Officials of the University said yesterday that the attitude of the University toward the question of permitting negroes to room in the Freshman Dormitories, a question which has recently excited considerable controversy in the public press, was that summarized by President Lowell's two letters to Mr. R. C. Bruce '02.
The first letter printed below was written in reply to Mr. Bruce's request for a room in the Freshman Dormitories to be used by his son:
"Dear Mr. Bruce:
"Your letter to the Registrar about your son has been given to me. I am sorry to tell you that in the Freshman Halls, where residence is compulsory, we have felt from the beginning the necessity of not including colored men. To the other dormitories and dining rooms they are admitted freely, but in the Freshman Halls, I am sure you will understand why, from the beginning, we have not thought it possible to compel men of different races to reside together."
Mr. Bruce's Letters
In answer to this Mr. Bruce wrote President Lowell a letter, an extract from which is printed below, protesting against the general policy of the University as follows:
"I have lived and labored in the South so long since my graduation from Harvard College, over twenty years ago, that, despite the newspapers, I had fondly cherished the illusion that, step by step with the unquestionable growth of liberal sentiment in the Southern States as a whole, New England was enriching rather than impoverishing her heritage.
"The policy of compulsory residence in the Freshman halls is costly indeed if it is the, thing that constrains Harvard to enter open-eyed and brusque upon a policy of racial discrimination. It ill becomes a great mother of culture avoidably to accentuate the consciousness of racial differences among Americans--that seedbed of so many strifes and briefs. Not race, but culture, I had supposed, is the basis of sound nationality."
President Lowell's Reply
Replying to this protest President Lowell wrote the following letter:
"Dear Mr. Bruce:
"I am sorry that you do not feel the reasonableness of our position about the Freshman dormitories. It is not a departure from the past to refuse to compel white and colored men to room in the same building. We owe to the colored man the same opportunities for education that we do to the white man; but we do not owe to him to force him and the white into social relations that are not, or may not be, mutually congenial.
"We give him freely opportunities for room and board wherever it is voluntary; but it seems to me that for the colored man to claim that he is entitled to have the white man compelled to live with him is a very unfortunate innovation which, far from doing him good, would increase a prejudice that, as you and I will thoroughly agree, is most unfortunate and probably growing.
"On the other hand, to maintain that compulsory residence in the Freshman dormitories--which has proved a great benefit in breaking up the social cliques that did much injury to the college--should not be established for 99 1-2 per cent of the students because the remaining one-half of 1 per cent could not properly be included, seems to me an untenable position.
"Regretting very much that we should not agree upon the wisdom of the policy adopted for the Freshman dormitories, I am"
The correspondence between President Lowell and Mr. Bruce has aroused considerable controversy, and criticism of the University's policy has been voiced by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, by a group of University alumni particularly inclined toward negro advancement, and by others. Officials of the University yesterday emphasized the fact that the attitude of the University was not a new departure