The exclusive Porcellian Club this week elected a Black member for the second time in the all-male final club's 193-year history.
Rufus E. Jones Jr. '87, a Kirkland House resident from Memphis, Tenn., was notified of his election on Monday. Last year, the club attracted national media attention by electing its first Black member, William Batts Jr. '86.
Porcellian Club President Arthur C. Hodges Jr. '85 said yesterday that Jones's race played no role in his selection as a club member. "I think he was elected on his own merits. He's a very nice guy," Hodges said.
Hodges refused to comment on why the club had not elected a Black member before last year.
"He's a regular member just like anyone else," said club member Franz F. Colleredo-Mansfeld '85.
Jones said he was also elected to the A.D. Club but decided to join the Porcellian instead, because "I liked the dinners that the Porcellian gave and the outings."
"It came down to the things the club has to offer," he said yesterday.
The Government concentrator said he had no second thoughts about accepting the membership. "I think I made the best choice," he said, adding that he has friends at both clubs.
"It's just a matter of communicating and passing judgment only after seeing someone as a person," Jones said, adding, "I'm glad that the Porcellian Club decided to see what kind of guy I am."
Jones, who attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and is a member of the varsity football team, said Batts's membership had little effect on his decision. "I know Bill only because he's the first Black at the club," Jones said.
Batts was not available for comment yesterday.
"My response is that I'm surprised it's an issue, because it isn't one at all. I really have to stress that," said a club member who asked not to be identified.
Under the terms of an inter-club agreement, the five-week "punching" season ends on the Sunday night before Thanksgiving, when members meet to elect new members who have gone through a weeding-out process that involves attendance at social functions and outings.
The club member said the Porcellian punched between 75 and 100 candidates. Of these, four were Black, according to one candidate who asked not to be identified.
The nine final clubs notified approximately 100 accepted candidates at about 9 a.m. Monday.
Decisions were due at the Hasty Pudding Club by noon that day. A number of other clubs also elected Black members, according to a sophomore who asked not to be identified.
In 1980, a Black sophomore, Mark Edwards, reportedly passed through all of the Porcellian's punching stages until one member blocked his admission.
The rejection reportedly caused dissension within the club and two members apparently resigned in protest, after which the club held a special meeting and voted to accept Edwards, who refused the offer of membership.