Governor Ronald Reagan’s Remarks to Marchers on the West Steps of the Capitol


February 11, 1967 (Saturday)


A funny thing happened to me on the way to Oregon.  I changed the schedule as much as was possible, knowing you were going to be here.  You will recall that the Press carried the information a week or two that you were going to conduct that march and this appearance as of then, and I arranged then to be here in the Capitol because I don’t think any group of citizens should ever come to this Capitol with the express purpose of delivering any message to the Governor and the Governor be absent.


Now my time I changed, as I say, as much as I could.  I still must leave but I would like you also to know that because I believe, and I’m quite sure that there is nothing that I can say that would in any way create an open mind in some of you, but perhaps there are some – I mean – I mean an open mind on this particular subject.  But because, because I believe that a search for truth is the hallmark of scholarship – that I believe.


I believe there would have been some merit in someone trying to find out the views of this particular side in this controversy.


Now Mr. Axelrod received a message from me as early as I knew this date had been established stating that I had this previous engagement.  Mr. Axelrod has seen fit to make some charges and some statements with regard to what my views are but Mr. Axelrod has never made one effort to contact me and find out what my views are –


Let me, I’m not going to keep you here in the cold much longer, you’re going to have a number of speakers – you’re going to have a number of speakers –


Let me just say one thing with regard to so-called political interference with the University.  As Governor I tell you that never will I permit a Regent of the University to actively participate in a political campaign in my behalf.


With regard to political interference I would suggest to you that there is a sort of grey area where certain lines must be defined.  I do not believe that in a State University or college system that the administration of the State or the Legislature has a right to ever do anything that would seek in any partisan sense to involve the University in politics.


Let me add one more thing.  In this so-called grey area I do not believe it constitutes political interference for the people of the State – (inaudible)


And I also believe that the people, the people of California who without question or protest have down through the years contributed willingly and happily to the great and phenomenal growth of the educational system of this State, that those people do have some right to a voice in the principles and basic philosophy that will go along with the education they provide.  And to this sense I will tell you now that, while I, as a member of the Board of Regents, will never inject politics in that Board as Governor – as Governor I am going to represent the people of this State.