James Farmer, national director of the Congress of Racial Equality, has announced that his organization is making a study of the University to uncover "apparent systematic discrimination in off-campus housing."
Farmer implicated Harvard in a press conference last week at the University of Chicago, where CORE has been staging a two-week marathon demonstration to protect segregation in off-campus apartment houses. The University of Chicago had purchased the apartments as part of an urban renewal program to upgrade the adjoining community.
Columbia and New York Universities will be the next targets of CORE demonstrations. Farmer told the press conference that he saw a pattern of racial discrimination at many of the large metropolitan universities. Both Columbia and New York Universities are two of the largest real estate owners in New York city. Farmer claimed that at both universities "there are still apartment houses from which Negroes appear to have been systematically excluded."
"Start of a Great Struggle"
The demonstrations at the University of Chicago marked what Farmer termed the start of a great struggle to root out housing segregation in the North." As a result of its protests, CORE claimed a temporary victory by obtaining from University of Chicago President George W. Beadle a statement that the university would "never discriminate in its apartment houses against any student, staff or faculty member."
The university admitted that 12 of its 5 apartment houses were currently segregated. CORE contended that the university had close to 100 segregated houses.
A Columbia spokesman denied outright that the university had discriminated against Negroes in housing. In the past, "all Negroes on our staff who wanted housing got housing," he said.
Should CORE uncover housing discrimination at Harvard and decide to demonstrate, the organization will need to rally considerable support. Unlike the University of Chicago, which has a 100 member campus chapter of CORE, neither Harvard nor Radcliffe has such a chapter.