Paul S. Adamian Papers

Identifier: AC 0403

Scope and Contents

The Paul S. Adamian Papers include general correspondence, copies of appeals, flyers and ephemera, and newspaper clippings. Also included are records, 1965-1966, concerning his teaching appointment at Southern Oregon College, Ashland, Oregon.


  • 1965-1996


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Conditions Governing Use

During Paul Adamian's lifetime, no more than 100 words from these materials may be quoted for publication without his express, written permission.

Biographical Note

For many years, Governor's Day was the occasion for honoring ROTC cadets, with the Nevada governor in attendance. In 1970, the event was held coincidentally in the same week President Richard Nixon ordered American troops into Cambodia, and four students were shot to death by National Guard troops at Kent State University in Ohio.

The same day Governor's Day was held, May 5, 1970, a peace rally was held by students opposing the war and the military policies of the federal government when the rally became a march toward the Governor's Day ceremony. The marchers walked around the field where military exercises were being held, and while some demonstrators filed into the stands, shouting antiwar slogans, others went onto the field and threatened to disrupt the ROTC cadet drill. University president N. Edd Miller asked for calm and courtesy, and some faculty members and students joined the ranks of the protestors urging restraint. The episode ended without violence, but in the following week, there were two instances of fire-bombings on or near the campus.

Paul S. Adamian was a professor of English who joined the faculty as a lecturer in 1966, became an assistant professor in 1968, and was granted tenure in the 1969/70 school year. As student dissent increased in the late 1960s, Adamian was identified with the more outspoken protesters. He was a familiar figure at protest meetings, and was one of the most conspicuous participants in the Governor's Day disruption. The Board of Regents, meeting a few days after the demonstration, filed charges of misconduct and ordered an investigation of Adamian and one teaching assistant. Charges were dropped against the teaching assistant, but the Adamian case was heard by a faculty board that decided that while his conduct warranted censure, there were no grounds for dismissal. Unsatisfied with the hearing board's findings, and after several months of formal proceedings, the Board of Regents discharged Adamian from the faculty.

Adamian brought suit in federal court that his termination by the regents was a violation of his civil rights, claiming the University had deprived him of his first amendment rights of speech and assembly. A Federal District Judge subsequently held that the University rule upon which the board relied was constitutionally vague and over-broad, and ordered the professor reinstated with back pay. The order was stayed while the regents appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at San Francisco, which reversed the judgement and ruled in favor of the regents. Subsequent appeals were dismissed, and eventually an appeal was submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which denied to hear it. Representing Adamian was attorney Charles E. Springer.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Nevada, Adamian taught at Southern Oregon College. While there, Adamian refused to sign the teacher's oath, was a faculty adviser for a new student group (the Committee for Social Action), and questioned an implementation of merit awards in a faculty meeting. Complaining to the state chairman of the American Association of University Professors about claimed infringement of academic freedom, his contract was not renewed. Adamian appealed to the AAUP, which forwarded his letter to the American Civil Liberties Union. After an investigation, the ACLU recommended that the services of the ACLU of Oregon be made available to Adamian in relation to this case, but by then he had accepted a position at Nevada.


0.41 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Paul S. Adamian was a professor of English who joined the University of Nevada faculty as a lecturer in 1966, became an assistant professor in 1968, and was granted tenure in the 1969/70 school year. The collection includes general correspondence, copies of legal records, ephemera, and newspaper clippings, 1970-1979, and materials regarding his teaching appointment at Southern Oregon College prior to becoming faculty at the University of Nevada, 1965-1966.


Arranged by subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

University Archivist added magazine article in 2017.


Guide to the Paul S. Adamian Papers
Betty Glass
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. University Archives Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno NV 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)