NEW YORK (Aug. 12)
The American Jewish Congress expressed “dismay” today at New York University’s decision not to rescind its appointment of the controversial former Harlem school teacher, John F. Hatchett, as director of its new Martin Luther King Jr. Afro-American Student Center. Mr. Hatchett’s appointment was widely protested by Jewish and non-Jewish groups in connection with allegedly “anti-Semitic racist views” he expressed in an article in a Negro teachers magazine.
Will Maslow, executive director of the AJCongress, said in a statement today that such views on the part of Mr. Hatchett were confirmed in the course of an interview with him published in the Village Voice, a neighborhood newspaper. It demonstrated, Mr. Maslow contended, that Mr. Hatchett’s charge that Jews control the New York City public school system and were “mentally poisoning” Negro students “was not an isolated expression of his philosophy but rather represented a deeply-rooted and consistently prejudiced view of society.” Mr. Hatchett maintained, in the Village Voice interview, that it was appropriate in criticizing any department of the city to mention the ethnic composition of many of its staff. “Can a person so addicted to a racist view of society be properly entrusted with the task of guiding black students at NYU into harmonious relationships with fellow students of different races and religions and the community in which they will live?” Mr. Maslow asked.