Meet Ralph Shupe, for most of his career a West Virginia radio newscaster, but for a brief time in 1954 the editor of a local weekly called The Yellow Springs American. The American was a reaction to liberalism in general and Antioch College in particular that began in 1953 under the auspices of a civic improvement organization to counter the progressive reputation of the Antioch College community. For most of its brief existence it reported the facts of daily life, avoiding controversy in a way common to small town newspapers. But having heard that an Antioch faculty member with ties to Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party was a Boy Scout Troop leader, he saw the need for an exposé. The College had charges of communism levied against it since the early 1940s, but during the McCarthy era, the accusations gained a particular momentum, and Shupe’s is just one of the voices calling loudly for a Congressional investigation of its alleged activities.
This is the lead story to the last issue of the American, published April 15, 1954. Its advertisers fled in the wake of this article and the paper folded as a result.
ANTIOCH COLLEGE --- THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY
BY RALPH SHUPE
Labor leaders are required by a Federal statue to execute non-Communist affidavits in order to qualify for certain rights.
A trained espionage agent operating at Antioch College could, with a minimum of collaboration, accomplish more for our Communist enemy in one year than the average Communist unions official could hope to accomplish in his whole lifetime. And that is a fact.
The future security of the United States requires that a thorough and detailed investigation be made of Antioch College.
Since a congressional committee is the only agency which can possibly do the job as it should be done, the safety and security of the United States demands that a long overdue congressional investigation be held at Antioch College.
Defenseless women cold die in the bombed ruins of their homes because there exists the possibility of the betrayal of the United States through the delivery to the enemy of secrets and important data by persons associated with Antioch College.
These are serious charges.
They are made with full knowledge of their gravity.
In addition to its importance, the problem of Antioch College is most unique. It has many phases, many facets, many angles.
Unquestionably, a majority of Antioch graduates throughout the one hundred years of its existence have been loyal citizens. Because of the exceptionally unusual and high quality of the Antioch educational system, an unusual number of its graduates have also become outstanding in their respective fields.
But not all of its graduates have been loyal citizens during more recent years.
It is sadly ironical that within the very greatness and strength of Antioch College lay the seeds of the danger which it presents. But the evidence indicates that this is true. And there is a mass of incontrovertible evidence that Antioch College can offer a “clear and present danger” to the security of the United States and to every man, woman and child within its borders.
Figuratively speaking, the “loaded revolver” lays ready at Antioch. Has its trigger been pulled? Is it being pulled now? Will it be pulled in the future? Only the Congress of the United States can take the action necessary to remove that danger or reduce it to a minimum. Those among the Antioch trustees who would do it are powerless.
Antioch College as been suspect for years. Notwithstanding the evidence giving basis and support to the suspicion with which Antioch has been regarded, no official action worthy of the name has ever been taken to obtain the facts regarding the college. It is true that the presence of Communists on the faculties and in the student bodies of prominent colleges and universities has become dismayingly commonplace. But there is clearly and definitely nothing commonplace about one phase of the danger which has existed at Antioch College for almost twenty years.
Communist infiltration into education has been investigated by congressional committees. The existence of such infiltration at some of our oldest educational institutions has been revealed. For some strange reason, regardless of all the evidence indicating the likelihood of such infiltration at Antioch College, the college has gone blithely on its way, un-investigated and unmolested by the agencies of government with the exception of the FBI. Even when some notorious Antioch character is brought into the limelight of publicity, the Antioch “ruling classes” either ignore the matter or pause only momentarily to issue a brief and haughty apology or “explanation.”
Proper investigation of the Antioch gap in our security fence without the power of subpoena and the threat of a prison sentence for perjury is an impossibility. And the currently available evidence proves the existence of a danger at Antioch College which carries its immediate threat far beyond the serious problem of Communist infiltration into education.
Evidence that the potential threat exists may be found in no less an authoritative document than the 1953-1954 Antioch College Bulletin.
To this evidence may be added such facts as these:
A member of the Antioch College Board of Trustees signed a nominating petition pledging himself “to support and vote for” the Communist candidates for President of the United States, Governor of Ohio and other offices.
Five members of the Antioch College staff and faculty signed the same Communist nominating petition along with some students. Some of the five are on the Antioch College staff at this moment.
Nominating petitions for the pro-Communist (Wallace) Progressive Party were circulated by members of the Antioch faculty and others in the Antioch sphere of influence. Those petitions were signed by 136 residents of Yellow Springs and Miami Township. Almost half of the 136 signers were either Antioch students or members of the Antioch staff. Many of them are on the Antioch College faulty (sp) at this moment.
A former president of Antioch College lamented and objected to the abuse and exploitation of academic freedom at Antioch “by a very small but very active group whose ideas and program of action are dictated by an organization which represents a foreign government which hopes to undermine and to destroy American institutions and the American government.” He was immediately attacked by the Antioch Young Communist League because of his effort to protect the college and the loyal citizens on its staff and in its student body.
A scientist alleged to have been a member of a Communist espionage ring was named to the Antioch faculty.
In the face of all this and more, Antioch College has not been investigated by the Congress of the United States.
And one of the most revolting aspects of the Antioch situation is the fact that loyal students could have been and might now be made the innocent and unwitting “stool pigeons” of enemy agents.
(Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of articles on the situation at Antioch College which has been the topic of much discussion and little action for almost two decades.)