The Mitchell Case

Dr. Clyde Mitchell was a chairman of the Department of Agricultural Economics. He authored a piece in a farm magazine praising national farm policies of the past 20 years, arguing for high-fixed support prices and contending that the “freedom” acquired from Government fixed prices outweighs “supposed freedoms” they might have to forfeit to a government controlled farm economy. His speeches and writings bear a strong resemblance to the political line of Jim Patton and the National Farmers Union, which has a few backers in Nebraska. His right to express his opinion as an individual was unquestioned. However, if he was making his tax-supported department the stage for broadcasting any particular brand of political propaganda, his actions were to be scrutinized by the board of Regents. The newspaper stated that the young Nebraskans go to the university to be educated, not indoctrinated. Through many investigations, it came to the conclusion that the principal issue was academic freedom. Dr. Mitchell had his academic freedom at all times, and he used it. Therefore he still retained his position as a professor with tenure and no decrease in salary until he voluntarily resigned. As for the indoctrination of students issue, Dean Lambert assured that there were no such issues. The students like Dr. Mitchell lectures. He made them work hard and presented the “pros” and “cons” of the issue, challenging their imagination and making them think for themselves. He was a good teacher and administrator.