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Finding Aid to the Jack Kurzweil Papers
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This collection documents the 1970-1972 grievance case of Jack Kurzweil, professor of electrical engineering at San Jose State College, who, after being denied tenure, filed a grievance against the college for its rejection of tenure based on political prejudice.
Jack Kurzweil taught electrical engineering at San Francisco State College from 1966 to 1968. In November, 1967 he was informed that his appointment would end at the close of the spring sememster and he then took a position in the fall at San Jose State College, where he would be denied tenure and subsequently begin the grievance process. Kurzweil was active in liberal political demonstrations and organizations. During his years at San Jose State, Kurzweil became the president of the faculty union and its delegate to the Santa Clara County Labor Council, ran for County Assessor as a Communist Party candidate, was treasurer and then president of the local chapter of the California Faculty Association, and organized two Marxist Scholars Conferences at the University of California, Berkeley. Kurzweil retired in 2001 and helped found the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club.In the spring of 1970, Jack Kurzweil, represented by free speech attorney Malcolm Burnstein, filed a grievance with the San Jose State College Grievance Committee after being denied tenure. The Grievance Committee found in favor of Kurzweil but Chancellor Glenn S. Dumke denied tenure. Kurzweil took his case to a statewide grievance committee, which found unanimously in his favor. Dumke and the San Jose State Board of Trustees then called a state of emergency because of political activity on campus. This changed the grievance process so that the decision would no longer be binding, but would be advisory to the chancellor, and Dumke again denied tenure. Kurzweil then took the case to the Federal Court of Appeals, with Doris Walker as council. Kurzweil was awarded tenure as an assistant professor through a court order in February 1972. Kurzweil's case was based on the discovery that the decision to deny tenure was politically motivated. Kurzweil had been active in campus demonstrations in support of progressive issues and in opposition to the Vietnam War, and was involved in the faculty union, United Farm Workers Support Committee, and Faculty for Social Responsibility. His wife, activist Bettina Aptheker, had announced her membership in the Communist Party and she and Kurzweil worked on organizing support for Angela Davis after her firing from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Kurzweil received a promotion to associate professor in 1978 and was made full professor in 1982.
1.25 Cubic Feet (1 carton)
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Collection is open for research. Some material is restricted to protect personal identifiable information. Access restrictions are noted at the file level. Please contact the Director of the Labor Archives and Research Center for more information.