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Teacher Fired After Declining to Sign Loyalty Oath

Law

Teacher Fired After Declining to Sign Loyalty Oath

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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A week after she began teaching at California State University in East Bay, math teacher Marianne Kearney-Brown was asked to accept an "Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution" — a document that California requires its elected officials and public employees to sign.

But Brown, who is a Quaker, took issue with the requirement that she "support and defend the United States and state Constitutions against all enemies foreign and domestic." She drew an asterisk next to the word "defend" and wrote "non-violently."

An uproar ensued and Kearney-Brown lost her job. She's been rehired since, but the incident raised questions about loyalty oaths and their relevance today. Callers discuss times when they were asked to sign loyalty oaths, and why they did or didn't comply.

Guests:

Marianne Kearney-Brown, math teacher and graduate student at Cal State East Bay

Michael A. Olivas, director of the Institute of Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston

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