On Wilmington College's first day as a four-year college, president William M. Randall responded to questions about a new law, HB 1395, An Act to Regulate Visiting Speakers at State Supported Colleges and Universities. The act became widely known as the "Speaker Ban Law."
Fifty years ago, on June 25, 1963, the NC General Assembly adopted HB 1395. The law prohibited speeches on North Carolina public college campuses by "known" members of the Communist Party, persons "known" to support the overthrow of the constitutions of North Carolina or the United States, or by individuals who had invoked the Fifth Amendment (the right to remain silent) during congressional investigations about communist subversion.
There is extensive historical analysis of this controversial law. One source is a book by historian and UNCW alumnus William J. Billingsley.
When asked to comment on the Speaker Ban Law, Dr. Randall said,
"The law seems a little superfluous because of a law passed in 1941, which is now on the statutes and has never been repealed, that covers any subversion .... Certainly Wilmington College has and never expects to have an 'out-and-out' communist speaker on our campus, whether there is a law against it or not" (Wilmington Star-News, 2 July, 1963).
The law was modified in 1965 and went off the books in 1968.
Minutes of the Board of Trustees meeting, July 23, 1963 -- Brief mention of HB 1395.