Reactions to the revelation that the University had forbidden a Negro athlete to participate in a contest with a team from the Naval Academy came from three sources yesterday as undergraduates formed to protest, the H. A. A. explained its action, and the Navy officials denied responsibility for the whole matter.
Fifteen undergraduate leaders signed a statement last night requesting guarantees from the H. A. A. that such action will not take place again and that in the future the University will not discriminate against any athlete on account of race. At the same time 175 Freshmen signed a petition in the Union protesting against the vacation action.
The incident came about when Lucian V. Alexis, Jr. '42, of New Orleans and Adams House, went on a southern trip with the lacrosse team. Alexis played in a game against the University of Maryland, but according to members of the lacrosse squad, the authorities at Annapolis refused to allow their team to play against a squad which contained a Negro.
Navy Requests Withdrawal
"We were guests of the Naval Academy and they requested us to withdraw Mr. Alexis," declared Director of Athletics Bill Bingham '16 yesterday. "I had no choice in the matter. Had the game been played in Cambridge, I would have insisted that he be allowed to par
After a series of frantic telephone calls and telegrams with Admiral Willson, head of the Academy, Bingham sent word to the lacrosse coach and manager that Alexis was not to play.
According to members of the team, Admiral Willson had given them the choice of not playing Alexis, receiving the game on a forfeit, or calling Harvard authorities.
Admiral Willson Denies All
In a statement reported by the Associated Press last night, Admiral Willson claimed that the Navy always had and always will permit its teams to compete with other teams containing members of any races.
He explained that the Academy had extended "every privilege" to Alexis and that he was "surprised" at the reaction of undergraduates at Harvard.
Also revealed last night was the exclusion of a Negro member of the Glee Club from its vacation Southern trip. The student was among the better voices in the Club and made the trip last year to Pittsburg and Detroit, but this year the trip was made to Virginia and as far south as Duke University in North Carolina.
The statement protested against putting restrictions based on racial prejudice on Harvard's athletes and demanded that the Athletic Association take a clear stand on the issue. "We request from the athletic director a clarification of its policy with regard to colored athletes," runs one sentence.
Among those who signed the resolution were Bruce Barton '48, David P. Bennott '42, Paul D. Davis 1L, John W. Darr '42, Spencer Klaw '41, Joseph P. Lyford '41, Langdon P. Marvin, Jr. '41, Rufus W. Mathewson, Jr. '41, Herbert O. Reid 2L, John C. Robbins, Jr. '42, and Lawrence R. Sperber 2L