Commission Starts Hearings Today on Bias in New York’s Sport Clubs

The New York City Commission on Intergroup Relations will continue its investigation of membership policies of the West Side Tennis Club and other private sport clubs despite the disavowal by the Forest Hills club of racial or religious bias.

Dr. Alfred J. Marrow, commission chairman, said hearings would begin tomorrow with testimony from Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize winner and United Nations Undersecretary. Dr. Bunche touched off the controversy by disclosing he had been told by Wilfred Burglund, West Side Club president, that neither he nor his son would be acceptable for membership because they were Negroes, Dr. Bunche said Mr. Burglund had told him the club does not accept Negroes or Jews.

After a week of widespread criticism, the board of governors of the club disavowed on Tuesday Mr. Burglund’s statement and accepted his resignation. The board also announced that the club did not practice discrimination against members, that it had Jewish members now and that, while it had no Negro members, there was no record that Negroes had ever applied for membership.

Dr. Marrow said the commission had decided to proceed with its investigation, first "to establish a formal record of past events and well-defined standards for the future" and second, "to determine if new city legislation may be needed so that sponsors of public exhibitions will have their obligations to treat all citizens equally–both in their internal and external conduct–spelled out in unmistakable terms. "

NEXT STORY