WASHINGTON (Jul. 30)
The Cornell University provost has accused nationally syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak of “particularly blatant and damaging” inaccuracies in a column declaring there was black anti-Semitism on the strife-torn campus, the Washington Post reported today. Mr. Novak replied that he and his colleague had re-checked their sources “and stand by the column as written without exception.”
The column, published in the Post on July 21, declared that “the dominant issue to be pursued by Cornell’s black militants” when school is resumed in the fall “has an overt anti-Semitic tone: A charge that Jewish professors blocked the appointment to the faculty of an extremist black militant on grounds of anti-Semitism.”
The column added that the Cornell Negro students would demand that John Hatchett of New York be hired “as a matter of black self-determination whether or not he is anti-Semitic.” Mr. Hatchett was named director last September of a new Martin Luther King Jr. Afro-American Student Center at New York University. He had written an article in a Negro teachers periodical charging that Jewish teachers dominated the New York public school system and that they and their “Negro imitators” were poisoning the minds of Negro pupils. New York University subsequently cancelled the appointment under an arrangement under which students said they would finance a similar appointment for the Negro teacher without university approval.
Provost Dale R. Corson, who has been acting president since James A. Perkins announced plans to retire, said Cornell University “is not anti-Semitic.” In a statement distributed by the university’s news office, Mr. Corson also said that Mr. Hatchett’s credentials for the university’s new Black Studies Center faculty had been “carefully reviewed by Vice Provost Kennedy and others, and the appointment was rejected by President Perkins last spring on the merits of Mr. Hatchett’s record.”
The column also asserted that “this introduction of anti-Semitism deepens Cornell’s climate of fear. Through the summer, there were scattered campus beatings of white students by unknown Negro assailants. During the summer orientation program, the new black freshmen conducted themselves as ferocious belligerents.”
The Provost replied that the assertions of campus beatings were “also untrue” and that he was not aware “that anything like a climate of fear exists on the campus at this time.” He also rejected the Evans-Novak statement that new Negro freshmen were acting like “ferocious belligerents.” The Provost did not comment on another charge in the column that there was evidence of black anti-Semitism in a June 29 speech by Negro leader Tom Jones. Mr. Novak said, in defending the column, that the Cornell administration should have responded, not to the column, but “to the incendiary speech by Tom Jones as a threat to it as an institution.”