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
6. Loyalty Oath? For a Teacher? To "defend the constitution"? WTF?
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leftofcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. No it is a state loyalty oath
How it effects the Constitition, I have no idea, unless they are referring to their own state constitution.

Left of Cool
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
7. Doesn't she get "points" for signing an Oath?
I thought Quakers and Jehovah Witnesses were unlikely to sign oaths as a tenet of their faith.
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leftofcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. I think you are right.
Points? If my state had been willing to pay me more money, I would have signed a hundred loyalty oaths to them.

Left of Cool
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Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #7
19. That's why she changed "swear" to "affirm"
Quakers are permitted to "affirm" statements, which more or less is a certification of their belief that it is true. Not quite the same as "swearing", but close enough for government work.
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #19
28. Anyone, not just Quakers is allowed to affirm.
Swear has a religious connotation - you "swear" on a Bible, for instance.

The larger problem with this is the way it is phrased - "to the government of the United States . . ."

You should NEVER have to swear to uphold a particular government.

In Nevada, I had to sign their oath in order to teach college:

"I, ................, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the constitution and government of the United States, and the constitution and government of the State of Nevada, against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any state notwithstanding, and that I will well and faithfully perform all the duties of the office of ..............., on which I am about to enter."

It is totally wrong on two levels - one, because it demands I protect and defend the government of the US, and two, because it demands that I defend and protect the STATE constitution and government against all enemies domestic and foreign.

So, if Nevada decided to secede from the Union, I would (presumably) be honour bound to take up arms against the United States.

Complete dreck - but in order to teach, I had to sign it. I did, but like many others I wrote "signed under duress" beneath my signature.
I imagine they couldn't be bothered to look up duress, so we were given our contracts.
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Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-01-08 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #28
54. Quakers are permitted *by their faith* to affirm
I'm talking about the expectations the religion places on the adherent, not the legal permissions.

Although Quakers are a motley bunch (I'm one), most would not consider it appropriate to "swear" in court.
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #19
47. Actually, CHRISTERS are FORBIDDEN to take any OATH
James 5:12

But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

This is, of course (in the consistent manner of Dog's Revealed and Wholly True Word), contradicted by other biblical passages which favor oathing.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
37. That's why she crossed out 'swear' and circled 'affirm'.
Quakers can make affirmations, but not swear oaths.
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sepulveda Donating Member (271 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
11. that's ridiculous
fwiw, i think pacifism is absurd, and i WENT to quaker school and have many quaker friends (no pun intended)...

however, this is a matter of conscience and religious freedom. her modification of the oath, imo, was only making it consistent withher religion.

similar to how people in court do not have to swear on a bible. they can affirm w/o the bible or swear on their holy book

i would not be surprised to see this decision overturned, especially because it was a state school
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TooBigaTent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. As I was forced to swear on a bible when I appeared in court, I felt under no obligation
to tell the truth.

Same thing goes for these bullshit kinds of loyalty oaths.

Forced loyalty is not binding.
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sepulveda Donating Member (271 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. are u sure
you were required to swear on the bible. i am not aware of any US court that does not allow you to optionally "affirm" (w/o any religious book whatsover) or swear on the book of your choice.

my understanding is this is consistent across us court jurisdictions, but...i could be wrong
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TooBigaTent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. I was not given a choice. A bible was shoved in my face etc... nt
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sepulveda Donating Member (271 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. fair enough
i would suspect you did have a choice, but they don't tell you that outright. it's an opt-in type system in every court jurisdiciton i have ever testified in (at least 4).

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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #18
25. It's a good idea to make this decision beforehand
If you don't want to swear on a Bible, decide beforehand how to deal with it. It's easy enough to just keep your left hand at your side as you raise your right, but if you're not primed to do that, you might put your left hand on the Bible when it's proffered (or shoved), just as a reflex. At the conclusion of the oath, instead of automatically saying "I do," prepare yourself to say "I so affirm" or whatever other locution your conscience demands.

As for McCarthy-era loyalty oaths, I would think the State of California would be grateful to know to skip this particular teacher when they're handing out the shootin' arns to defend the California state constitution against its enemies, foreign or domestic. That leaves an extra gun available for someone who's going to blaze away without asking so many niggling little questions.
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
15. California needs only swearing, violent teachers. n/t
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Veronica.Franco Donating Member (752 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
21. Should be quite a settlement in her favor ...
Hope she keeps teaching even though she probably won't need the part time job anymore ... :toast:
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #21
45. I doubt that it will be found illegal
This is AMERICA, land of the fearing.
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leftofcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
26. Loyalty Oaths is a nutshell
Here is an example:

I further swear (or affirm) that I do not advise, advocate or teach, and have not within the period beginning five (5) years prior to the effective date of the ordinance requiring the making of this oath or affirmation, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America or of the State of California and that I am not now and have not, within said period, been or become a member of or affiliated with any group, society, association, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has, within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means of the Government of the United States of America, or of the State of California. I further swear (or affirm) that I will not, while I am in the service of the City of Los Angeles, advise, advocate or teach, or be or become a member of or affiliated with any group, association, society, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America or of the State of California


According to one person's opinion (not mine) part of this stems from the Civil War for obvious reasons.

Another opinion suggests that this stems from the "Red Scare" of the 50's

I would suggest that both are valid opinions on why there are state loyalty oaths that must be signed by teachers. I suspect they are quite outdated and useless but at least we have some plausible reasons for their existence.

Left of Cool
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
27. oddly enough, I'm CSU faculty and I don't recall ever signing a loyalty oath....
I'm sensitive to the issue, too, because I resisted signing one at the University of Georgia for months, then signed to avoid being fired, but modified my oath extensively (including the statement: "Signed under duress" above and below my signature). At any rate, I was on the lookout for a loyalty oath and don't recall ever seeing one. Of course, that was nearly a dozen years ago, so I might simply not recall.
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petronius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. I didn't sign one either, as far as I can recall
Maybe different CSU campuses have different policies... :shrug:
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One_Life_To_Give Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
29. Quakers have made great combat medics IIRC
Some of the bravest soles to ever wear the uniform have been Quakers. And they did it all non-violently.
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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
32. Not everybody will show their love for their country violently
just thinking if she is going to be call anti american.
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #32
44. Then they should LEAVE IT
:sarcasm: - (noted as such for those DUer's who are not on enough Stelazine, and so who can only take things as the Literal Truth)
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pingzing58 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
33. Archaic system, with archaic ideas. One step forward, ten steps back.
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #33
48. This is progressive. In several states atheists cannot
... hold elected public office, serve on a jury, vote ...

True, not even in my great Lone Star State, are such laws enforced. But they are there. Waiting.

Actually, in a sense, they are enforced throughout the country: No one who is not willing to claim at least a belief in (if not actual knowledge of the Mind of) Dog certainly cannot expect to become president - or anyother high elected official.

God Bless
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
35. Next, all teachers will be required to wear U.S. flag lapel pins (made in China)!
The hypocrisy of these requirements is UNFRIGGINGBELIEVABLE. Bushite fascists drain the U.S. treasury (and our school systems, emergency systems, and other vital programs) of TEN TRILLION DOLLARS we don't have for a corporate oil war in the Middle East, and tax cuts for the super-rich, and commit numerous overt acts of treason and other crimes, including outsourcing millions of jobs and our manufacturing capability to cheap labor markets abroad, and they strut around like "patriots" forcing other people to worship the flag--these humongously criminal perps who should long ago have been put in prison--while hard-working, low-paid school teachers and others do the real work of holding this battered country together. And THEY get fired for wanting to do it "non-violently."

This is so sick. Really. Get with it, Cal-State! Change your policy! Re-instate this teacher! Join America Revolution II--a revolution to turn the U.S. flag back rightside up, from its upside down orientation today--"distress at sea"!--under the Bush Junta.
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leftofcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. "Next, all teachers will be required to wear U.S. flag lapel pins (made in China)!"
You just gave me another reason to feel good about retirement. Noted and appreciated.

Left of Cool
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
38. Yep, I signed that to teach in public school.
Crossed out the "swear" too, but I think it's a given the only defending I'm going to do will be non-violent. If this wasn't the case I'd be out throwing rocks at that Violator of the Constitution George W. Bush.
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
41. kim.huggett@csueastbay.edu

That is the email address of their public relations officer.

Cannot find an address for anyone higher up in the organization.

The president is a male 'crat named Mo Qayoumi

He says "IMAGINE CSUEB as a crown jewel of the CSU, the pride of the East Bay, and a destination university recognized for the academically rich, multicultural learning experience it offers - enabling students of all backgrounds to discover, develop, and realize their full personal and professional potential." ... as long as they are not willing to renounce violence to attain these ends.

http://www.csueastbay.edu/about/president/index.html

Now, I might have the wrong campus - but I am sure they will be happy to forward any misdirected emails!
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
46. Loyalty oath? What about the anti-communist declaration?
When I was hired into my current adjunct position (in 2002) I had to check a box certifying that I was not and had never been a member of the Communist Party. I'm not a communist, but that always rubbed me wrong.

As it was explained to me, these restrictions are Cold War holdovers and can only be changed or thown out if the laws requiring them are modified by the state legislature.
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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-29-08 11:36 PM
Response to Original message
53. I guess I signed that oath.
I didn't mean it though.
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