At this point perhaps we should define to some extent what we mean by “radicals” and “militants” in the context of their behavior on campus [and] as expressed in our interviews and investigation.

Their number one goal, both stated and apparent, is that they desire to control the useful university apparatus for a base to promote and direct their activities. There is no apparent limit; [they want to control the] university news media, selection of guest speakers, extension outlets, et cetera.

An example of the power of radicals at Iowa State University was brought to our attention by a citizen who had contacted a department head. He suggested that the coming News Editors’ Seminar might be informed by the University of an Official Pamphlet about the techniques of Communist propaganda in the news media. The citizen was told that it was not the business of the university to get involved in politics. The citizen was later shocked to read in the newspaper that an associate professor of history had lectured the editors on possible future problems with certain [conservative] local political groups.

This News Editors’ Seminar provided by the university was clearly a political program intended to undermine the rights, credibility, and opinions of citizens who oppose leftist agendas for government and radicals’ control of the soft sciences in taxpayer-funded education.

They have a general goal of destroying and tearing down traditional values. [Hateful talk leads to hateful acts, and immoral advocacy leads to immoral acts.] Radical salesmen appeal to idealistic students with words calculated to destroy their youthful faith in their heritage. The following quotations [provided by the County Attorney to the jury] are from one of many paid speakers at ISU.

“I spend about 90 percent of my time now on college campuses. This is the most morally polluted, insane nation on the face of this earth and it is your job to change it.”


“And I say to you youngsters in the process of trying to make this peacefully orderly transition of bringing up the constitution over the capitalists, if they offer you too much resistance, then destroy them.”


“Let’s always remember that flag still ain’t nothing but a rag, like all of the other flags on the face of the earth.”

This was not an isolated example but [was] typical of much of the educational approach we observed.

In the area of society and human nature, such denial, when implemented, detaches future generations from past experience. Oddly enough, that is the very reason taxpayers fund colleges and universities. Tolerating such foolishness gives a teaching license to those who promote illicit sex, the use of decimating drugs, flag burning, and other immoral behavior [that questions] historically known good.

Such a position on fundamental tenets raises a very interesting question. If the desirability of sexual virtue and the undesirability of co-habitation in single student dorms is, as they say, a matter of opinion—if in fact sexual virtue and many other tenets such as basic honesty are not established knowledge suitable for classroom doctrine—what is the good of having humanities [soft science behavioral studies] courses at all? When a radical teacher lectures, what is he accomplishing with taxpayers’ money?

Radicals use tactics that blatantly ignore the basic teaching standard of honesty. It is not unusual to hear them proclaim the virtues of equality and love, and extol violence, hatred and the use of harmful drugs in the same speech. In their effort to present a one-sided picture, they suppress opposing views. One jury interviewee [a professor] stated his concern—if students hear a lie often enough, some will believe it!

Radicals’ tactics are aggressive, domineering and, when needed, ruthless in character. In such cases, students and other teachers with average courtesy are no match. The most aggressive [teachers] prevail over those who feel obligated to spend their time teaching and learning rather than contending with and being buffeted by verbal terrorism. One of the radicals’ tactics is rule by policy committee domination. They pressure administrators to relinquish their duty in a specific area and turn it over to a committee. These practices by employees all fall below what the taxpaying public, in our opinion, expect and have a right to expect of the teachers they hire.

The above was taken from portions of the Presentment of the Grand Jury for the Eleventh Judicial District of Iowa (1968–1969), with words added for clarification in brackets. Supplemental ideas are italicized.

Following the publication of the Grand Jury Presentment, the Iowa State University Press published a book for the Iowa Civil Liberties Union entitled Freedom in Iowa. Among many false statements in the book was the claim that the Grand Jury “never defined” the word “radicals.” The Grand Jury’s description of “radicals,” from 50 years ago, is recorded in this note (1969).

~ D. Norris

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