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Furman University | Text

Student Opinion Mixed on Integration: Faculty Votes Indicate Heavy Support of Issue

An article appearing in Furman's student newspaper, The Paladin, dated December 15, 1961. The article includes the results of a recent opinion poll given to the students and faculty seeking their thoughts on the idea of admitting into Furman 'all properly qualified applicants regardless of race or color.'

Student Opinion Mixed On Integration Question. Faculty Votes Indicate Heavy Support Of Issue -- Furman students are apparently almost equally divided in their opinion toward the idea of admitting into Furman "all properly qualified applicants regardless of race or color." Student votes in an opinion pole conducted at convocation Tuesday showed a slight majority in favor of the idea, but several student body leaders have said the vote "in no way showed the feeling of the entire school." The student vote was 512-432 in favor of the idea, but several hundred of the students present did not vote. In contrast to the student vote, faculty members voted Monday on the same idea, and they presented an almost united opinion on the issue. Only 12 of the 80 faculty members voting on the poll indicated a feeling that qualified students of all races should not be admitted to the school. Dr. Francis W. Bonner, Dean of the University, said, "No actions of any type will be taken on the basis of the poll's results." Although Dr. John L. Plyler, President of the University, had no comment on the poll, he assured that students would be allowed to conduct them on any issue so long as the proceedings were orderly. Only two weeks ago the same question was the subject of discussion for the State Baptist Student Convention held in Greenville. The BSU convention adopted a resolution asking the trustees of S.C. Baptist institutions to give due consideration to their "responsibility and opportunity" to admit students of high standing "regardless of race or creed." Dr. Bonner said the poll conducted Tuesday was not the result of BSU action, and that the poll had been proposed before the BSU Convention. On Nov. 15, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, meeting in Furman's McAlister Auditorium also rejected a motion which would have instructed all Baptist institutions in the state to receive applications from all students. Some of the ballots cast in Tuesday's poll contained interesting comments on the idea. One student who bad checked the "yes" block wrote, "Why slow down progress? Why discriminate?" Another student seemed alarmed as he checked "no" and then added, "What are you people trying to do? That was one reason I came to this school."