Fullerton College: A Pictorial History

McCarthyism was to continue at FJC when the headline for the December 8, 1961 issue of the Hornet shouted: “Hazelton Replaces Former Commie Instructor Phillips.” The student newspaper retracted the false statements made in the article in the next issue, but FJC welding instructor Wendell B. Phillips, Jr., 41, never recovered his reputation on campus. Phillips, who had a Class A Vocational Credential, was a descendent of the noted abolitionist, Wendell Phillips, and he continued his ancestor's championing of liberal causes. Phillips had been a member of the Communist Party from 1939 to 1951, but left after being disillusioned. He tried to re-join the party, but it rejected him in 1957 since he was interested in reforming the party from within. President Sheller and Superintendent Lake suspended Phillips until a hearing could be held. Phillips was later dismissed for perjury on his loyalty oath and for “unprofessional conduct” for his refusal to inform on others, as required by the Dilworth Act (Section 12956 of the California Education Code). The 1953 Dilworth Act forbade any school district employee from having membership in the Communist Party or any organization advocating forceful or violent overthrow of the American government. The Act was named for Republican State Senator Nelson S. Dilworth, who had served on the California Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities. The Act, which was later declared unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court, was used to blacklist teachers in California.