William A. Schaper (1869–1955) was a political scientist and a member of the faculty of the University of Minnesota from 1901–1917, including serving as chair. In 1917 he was dismissed from the University faculty by the Board of Regents for alleged disloyalty during the World War I attack on civil liberties and rights of citizens. Under questioning from the Regents, he affirmed his support for the war and stated he encouraged male students to enlist. However, the Regents felt his support was insufficient.
In 1938 the Board of Regents rescinded the 1917 dismissal action, reinstated Dr. Schaper as Professor Emeritus, and paid the sum of $5,000 in lieu of salary for the academic year 1917–1918. Schaper’s case was important to Governor Elmer Benson, among others, because of the injustice and because Schaper was a strong supporter of Farmer-Labor. President Guy Stanton Ford strongly supported the reinstatement, and used it as a springboard for establishing a policy of academic freedom, which was supported by the Board of Regents.
The Schaper estate left the University of Minnesota $10,000 to be used for scholarships in Political Science.
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