ACLU of Georgia

Form Asking About Communist Party Ties Was Used 'Inadvertently,' Lanier Tech Officials Say

By Nick Watson | Gainesville Times | August 8, 2018

After ACLU warning, college rectifies issue

Lanier Technical College officials said Tuesday, Aug. 7, they were inadvertently using a form requiring prospective or current employees to swear they are not a member of the Communist Party.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia sent a warning Tuesday to Lanier Tech President Ray Perren saying the form was a violation of the First Amendment.


Lanier Tech public relations director Dave Parrish said the college was using the incorrect form “inadvertently.”

“It was rectified as soon as it was brought to the president’s attention,” Parrish wrote in an email.

University officials said this was brought to Perren’s attention Tuesday, Aug. 7.

They did not, however, answer questions after hours Tuesday regarding how long the form has been used or how the form came into use.

The loyalty oath mentioned that Lanier Technical College is a recipient of public funds.

The phrase asks the applicant/employee to “solemnly swear and affirm that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Georgia, and I am not a member of the Communist Party.”

The ACLU included the form, notarized in June with the oath’s language, of Dr. Bill Ellenberg, who was applying to be an adjunct professor of English.

“Requiring prospective or current employees to swear that they are not members of the Communist Party — or any group or organization considered unpopular — is unconstitutional. Over 50 years ago, the United States Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for government employers to require employees to swear that they are not a member of the Communist Party or any other group, absent a showing of specific intent to further unlawful activity,” according to the ACLU’s letter to Lanier Tech.

Man speaking at Lanier Technical College podium
Lanier Technical College President Ray Perren. – photo by David Barnes