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Daily Texan, June 5, 1956
Complete integration at the University beginning in 1956-57 was decreed Friday by the Board of Regents.
Immediate desegregation at Texas Western College in El Paso and the Main University graduate school were also ordered in a unanimous decision reached by the Board in a historic open meeting.
Present University policies of refusing Negroes undergraduate work will be retained until UT has a chance to work out long-considered enrollment limitation problems.
But beginning in 1956-57 a form of entrance exams, based on merit, will be given to all persons who want to enter the University, regardless of racial origin.
The time element involved in working out details of such tests were given as the main reason for delaying complete desegregation of one year.
Already faced with a crucial enrollment increase in 1955-56, the Regents said they must " avoid a changed policy concerning admission of undergraduates which would intensify the problem of sheer numbers."
Chairman Tom Sealy termed the decision a "historic one," and said it represents a good faith effort to comply with the recent Supreme Court desegregation decision.
Mr. Sealy also declared that suits seeking to force admission of Negro undergraduates before 1956-57 would be fought by the University "by all means at our command."
Admission of Negroes to all levels of instruction at TWC was ordered because El Paso city officials have already announced an end to segregation in their public schools.
In addition, Regent J. R. Sorrell pointed out the Legislature had made a "liberal" appropriation to take care of enrollment at that West Texas school.
Numbers are not an intense question at the graduate level, said Regent Leroy Jeffers. "Therefore we can logically extend our prior policy to all graduate courses without the problem of numbers being overly pressing," he added.
(Formerly, Negro enrollment at UT has been limited to graduate and professional work not offered at Negro state schools.)
Mr. Sealy said it is the Board's belief that such a new policy will help, not hinder, enrollment at Negro state graduate schools.
"That's what happened at Texas Southern University's law school, and I see no reason why it shouldn't happen again," he said.
President Logan Wilson said entrance exams would probably cover both subject matter and aptitude. The Testing and Guidance Bureau is presently studying various types of texts.
These tests would probably be administered through Texas high schools during spring months, Dr. Wilson said.