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January 18, 1974

After a visit to Kendrick House, which housed the African-American Cultural Center and where 30 of Vassar’s 169 black students lived, New York State Regents officials determined that the residence violated the Regents’ 1972 Position Paper No. 15, “Minority Access to and Participation in Post Secondary Education,” forbidding segregated living areas.

The college disputed the finding, citing specifically the paper’s definition of segregated facilities as “those in which admission or residience is restricted, by the institution or with its consent, to persons of a particular race, color or national origin” and noting, residence in Kendrick being open to all upperclassmen, that some of its residents were white. The trustees, meeting on May 11, voted unanimously to maintain Kenrick House as the site of the cultural center and a student residence and to make “every effort” to persuade the Regents of the wisdom of the Vassar policy.

After a year and a half of negotiation, and facing mounting legal cost and the threats both of loss of state financial aid and of possible rescission of Vassar’s charter, the trustees voted at their meetings in May 1975 to return Kendrick House to its original purpose—faculty housing—to relocate the cultural center to a site on campus and to house all black students in campus residence halls.

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