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Doors of Ivy League Colleges Reported Wide Open for Jewish Students

April 18, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Enrollment of Jewish students in the Ivy League colleges has grown vastly in recent years, and decided steps toward opening more Ivy League doors to Jews have been taken this year, it was revealed here today.

According to a survey of this year’s admission policies at the Ivy League institutions, published today by The New York Times, about 40 percent of the students at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania are now Jewish. At Yale, Harvard and Cornell, the Jewish students are now thought to number between 20 and 25 percent, while between 13 and 20 percent of the students at Dartmouth, Princeton and Brown are believed to be Jewish.

This year’s admissions, according to the Times, are based on the quality of each student and his background, rather than on geographical distribution. H. Inslee Clark, Jr., dean of admissions at Yale was quoted as saying that efforts are now being made by his office to enroll more students from such outstanding public high schools in New York as Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn and the Bronx High School of Science. Since both of these schools have very high enrollments of Jews, that step alone was seen as tending toward the opening of more places in Yale’s freshman class to Jews.

Referring to the high school in the Bronx, Dean Clark said: “Until three years ago, we didn’t do any recruiting there at all, even though it’s one of the best public schools in the country. Now we do, and we get more people from there, and I suppose many of them are Jewish.” When asked about the sharp rise in the enrollment of Jewish students. Dean Clark was quoted as replying: “Is that right? I honestly hadn’t noticed. In this office, our only concern is quality.”


In general, Ivy League admissions deans, the Times reported, acknowledged the possibility that some classes may be dominated “by Jews, by New Englanders or by football players.” “In some years,” Dean Clark said, “we got to the point where something like that has happened. Well, maybe we have to reevaluate our system. But at the moment, we get a pretty diverse group just by seeking the very best we can get.”

Rabbi Richard J. Israel, a chaplain at Yale, said that, over the years. Yale never had a religious quota, although the number of Jews in each class in the 1950’s “tended to be between 103 and 109.” That estimate, he said, was based on questionnaires filled out by all freshmen, for religious guidance, since the original application blanks to the university include no questions about religion.

Rabbi I.M. Levy, a chaplain at Princeton, said: “When I came here in 1948, there were perhaps 75 or 100 Jews in the whole school. Now there are more than 100 per class. The general atmosphere in this country brought about the change. Americans simply became disgusted with discrimination. But that new liberalism goes only a certain distance.”

Rabbi Levy was cited as expressing “a vague suspicion” shared with other rabbis that there is still some unconscious anti-Semitism through such devices as preferential treatment for the sons of alumni or by vestiges of geographical distribution. Under the system of geographical distribution, admissions were given more frequently to students from areas where there are relatively few Jews, as contrasted to centers like New York, where it is estimated that about 40 percent of the residents are Jewish.

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