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Lehman Charges “numerus Clausus” Foisted on U.S. Colleges; Asks Remedial Legislation

September 24, 1946
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Charging that a “numerus clausus,” which he termed “one of the worst features of European culture,” had “foisted itself on the American educational system,” former Gov. Herbert Lehman today urged the creation by New York State of a special agency charged with outlawing discrimination in the field of education.

Mr. Lehman spoke at a luncheon meeting of the New York State Committee Against Discrimination, which met in an all-day session to draft legislation for the elimination of discrimination in institutions of higher learning in New York State. Discussion centered around the Austin-Mahoney Bill, which was drawn up by the Commission on Law and Social Action of the American Jewish Congress.

Since the fight against discrimination must also be national in scope, Mr. Lehman said, he advocated creation of a permanent FEPC, anti-lynch and anti-poll tax legislation and also “revision of our racist and restrictive immigration laws.” We must demonstrate to the world our willingness to welcome to our shores thousands of displaced persons of all races, nationalities and creeds,” he declared.

Former Assemblyman Irving M. Ives, who was co-author of the N.Y. State Anti-Discrimination Law, also spoke, expressing support of measures to curb discrimination in education.

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