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University of Minnesota Fraternities Abolish ‘white Christian’ Clause

The University of Minnesota chapter of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, center of a long-standing campus controversy because of its “white Christians only” membership limitation, has received a waiver on the limitation from its national office, it was reported today.

Professor Ralph Kitchell, head of a committee of the university’s Senate Committee on Student Affairs, disclosed the development at a meeting of the Senate Committee. The university chapter had applied for the waiver after months of debate and a warning from the university that it would be barred from the campus if the bias clause was retained.

Professor Kitchell also said he had received unofficial information that the national organizations of two other University of Minnesota fraternities, Sigma Chi and Delta Theta Phi, had abolished similar clauses in their national constitution. A fourth fraternity, Sigma Nu, had applied for a waiver on a similar membership limitation provision but had not as yet received permission to drop the limitation, he reported.

Professor Kitchell said that while progress had been made, the problem of “defacto” limitations remained. He explained that “a national fraternity will eliminate a bias clause but will continue to enforce discrimination as an unwritten rule.”

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