Neal A. Maxwell, Hays Gorey, and William B. Smart on Freedom of the Press in 1962

By Ann Reich

Freedom of the press has been under fire since it was included in the First Amendment. Even today, ethical questions arise around the country concerning the right to release information. In critical moments news organizations have to weigh the consequences before publishing sensitive material.

Neal A. Maxwell

Neal A. Maxwell, as pictured in The Daily Utah Chronicle on January 17, 1962.

The early 1960s were a time of tumult for the United States. The country was in the midst of an indefinite cold war and problems with Cuba were heating up. In April of 1961 the Bay of Pigs invasion during President Kennedy’s term was a failure, and the press released information about the defeat. ( On January 17, 1962, The Daily Utah Chronicle in the article, “Press Freedom’s Future,” said, “Presently the threat by the communist nations to the United States has again caused people to challenge freedom of the press.” It was a crucial time in history for the press, and freedom of the press was a significant topic in the journalism community.

On January 17, 1962, The University of Utah held a Great Issues Forum. At this event Neal A. Maxwell, the assistant to President A. Ray Olpin, discussed an essay he wrote titled, “Is Freedom of the Press Compatible with National Security?” After Maxwell, Hays Gorey, Salt Lake Tribune editor, and William B. Smart, head of the Deseret News editorial page, spoke on the same topic. (The Daily Utah Chronicle, p. 1)

In his essay, Maxwell analyzed the government’s relationship with the press, and his thoughts on a free press. Many times throughout history, the U.S. government has made a pact with the press to suspend fighting until a war or dangerous time is over. Maxwell argued that the Cold War was different and this suspension agreement could not be made. There was no end in sight during the Cold War, and the people needed information. (Maxwell, p. 46)

Maxwell argued that national security, especially with the military, was better with a free press. If the people know about the strengths, weaknesses, and plans in the military, then the executive branch would be presented with more choices regarding taking action. (Maxwell, p. 50)

Hays Gorey

Hays Gorey, a University of Utah alumnus, was pictured in The Daily Utah Chronicle on January 17, 1962.

Hays Gorey responded to Maxwell’s article. Gorey’s view agreed with Maxwell’s and he said that if the U.S. had no free press then it “would not be America at all.” (Gorey, p. 54) However, the press could cause some short-term harm to national security, but it is never lasting. While reporting on the mistakes of the U.S. could make the country weak in the moment, it would strengthen the country in the long run. The government would learn from their mistakes and would be less likely to repeat history if it was all documented by the press. Gorey was overall concerned with the government lasting. Free press might hurt the current government, but it has a more positive long-term outcome.

William B. Smart also wrote a response. Much of what he said aligned with Maxwell and Gorey: the free press had done well to protect national security. At the time of this speech, the country was in the midst of fighting communism. Smart mentioned President Kennedy’s fear of becoming like the enemy the country was fighting. The free press keeps the U.S. a democracy and stays away from too many governmental censorship.

William B. Smart

William B. Smart, pictured in The Daily Utah Chronicle on January 17, 1962, was head of the Deseret News editorial page.

Another important topic discussed was the fear caused by the press. Gorey claimed that it is better to know all of the horrifying events happening, then to be left afraid in the unknown. Maxwell brought up fear as a reason the government may push against the free press. However, Smart disagreed. In his comments he mentioned that the American citizens were “far more tough-minded” than what Maxwell implied. (Smart, p. 58)

Even though many events in the 1960s were mentioned by these speakers, their comments have been relevant throughout history. The Washington Post stated, “governments around the world are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to censor expression.” (Rezaian) An increase in press censorship is largely due to the internet’s role in spreading information. Although the government will always attempt censorship in the interest of national security, freedom of the press will always be necessary.

Ann Reich is a senior at the University of Utah. Her major is communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Primary Sources

Neal A. Maxwell, “Is Freedom of the Press Compatible With National Security?” in Great Issues Concerning Freedom, ed. Waldemer P. Read (Salt Lake City: University of Utah, 1962), 41-54.

Hays Gorey, “Comments” in Great Issues Concerning Freedom, ed. Waldemer P. Read (Salt Lake City: University of Utah, 1962), 54-57.

William B. Smart, “Comments” in Great Issues Concerning Freedom, ed. Waldemer P. Read (Salt Lake City: University of Utah, 1962), 57-60.

“Press Security To Theme Great Issues,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, January 16, 1962, 1.

Jackie Back, “Maxwell, Newsmen Set Examination Of Press,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, January 17, 1962, 1.

“Press Freedom’s Future,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, January 17, 1962, 2.

“Great Issues Airs Free Press In U.S.,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, January 18, 1962, 1.

“Vice President of U. Links Press Freedom, Security,” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 18, 1962, 24.

Secondary Sources

Editors, “Cuban Missile Crisis,”

Rezaian, Jason. “Dictators and the Internet: A Love Story,” The Washington Post, September 10, 2019.


Outraged University of Utah Student Speaks out after Olpin Union Authorities Infringe on Artistic Freedom

By Sage Holt

The University of Utah’s annual Student Art Exhibition is a tradition for the A. Ray Olpin Student Union. Sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts and Union Art Exhibition Committee, it still takes place today in 2019. Although, now it is held in the Alvin Gittins Gallery.

In 1961, the art show created an uproar, when several works of art from different students were removed from the exhibit. One of the artists was a young man by the name of Stephen (Steve) Beck.


Beck, pictured in the 1961 University of Utah yearbook, the Utonian. Used with permission from Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Steve Beck was born in Salt Lake City in 1937. He graduated from East High School in 1956, attending the University of Utah later that year. Beck was a dedicated student who pursued a promising art career. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1961 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. Although Beck’s painting career started in Salt Lake City, his art was displayed in New York, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., in the United States Capitol. His works can be viewed locally at the Phillips Art Gallery in downtown Salt Lake City. Beck’s art became the center of controversy when authorities took down some of his pieces from an exhibit in 1961.

Many students became angered by the choice authorities made to remove certain works from the exhibit, without the explicit communication of an explanation. Reports of the incident flooded The Daily Utah Chronicle office, but Beck’s letter to the editor was the only one published. “Suppressed” was published on page 2 of the newspaper in March 1961. Beck wrote in response to the removal of various artworks. He called it a “curtail of academic freedom.” Students questioned this unexplained choice and in protest, Beck and other Art Club students planned a picket demonstration. But it was never held, due to public threats of  “serious repercussions” by the university president. It was then that the administration began to question the students’ rights to force artwork to the public eye.  The artwork was deemed “offensive” by the administration, yet seen as aesthetically valuable to the Art Department. Research found that the offensive artwork in question had no written or photographed record.

In the next issue of the Chronicle, March 27, 1961, another article on the issue was published. The article, “They Owe Us,” was addressed to the Board of Regents from the Editor. In this article, a full scoop was uncovered. A high-ranking university official removed various artworks from the student art exhibit deemed objectionable by Union onlookers and officials alike. Why the art was so objectionable and offensive was never revealed.

art gallery

Student Nancy Jones views an oil painting in the 1961 Student Art Exhibition.

Soon after that incident, the Board of Regents declared that the entire exhibit would be removed. Due to the screen-like walls that held up art works in the exhibit, the Union Board expressed distaste and said that the art show screens were an “obstruction of the natural architectural beauty in the hallway.” They also declared that the screens would be banned from that hallway indefinitely. The sudden change in policy without explicit explanation left students confused and agitated. Student voices raised concerns about academic freedom being extinguished for the opinions of affluent outsiders who didn’t approve of the paintings. Union authorities gave no explanation as to why these policies would be implemented.

University President A. Ray Olpin spoke to a Chronicle reporter and had this to say: The right to individual expression has not been challenged. He also gave an explanation to the students who felt confused and angered. Olpin reported that any photos taken down in the exhibit were done by an Art Department official. The administration did not even know that the two controversial pictures had been taken down. No censorship was done by the administration nor did they pass any judgment on the art,Olpin said. The president also denied that rumored threats were made to picketers. The president clarified that the ban on screens had “been in debate on campus for years.” According to President Olpin, the actions of authorities were justified, but they never alerted students of the changes. This lack of an explanation and communication is what led to students becoming angered for the choices of university officials.

The lack of communication by officials sparked anger in students in 1961. Although information later revealed that the administration had an explanation but did not speak up about it. In our society today officials, administrators and other higher ranking positions should not implement changes without communicating to the parties it will affect. This lack of communication is what angered the students then, and now in 2019 a lack of communication between university officials and students once again plagues the university. A recent group of students demanded to talk to University President Ruth Watkins so they could voice their concerns on campus safety. This came one year after the murder of student Lauren McCluskey. At a student-run protest in October 2019, Salt Lake Tribune reporter Courtney Tanner gathered quotes from students and concerns about campus safety. Many students believed that “that campus police appear unequipped to assist us.Quotes from students at the Academic State Meeting show that there is a lack of communication between students and officials. When we’ve tried to talk to administrators, they’ve been very vague. It’s been disheartening and frustrating. They need to talk to us. It’s been a year, and we’ve had no communication on anything,” Tanner reported students as saying.

In 1961 Beck called this lack of communication a curtailment of  his academic freedom. He and other students immediately planned to protest to make their voices, concerns and anger heard. In 2019, students have called this lack of communication disheartening and frustrating. However, their protest was in the form of a walkout. Campus officials not communicating to students is an ongoing issue that leaves students angered with a lack of trust in their school.  From 1961 to 2019 this issue hasn’t changed. When will university officials learn from the past and give students the communication they deserve?

Sage Holt is a third-year student at The University of Utah. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism and sociology. 

Primary Sources

Steve Beck, “Letters to the Editor: Suppressed,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 10, 1961, 2.

They Owe Us,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 27, 1961, 2.

Ernest Ford, “Individual Expression Not Challenged, States Olpin; President Remarks on Ute Art Exhibit Controversy,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 28, 1961, 2

Michael W. Kain, “Letters to the Editor: Bigotry,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 29, 1961, 2.

A Change: Student U,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 1, 1961, 2.

Union displays Oilpan’s Water Color Paintings,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 1, 1961, 1.

Secondary Sources

Stephen Reid Beck Obituary,” The Salt Lake Tribune, September 24, 2002.

Tanner, Courtney. “University of Utah students demand to speak to President Ruth Watkins — and they’re planning a walkout over safety concerns,” The Salt Lake Tribune, October 16, 2019.