• U.S.

We Don’t Try to Be Different

2 minute read

The lady who is national president of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, which has 19,000 members in 60 U.S. colleges, summed it up this way: “Life is selective, and maybe it’s just as well to learn it while we are young.” Last week Crystal Malone, 19, an Alpha Xi “pledge” at the University of Vermont, was learning. Crystal is a Negro.

Crystal, a junior class student from Washington, D.C., was pledged to Alpha Xi last October; after national headquarters found it out, the Vermont chapter was placed on probation. Said Chapter President Patricia Pringle, last week, standing pat: “The members have no intention of revoking the original pledge. The girls are proud to be sorority sisters of Miss Malone.” The Burlington Daily News acclaimed the girls as “heroines of peace.”

Replied Alpha Xi Delta’s national president, Mrs. Beverly Robinson, a Washington clubwoman: “. . . I’m sorry this happened both for [Crystal’s] sake and for ours. But I expect the girls up there thought she was an exotic and interesting person—the way you would think of someone from a foreign country. . . . When other fraternities decide to [admit Negroes] we probably will too. We don’t try to be different.” Her advice to the Vermont chapter: they should have told Crystal to form a Negro sorority. At Vermont, this would have to be a one-woman club.

Last week N.Y.U. named its first full-time Negro professor: Dr. Ira Reid, 45, able chairman of Atlanta University’s sociology department. His new one-year post: “visiting professor of Negro culture and education.”

Southern-born Ira Reid went to Atlanta’s Morehouse College, did graduate work at the London School of Economics, took a Ph.D. at Columbia. Says he: “There will be 6 ft. 4 of the Negro problem standing up before the students. I do not need to discuss it separately.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com