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Asking Student Applicants for Personal Photos is Declared Unlawful

The practice of schools and colleges of asking student applicants for personal photographs is a violation of the Massachusetts Fair Education Practices Law, according to a ruling of the Attorney General’s office.

Samuel W.Gaffer, state assistant attorney general, submitted that opinion to Mrs. Mildred H, Mahoney, chairman of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The ruling was lauded by Morris Michelson, president of the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston.

After a study of the commission’s bulletin on policies dealing with equality of educational opportunity, Mr. Gaffer wrote that “the statute is intended to prohibit the requirement of any form of information from which an educational institution might determine the race, creed, color or national origin of a student applicant. “

He declared that a picture “could disclose the race,creed,color or national origin of a person, information which the statute forbids and which would appear to come within reference to written inquiry prohibited” by the law, Mr.Michelson said that the ruling was of special importance currently because growing, enrollments in academic institutions required more vigilance than ever to assure fair education practices.

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