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Controversy Widens over Naming of Ex-teacher Accused of Anti-semitism to NYU Post

July 29, 1968
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The controversy over the appointment of a former Harlem teacher accused of anti-Semitism to a major New York University administrative post widened today as more Jewish organizations denounced the action and the New York Civil Liberties Union defended it.

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Labor Committee assailed the appointment of John F. Hatchett to be director of the university’s new Martin Luther King Jr. Afro-American Student Center. Both cited an article by Mr. Hatchett in the November issue of the African-American Teachers Forum in which he charged that Negro pupils in New York City public schools were being "mentally poisoned" by "anti – black" Jewish educators and administrators who "dominate and control" the public school system and their "power-starved imitators, the black Anglo-Saxons."

Previously, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress had issued statements protesting the NYU appointment. After the article appeared, the AJCongress, the Catholic Interracial Council and the Protestant Council called the charges "black Nazism." NYU Chancellor Alan Cartter said the university was reviewing the appointment. He said he had not known about the Hatchett article when the appointment was being considered. The New York CLU, however, said it abhored anti-Semitism but argued that the appointment should not be rescinded on the premise that there was a "well-established principle of academic freedom that university employees should be appointed solely on the basis of ability and competence in their professional fields."

The appointment also was defended by two Jewish trustees of NYU, Jack Seilman and Herbert Silverman, and by Victor Solomon, director of CORE, the militant Negro organization in Harlem. Mr. Seilman said that university officials exercised "care" in hiring administrators and that he saw "no deterrent" in keeping Mr. Hatchett, the Negro. Mr. Silverman said he was sure that NYU would continue to be in the future, as it had been in the past, "a properly tolerant institution." The CORE official backed some of the teacher’s charges, declaring that the New York City school system was "rotten," that "those in power are to blame," and "It happens that the majority of them are Jews."

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