Rumors that have been current and suspicions that have existed for the past few months to the effect that a “numerus clausus” affecting Jewish students had been established at Rutgers University, located in New Brunswick, N. J., were brought prominently to the fore today. Julius Kass, a Perth Amboy attorney and an alumnus of Rutgers, charged openly that the University was accepting students on a basis other than scholarship and that a great many Jewish students who were recommended by the principals of the high schools from which they graduated, were refused admittance, while their non-Jewish classmates with lesser qualifications matriculated at the University.
Mr. Kass stated that he makes the charges reluctantly and after due reflection, but since the State of New Jersey appropriated almost a million dollars of the taxpayers’ money last year for the support of the University and since, whenever it had suited its purpose, Rutgers has designated itself as the “University of the State of New Jersey,” he feels that the public should be apprized of the system used in selecting the future “men of Rutgers.” He further stated that he is prepared to substantiate every charge made by him.
ONLY 33 JEWISH STUDENTS ADMITTED
According to Mr. Kass only 33 Jewish students were admitted this year out of a Freshman class numbering about 330. Of these 33 students, 9 are from New Brunswick and of these 9, Mr. Kass states, 8 were originally rejected and were admitted only after their former principal, Robert C. Carlson, had protested against their exclusion from the University and influential Rutgers alumni and politicians had taken up the cudgel in their behalf.
Most of the letters of rejection which were written by the University to the student applicants simply stated: “Your application for admittance to Rutgers University has been denied,” no reason being assigned. Although many of the Jewish students throughout the State had applied for admission to the University prior to their graduation from High School last year, the Committee on Admissions did not pass upon their applications until the early part of August and many students who were certain that their scholastic standing would enable them to matriculate at Rutgers, and thus had not made application to other universities, discovered that it was too late to apply to other schools offering the type of courses that they desired to study.
Mr. Kass made public the results of a conference that he had on October 3 with Luther H. Martin, Registrar, and Fraser Metzger, Dean of Men of the University, who, together with Philip Brett, a New York attorney, comprise the Committee on Admissions.
Specifically, Mr. Kass appeared on behalf of Myron Sewitch, a Perth Amboy young man who had graduated from High School last year with a rating in the upper fifth of his class and whose application had been denied despite the fact that he had been recommended by Will W. Ramsey, principal of Perth Amboy High School.
The facts in the Sewitch case were called to Mr. Kass’s attention and, having been previously apprized of other cases where Jewish students had fared similarly, he arranged for a conference with Dean Metzger and Mr. Martin.
ADMIT NUMERUS CLAUSUS
They admitted, frankly, that very few Jewish students had been admitted this year. This was done, they said, in order to “equalize the proportion.” They said that the Committee on Admissions had been instructed by the Trustees that Rutgers was not to be made “denominational.” “Rutgers got away from the old Dutch denominationalism years ago,” they said, “and we do not wish it to become predominantly Jewish now. If 40 or 50 per cent of the Jews that apply were admitted, Rutgers would soon become like C.C.N.Y. The present ratio of Jews in Rutgers is about 15 per cent. That is a sufficiently high proportion, especially in view of the fact that the Jews comprise but 10 per cent of the population of the State.”
The Perth Amboy attorney asked the University officials to assume a case in which a Jewish student in the upper quarter of his class in preparatory school and a non-Jewish student who was in the lower three-quarters of his class, both applied for admission at a time when the so-called “Jewish quota” had been filled. “Which student would be admitted?” Mr. Kass asked. The surprising answer of Dean Metzger was, “The non-Jewish student.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.