Stanford University Dr. President Marc Tessier-Lavigne issued an institutional apology after a task force confirmed that the school limited Jewish student admission in the 1950s.
“On behalf of Stanford University I wish to apologize to the Jewish community, and to our entire university community, both for the actions documented in this report to suppress the admission of Jewish students in the 1950s and for the university’s denials of those actions in the period that followed,” the statement read. “These actions were wrong. They were damaging. And they were unacknowledged for too long. Today, we must work to do better, not only to atone for the wrongs of the past, but to ensure the supportive and bias-free experience for members of our Jewish community that we seek for all members of our Stanford community.”
The task force conducted an archivally based historical investigation and produced a report, which found that actions to suppress admission of Jewish students did occur in the 1950s and Stanford for years afterward denied it.
“The report discusses a 1953 university memo, the existence of which was reported in a blog last year, that expressed concern by university administrators about the number of Jewish students being admitted to Stanford,” the statement read. “The report then documents a sharp drop in enrollments of students from two Southern California high schools known to have substantial populations of Jewish students – evidence that the university took action to suppress admission of Jewish students.
“It is unclear how long this appalling antisemitic activity lasted or whether it extended to other schools or students. However, the report articulates how this effort to suppress Jewish enrollments had long-lasting effects and dissuaded some Jewish students from applying to Stanford in later years. And, the report shows that when questioned about its practices in later years, the university denied any anti-Jewish bias in admissions.”
The task force also made recommendations for improving campus Jewish life, which Stanford is accepting – with one modification – and will begin implementing. The plans include an ongoing advisory committee; education and training; and enforcement of a resolution to combat antisemitism, among other plans.