ADL Charges Jews Are Victims of Ethnic Bias at Colleges, High Schools
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ADL Charges Jews Are Victims of Ethnic Bias at Colleges, High Schools

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Jews have become victims of ethnic discrimination in college admissions and hirings nationally and in appointments as public school principals in New York City, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has charged.

The charges were made in two reports, one claiming “a re-emergence of racial and ethnic discrimination” in colleges and universities because of a federal “failure” to take action “against preferential treatment and quota systems,” and the other reporting that in six New York City school districts no Jewish principals were named after specific dates in periods when 38 non-Jews were appointed as principals.

The college report was prepared by Benjamin R. Epstein, ADL director, and Arnold Forster, associate director and general counsel. The New York City report was written by Isaac Hersh, a retired high school principal.

The Epstein-Forster report said Jews find the concept of proportional representation in education and employment “particularly disturbing” because the Jewish community, totalling about three percent of the population, sends more than 80 percent of its youth to college and large numbers go on to professional schools.


“American Jews now sense that the doors are closing again, this time not because they are Jews, but because of a policy of preferential treatment advantageous to some ‘minorities,’ usually defined as non-white–Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Orientals–and women.”

The report said Jews were “not asking for their group share of the action; they are demanding what they have always asked: that each American be accepted or rejected on the basis of his or her individual achievement and worth, without regard to race, religion, ethnic origin or sex.” The report asserted that discrimination in university hiring for faculty positions, “the area in which federal guidelines and pressures have been most demanding,” has been “even more flagrant” than in admissions.

The report said Jews had long led the fight against racial and religious bias but using “merit competition not favor” and added that the ADL advocates and supports affirmative action “in the form of special compensatory education, in-service training, retraining, apprenticeship, good-faith recruitment efforts, job counseling and placement and efforts to insure that tests and other qualifying criteria are demonstrably relevant to the performances of the duties involved.”


The New York study said that despite a decline from 865 principals of elementary, intermediate and junior high schools to 792 between October 1969, the year before all public schools, except high schools, were decentralized, and Oct. 1972, there had been a nearly 300 percent increase in Black principals, from 41 to 118, and Spanish-surnamed principals increased from 5 to 19. Since decentralization, principals to the three lower categories of schools have been made by local community school boards. High schools are still operated by the central board of education.

Harold Schiff, educational director of the ADL New York region, said the ADL was studying possible legal action on the basis of the report.

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