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One Fifth of American Universities Forbid Fraternity Discrimination


Fewer than 20 percent of American colleges and universities with social fraternities on campus have "urged or required" elimination of discriminatory fraternity practices, according to the current issue of Rights, published by the Anti-Defamation League of Bn'ai B'rith.

Official college action is needed, the study indicates, if educational institutions are "to support society's efforts to end discrimination based on race, relation and national origin."

Elimination by the fraternities themselves of restrictive clauses from their by-laws has had little effect on membership practices, the study reveals. Although there remain today only two out of 61 national fraternities that retain restrictive clauses in their constitutions, this has failed "to produce significant racial and religious integration" in the membership.

The Illinois Commission on Human Rights polled the 365 colleges and universities throughout the country that have fraternities or soroities on campus.

Only 130, or 52 percent, of the responding institutions had policies affirming non-discrimination in fraternities. Of these, only 71 went beyond the question of discriminatory clauses in fraternity by-laws and "urged or required the elimination of discriminatory practices."

The study data revealed a direct relationship between the level of education offered by the school and its formal stand on fraternity rules. Formal policies have been adopted by 63 percent of the colleges offering a doctorate degree; 51 percent of those granting a master's degree, and 33 percent of those giving only a bachelor's degree. Size of the student body is also an important factor in the adoption of affirmative college policies. Only 33 percent of responding schools with less than 1,000 students have such a policy, as compared with 80 percent of those with more than 10,000 enrollment.

Approximately the same proportion of publicly-controlled and privately-controlled schools have adopted policy position on discrimination. But church related schools show a considerable lag.

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