Stanford Reckons with History of Anti-Semitism
Over the years, we’ve detailed on the pages of this blog the discrimination that Jewish applicants faced in the admissions process to Ivy League institutions decades ago — discrimination that included the use of despicable quotas to limit the number of Jewish students. But it’s not like the Ivy League schools were alone in trying to cap the number of Jewish students on their campuses. Heck, even Emory University, a school that now boasts a large Jewish population, faced publish backlash for discriminating against Jewish students at its dental school. Well, today, we bring to light another elite institution — Stanford University — that did wrong by Jewish applicants. This week, Stanford has made an effort to clear the air by acknowledging not only that the school discriminated against Jewish applicants in the 1950s but that they publicly denied as much for years thereafter.
As Amanda Holpuch reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Stanford Apologizes for Limiting Jewish Admissions in the 1950s,” “Stanford University apologized on Wednesday for its efforts to suppress Jewish student admissions in the 1950s and for denying it had done so in the years that followed. Stanford’s president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, apologized on behalf of the university for ‘this appalling antisemitic activity’ in a public letter after the release of a 75-page report documenting that activity. ‘These actions were wrong,’ Dr. Tessier-Lavigne wrote. ‘They were damaging. And they were unacknowledged for too long.’ Several colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth, limited Jewish enrollment in the 1920s through the 1960s, but Stanford had long denied rumors that it had used similar practices.”
In fact, according to the 75-page report, Beverly Hills High School and Fairfax High School, two schools in the Los Angeles area that had strong Jewish enrollment at the time, saw steep declines in Stanford acceptances beginning in 1953 — unlike any other high schools. But justice delayed is justice denied. So while we applaud Stanford’s administration for at last coming clean about its anti-Semitic history, for at last beginning to reckon with its past wrongs, it shouldn’t have taken nearly three-quarters of a century to do so. Shame on Stanford! As we’re just a few days removed from the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur, what exactly will Stanford do to atone for its sins?
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