February 10, 1961
19 negroes were filling out applications to the university summer and fall sessions yesterday afternoon under a move by the board of trustees that opened the doors to all qualified students “regardless of race, color or creed.”
UM officials said that their applications will be processed exactly the same as anyone else’s, and a decision will be reached at its normal time.
They explained that the 19 application blanks which were given to negroes have not been returned yet.
At its annual meeting, the board, in defining its policy for the first official time, unanimously voted to accept negro students “in line with accepted educational practice.” The action was taken too late for negroes to enter this semester.
The policy was announced after the Undergraduate Student Government tabled a proposal for a student-faculty referendum on desegregation until it could get an expression of the official policy. USG has since dropped the referendum move.
“Racial admissions policy merely was never defined, but we’ve never really been prepared to take negro students,” President Jay F. W. Pearson said. “If we dramatize these steps then everyone waits with bated breath to see how we will act. We should take these steps smoothly.”
Pearson explained that the UM students are from all parts of the country and are used to change.
“The people here are ready for change and can accept change,” he said. “I have no reason to expect a single incident from the student body.”
UM professors applauded the Trustees. An approval of the action in opening the university to any qualified student was voted by the UM Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. The decision by the board of trustees was adopted unanimously.
The UM Chapter of the American Association of University Professors wishes to commend the board of trustees for its decision to “admit any qualified student regardless of race, creed or color.”
“We feel that such a stand is important to the full development of our university and, particularly, to our status as an inter-American institution,” they wrote. “We offer full support in the implementation and execution of this policy, believing it to be consonant with basic American principles and ideals. We congratulate the university administration on this step forward and trust that it will lead to others of mutual benefit to the institution and to the community it serves.”
In 1961 The Miami Hurricane did not publish writers’ names.