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President’s Committee on Education Demands and of Quota System in Universities

December 15, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Prompt elimination of the “quota system” in ## schools and colleges throughout the United States which exclude Jews, Negroes and others is called for in a report of the President’s Commission on Higher Education, issued today by the White House.

The commission, which includes Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, among its twenty-nine members and is headed by George F. Zook, president of the American Council on Education, assailed the quota system as “certaidly un-American” and unjustifiable “on any grounds compatible with democratic principles.”

President Truman, in a statement accompanying the report, said that the nation is challenged by the need to insure that higher education take its preper place in ## national effort to strengthen democracy at home and to improve our understanding of our friends and neighbors everywhere in the world.”

In the first of six volumes to be issued under the general title of “Higher Discation for American Democracy,” the Commission declares that the selective quota ##ssion system maintained by many colleges and universities, particularly in their professional schools, denies to certain minorities, “particularly to Negroes and Jews” the chance to learn. “This practice is a violation of a major American principle,” the report states, “and is contributing to the growing tension in one of the ##ial areas of our democracy.


“The quota, or ‘numerus clausus,’ is certainly un-American. It is European {SPAN}##origin and application, and we have lately witnessed on that continent the hor## to which, in its logical extension, it can lead. To insist that specialists in any field shall be limited by ethnic quotas is to assume that the nation is composed of separate and self-sufficient ethnic groups and this assumption America has ## made except in the case of its Negro population, where the result is one of the plainest inconsistencies with our national ideal.”{/SPAN}Rejecting the quota system as inconsistent with “the basic American belief that intelligence and ability are present in all ethnic groups,” the report emphasizes “that men of all religious and racial origins should have equal opportunity to fit themselves for contributing to the common life.

“Since the quota system is never applied to all groups in the nation’s population, but only to certain ones, we are forced to conclude that the arguments ad##ced to justify it are nothing more than rationalizations to cover either con##ience or the disposition to discriminate. The quota system cannot be justified Germany grounds compatible with democratic principles.”

The commission pointed to the grave consequences resulting from inequalities ## opportunity, stressing especially the insufficient preparation of American young people to assume the responsibilities of a democratic society, and lack of college ## university training for the trained intelligence “desperately” needed in this ##.

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