By Richard C. Paddock
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 8, 2008
Cal State East Bay teacher refused to sign on religious grounds.
A Quaker math instructor who was fired by Cal State East Bay after she refused on religious grounds to sign a state loyalty oath has been reinstated, university officials said Friday.
Marianne Kearney-Brown, a pacifist, was concerned that signing the oath to “support and defend” the California and U.S. constitutions “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” could commit her to take up arms. She was fired Feb. 28 after she inserted the word “nonviolently” before “support and defend” and signed that version.
The idea that someone could be fired for refusing to sign a loyalty oath came as a surprise to many Californians who were unaware that public employees are still required to sign it. The pledge was added to the state Constitution in 1952 at the height of anti-Communist hysteria and has remained a prerequisite for public employment ever since. All state, city, county, public school, community college and public university employees are required to sign the 86-word oath. Noncitizens are exempt.
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