NEW YORK (Oct. 13)
New York University said yesterday that it would not reinstate John F. Hatchett, controversial Negro teacher whom it dismissed Thursday as director of its Afro-American Student Center, in order to avert a strike threatened by radical student groups tomorrow. Mr. Hatchett, accused of anti-Semitic and anti-white bias, was fired after referring to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Richard M. Nixon and Albert Shanker, president of the United Teachers Federation, as “racist bastards” in a speech delivered before a student group last week.
The dismissal was described by the American Jewish Congress as “an encouraging indication that anti-Semitism, racism and intemperate arrogance have no place in a university faculty.” The AJ Congress was one of several Jewish groups, along with the Catholic Interracial Council and the Protestant Council, which condemned the appointment of Mr. Hatchett to the NYU post last July. Their opposition was based on an article which the former Harlem school teacher wrote in November 1967 in the Afro-American Forum, a Negro teachers periodical. He alleged in the article that New York City’s public school system was dominated by Jews who, with their “black Anglo-Saxon imitators,” were poisoning the minds of Negro pupils.
The AJ Congress said yesterday that it hoped Mr. Hatchett would be replaced “by someone who is more likely to guide black students into harmonious relationships with their fellow students and the communities in which they will live.” About 100 students occupied two buildings on the NYU Bronx campus following Hatchett’s dismissal. The university offered a compromise under which the teacher could serve as an advisor to Negro students on the campus, using his year’s severance pay as salary. The university offered office space provided that the student groups supporting Mr. Hatchett paid the rent. Dr. James M. Hester, NYU president, said the principal reason for terminating Mr. Hatchett’s appointment was that he “has proved to be increasingly ineffective in performing his duties because of the incompatibility of many of his actions and public statements with the requirements of his position in the university.”