Admission Policy Defended By Harvard Club Presidents
Harvard Club officials throughout the country last night disagreed with conclusions of the Student Council's Committee on Publicity that exclusive membership policies are harmful to the University's national reputation.
In an advance statement, from a report prepared during the past year on the state of the University's publicity, Charles Edson '56 and James F. Hatcher '56, committee chairmen, stated that arbitrary restrictions on Harvard Club membership "would be contrary to the best interests of the University."
Maurice Heckscher '28, president of the Philadelphia Club, stated that his organization holds no prejudices against minority groups. "We have had both Jewish and Negro members," he said. "I should be very surprised at any adverse publicity for Harvard occurring over the admissions policies of our Club unless there were very unfortunate misapplication of the existing rules."
Hatcher and Edson feared membership restrictions could stir up alumni unrest and dissatisfaction and could discourage prospective applicants from coming to the University.
Heckscher explained that the Philadelphia group's rules were restrictive only in the sense "of any social club."
Edward Streeter '14, president of the New York City Harvard Club, which in the past has been frequently criticized by recent undergraduates for membership difficulties, described "congeniality to the present members" as the principal qualification for applicants. He stated that most people wishing to gain admission to the New York group are admitted.
James P. Baxter IV '41, president of the Chicago Club, on the other hand, stated that his group admitted without restriction. This group--the oldest in the country--has at several times during the past year refused to return to Chicago area hotels which refused to admit Negro Club members to their dining rooms.