Title: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, February 22, 1991. Interview L-0064-5.
Interviewer: McColl, Ann
Interviewee: Pollitt, Daniel H.
Abstract: This is the fifth interview in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt describes some of the academic freedom cases he became involved in through his work with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Pollitt was an active member of the AAUP for the duration of his academic career, and during the academic year of 1968-1969, he served as the president of the AAUP at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Focusing primarily on the 1960s and 1970s, Pollitt explains that during those years he served as "sort of the unofficial council advisor to the faculty people . . . who have academic freedom problems." Pollitt briefly reflects on a case involving the dean of the dental school, but he devotes the interview to a detailed description of the cases of Michael Paull, a graduate student teaching assistant in the English Department, and Moye Freymann, the director of the Carolina Population Center (CPC). In the case of Michael Paull, who was dismissed as a teaching assistant after the national media (largely fueled by then WRAL-TV commentator Jesse Helms) misconstrued his assignment about Anthony Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress," Pollitt served as counsel to Paull as the university led an investigation leading to his eventual reinstatement. In describing the case of Moye Freymann, who was dismissed as the director of the CPC after establishing the institution in the mid-1960s, Pollitt raises questions about issues of academic freedom as they related to administrators. In both cases, Pollitt's comments reveal how issues of academic freedom unfolded at UNC during the 1960s and 1970s.