It was well-known all through the Jewish neighborhood within the Nineteen Fifties that Stanford College discriminated in opposition to Jewish candidates, regardless of the college routinely denying biased admissions practices.
Seventy years later, the college is lastly admitting that it purposefully restricted the admission of Jewish college students after uncovering paperwork and information proving express antisemitic insurance policies at Stanford on the time. The college’s present management is apologizing for its previous, and pledges to enhance Jewish life on campus, together with altering the educational calendar so the beginning of fall semester not conflicts with the Jewish Excessive Holy Days.
“These actions have been incorrect, they have been damaging, and so they have been unacknowledged for too lengthy,” Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne mentioned in a message to college students and workers final week concerning the Nineteen Fifties’ insurance policies. “Right this moment, we should work to do higher, not solely to atone for the wrongs of the previous, however to make sure the supportive and bias-free expertise for members of our Jewish neighborhood that we search for all members of our Stanford neighborhood.”
Tessier-Lavigne’s message adopted the discharge of a report from a process power of college, workers, trustees, alumni and college students charged with investigating allegations of antisemitic admissions practices. Non secular research professor Ari Kelman, who led the duty power, mentioned in a webinar final week that the investigation comes at a time when American faculties, universities and different establishments are “investigating their very own histories.” A lot has been reported on Ivy League faculties’ quotas limiting the variety of Jewish college students beginning within the Twenties and lasting many years later.
Establishments are “starting to reckon significantly with previous misdeeds, together with their systematic involvement in practices of exclusion and exploitation at each the person and institutional ranges,” Kelman mentioned. “The work of the duty power follows different efforts at Stanford that preceded it, which is an element of a bigger effort to higher perceive the legacies of our college and other people, concepts and actions that form it.”
That process power was fashioned in response to an August 2021 weblog submit by historian Charles Petersen revealing a 1953 memo to Wallace Sterling, Stanford’s then-president, from his assistant, Frederic Glover. The memo mentioned that the college’s director of admissions, Rixford Snyder, wished to “disregard” the college’s coverage of not listening to the race or faith of candidates so he might restrict the variety of Jewish candidates—a transfer that Glover supported.
Snyder mentioned he was involved about two Los Angeles excessive colleges—Beverly Hills and Fairfax—that had largely Jewish pupil our bodies. He informed Glover that if the college accepted just a few Jewish candidates from these colleges, “the next 12 months we’ll get a flood of Jewish candidates.”
The duty power decided that within the years following the memo, the admission of Jewish college students from Fairfax and Beverly Hills excessive colleges dropped considerably. The duty power seemed into enrollment information from these colleges, damaged up into three-year increments. The information confirmed that between 1949 and 1952, Beverly Hills excessive enrolled 67 college students at Stanford and Fairfax enrolled 20. These numbers then continued to drop all through the ’50s, and between 1952 and 1956, Stanford solely accepted two college students from Fairfax. Beverly Hills Excessive confirmed the same decline.
Whereas the antisemitic practices of Ivy League faculties have been nicely documented—typically even in formalized quota insurance policies—Stanford College had no documentation of such practices or formal discriminatory admission insurance policies till the 1953 memo was found.
“This memo is probably the most express assertion of the will of anybody within the college to exclude Jewish candidates,” Kelman mentioned.
The memo had a checkbox for Stanford’s high directors to designate if they’d learn it or not. Although a number of had signed off on it, Sterling himself had not. Kelman mentioned which means there isn’t any proof that Sterling learn it or agreed with it. Nonetheless, the truth that this memo was created within the first place and shared amongst directors goes to point out that “this isn’t an instance of 1 dangerous actor performing independently,” Kelman mentioned.
This hostile atmosphere to Jewish candidates was no secret inside the Jewish neighborhood, Kelman mentioned, however when confronted by members of the general public or the media about it, Snyder and different directors denied it.
Whereas historians say American antisemitism sharply declined following World Struggle II, many American Jews nonetheless skilled discrimination. Jewish individuals secured middle-class jobs and started shifting to suburban communities, however antisemitic rhetoric started turning into intertwined with anti-communist rhetoric, Princeton College historian Julian Zelizer mentioned in a 2018 Atlantic article.
Kelman mentioned the college was in a position to conceal the practices on a “technicality.” On the time, the Anti-Defamation League and others had launched campaigns to finish the well-known quotas limiting Jewish college students at Ivy League colleges and different faculties. Stanford officers constantly mentioned they didn’t have quotas for Jewish college students—which they didn’t—however made no point out of the efforts by Snyder and others to scale back the variety of Jewish college students.
The report included interviews carried out for the Stanford Historic Society with former college students and workers. They corroborated the “widespread impression” that Stanford restricted the variety of Jewish college students. One alumnus, who graduated from Fairfax Excessive Faculty, defined that he was denied by the college regardless of his accomplishments in highschool, and was solely accepted after “the extraordinary efforts of his mom to foyer for a switch admission.” One other mentioned that she didn’t apply to Stanford as a result of it was “widespread data” amongst her Jewish pals in Los Angeles that Stanford didn’t settle for many Jewish candidates.
“One of many actual methods Snyder’s actions have been in a position to be carried out was that he wasn’t simply empowered to behave inside a system that gave him an excessive amount of latitude, however that it was coated up,” Kelman mentioned. “It flourished within the silence and within the denial and incapacity or unwillingness of members of the administration to speak truthfully about it.”
To rectify the wrongs of the previous administration, the duty power is looking on present leaders to conduct a complete research of present Jewish life at Stanford, maintain anti-bias trainings and packages on the college and formally acknowledge antisemitism on campus. It additionally desires the college to higher accommodate college students’ spiritual and cultural wants concerning housing and kosher meals, and make clear the college’s relationship with Stanford Hillel—the biggest impartial group serving Jewish college students on campus.
One of the vital frequent complaints amongst Jewish college students is that the opening of fall semester courses typically conflicts with Jewish Excessive Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Stanford officers now say they’re working to vary the educational calendars to keep away from that sooner or later.
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