A mathematics professor has lost his second teaching job in a year and a half for what he alleges are his activities in fighting anti-Negro discrimination. He is Lee Lorch, who was notified in April that his appointment as assistant professor of Mathematics at Pennsylvania State College will not be renewed.
Penn State's dismissal of Lorch parallels the action of the City College of New York's Committee on Appointments in February, 1949. Lorch's department had recommended his promotion to assistant professor; the appointment committee voted four to two for what amounted to dismissal At Penn State, Lorch's reappointment was killed by vote of the College's trustees.
Both cases have turned up conflicting claims by Lorch and his administrative superiors. Lorch attributes the dismisals to his work as vice-chairman of a committee to end discrimination in Stuyvessant Town, a privately owned New York housing project; some of the organizations which have defended Lorch suggest that anti-Semitism may have entered into the firings. But both colleges deny this. A C.C.N.Y. spokesman said Lorch's anti-discrimination activities "had nothing to do with his non-reappointment," and James Milholland, acting president of Pennsylvania State College, has written the CRIMSON that his college's decision was "not based on (Lorch's) action in inviting Negroes to live in his apartment... nor... on his political views."
Milholland was referring to an incident after Lorch's one-year appointment to Penn State last September, following the New York City Board of Higher Education's approval of the C.C.N.Y. firing in July. Lorch turned over his Stuyvessan Town apartment o a Negro family; he claims that Penn State's assistant to the President A.C. Morse subsequently questioned him about this move and told him that it was "extreme, illegal, and immoral, and damaging to the public relations of the College."
Lorch's twin dismissals have brought considerable protest from several groups, among them a group of Penn State teachers which formally organized on May 2 to "work for the re-appointment of Dr. Lorch." Lorch says his second dismissal has set off a considerable amount of comment in the Negro press. "I seem to be regarded as a white victim of jimcrowism."
Lorch appealed his first dismissal to the New York State Commissioner of Education, but a hearing set for May 25 was postponed at the request of C.C.N.Y.'s lawyer.