Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

To Organize Catholic Frat on Non-sectarian Basis Due to Brown Jewish Fracas

May 27, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A new development in fraternity life at Brown University which was recently brought to public attention by the forced dissolution of the Brown chapter of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, composed principally of Jews, is the announcement by Edward DcV. O’Connor of Providence, president of Phi Kappa, a Catholic fraternity, that plans are underway to change the charter of the organization to put it on a non-sectarian basis.

This announcement followed closely a speech by Dean Otis E. Randall of Brown at New Haven, in which he defended his action in refusing to allow Jews who are students at Brown to organize a fraternity.

The stand was taken, he said, because the primary mission of fraternities is to bring into closer contact people of widely dissimilar viewpoints and that any concentrated homogeneous group must inevitably defeat the privilege. He said that any similar group would have met with the same denial, and stated that if he had been dean when the Catholic fraternity was organized, he would have withheld his permission.

President W. H. P. Faunce of Brown has hailed the announcement of Mr. O’Connor of the abandonment of the Roman Catholic character of Phi Kappa as “a step in the breaking down (Continued on Page 4)

of racial and sectarian discriminations in American college life.”

“That’s what I want with all my heart. That will mean the breaking down of another barrier. Only during the past year at Brown has there been the case of admission of an Oriental student to one of our fraternities. The barrier between the Occident and the Orient has been broken down. If all such barriers were removed it would be in accord with the ideals and policies of the university.

“What I want,” continued President Faunce, “is the removal of all restrictions as to race and religion. Men must be judged on their merit, on their scholarship, personality and individual ability rather than on such narrow bases.”

Mr. O’Connor’s announcement was made in commenting on Dean Randall’s speech at New Haven. He said that the formation of Phi Kappa had been made at Brown in 1891 because Catholics were not at that time admitted to fraternities. Catholics are permitted to almost all of the fraternities at present, he said.

Recommended from JTA