Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

No Discrimination Against Jewish Students in American Universities, Jewish Daily Bulletin Inquiry Sh

October 22, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The charge that discrimination is practiced against Jewish students in American universities is not based on the facts.

This is evident from the results of an inquiry conducted by the “Jewish Daily Bulletin” among Jewish fraternities at American universities and colleges. The “Jewish Daily Bulletin” directed an inquiry to all fraternities and organizations of Jewish students at the universities. Up to date, fifty-five replies from leaders of the organizations and fraternities, coming from 45 colleges located in 17 states have been received.

The inquiry contained the following questions:

“I. Is there any discrimination against Jewish students, either openly or indirectly, in the application of psychological tests, character tests, and other methods? II. Has the number of Jewish students decreased in the last three years and if so, to what extent? III. Are there any anti-Semitic tendencies to be noticed, with regard to Jewish students (a) in the dormitories; (b) in the fraternities? IV. What is the attitude toward Jewish students in the Land Grant colleges? V. Are there any scholarship funds in your university which are not open to Jewish students? What is the predominant practice in those funds in which no discrimination of race, color or creed is mentioned? VI. Is there any tendency noticed to exclude Jewish students from athletic teams, or to keep them in the background? VII. What is the membership of your chapter? What is the number of Jewish students in your university? What is the total registration at the university? VIII. How are Jewish students distributed in the various departments-medicine, law, science, etc. IX. Are there any anti-Semitic tendencies to be observed in any other direction?

The replies to the first question bring out the fact that apparently there is no discrimination against Jewish students. Of the fifty-five replies, 47 state that there is absolutely no discrimination practiced.

The replies to the second question bring out the fact that the number of Jewish students in American universities has increased in the last three years, to what percentage could not be ascertained as no official record of the religion of the students is kept.

In answering the question of whether or not there are any anti-Semitic tendencies to be observed in the dormitories, the greater majority of the correspondents established that there is no discrimination, although the admission is made that in some cases the Jewish students are segregated within the dormitories.

As to the situation in the fraternities, the inquiry confirms the fact of general knowledge that the Jewish students in American universities are organized in separate fraternities and are not generally admitted to the non-Jewish fraternities which are of a social nature. The feeling is expressed by the majority of the correspondents that regarding the honorary societies, the Jewish students fare well on their merit, although slight charges of discrimination are entertained in individual cases. In regard to the fraternity life among the students, a great role is played by the various Jewish students organizations and fraternities, which secure the maintenance of the respect of the Jewish students, assuring them representation on the inter-fraternity councils.

The question of the attitude maintained toward Jewish students in the land grant colleges establishes that no discrimination is practiced in the state colleges. Jews are treated on an equal footing with the non-Jews, both in admission and during their attendance at the colleges.

The greater majority of the correspondents also confirmed the fact that in the scholarship funds at the various universities, no discrimination is practiced against Jewish applicants, and that the only basis of decision is scholarship. The only funds closed to Jews are those which have been designated by the founders for specific candidates, such as theology scholarships and one which specifies that the candidate must bear the name of Murphy.

The participation of Jewish students in athletics does not frequently meet with discriminatory tendencies. It is felt by several of the correspondents that the Jewish students find it more difficult to attain places in major athletics and that Jews must by far outclass their non-Jewish rivals.

As to the general attitude toward Jewish students, emphasis is laid in the replies on the fact that so far as the authorities of the college are concerned, there are no discriminatory tendencies observed, but the feeling is strong that along social lines and among the non-Jewish students, the situation is no worse nor any better than in non-university communities.

The inquiry reached colleges in which the total number of Jewish students is approximately 19,700. It thus appears that of the total registration of students in the universities reached, amounting to 210,000, the number of Jewish students is approximately 91/2%.

The inquiry also brought out the interesting fact that the predominant majority of Jewish students in the American universities are studying law. Next to law, the Jewish students are attracted equally by medicine, the arts and sciences. The order of preference in other studies is as follows: commerce, dentistry, engineering, pharmacy and journalism.

Recommended from JTA