Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Students Concerned About Racism, 1968-1969
Students Concerned About Racism (SCAR), an undergraduate student organization, was formed in 1968 to increase enrollment of students of color at Tufts University. The group of approximately 150 students worked directly with high school students and counselors to bring African-American youth from the South and from urban areas to Tufts.
SCAR was formed after a brief, non-violent confrontation between administrators and about three hundred students on April 12, 1968. Two days earlier, a group of black students had walked out of a memorial service for recently assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King, claiming the service was hypocritical. On the twelfth, students confronted the administration, demanding that an extra twenty students of color be admitted to both Tufts and Jackson Colleges. Dean of Admissions John Palmer quickly agreed to the demands, on the condition that students aid the administration in recruiting and finding aid for the new students. In order to meet this challenge, SCAR was formed.
Led by co-chairs Charles Jordan, A1969, and Martha M. Constantine, J1969, SCAR contacted over 270 students, many of whom had not applied to schools for fear that they would be rejected or would not be able to afford the financial commitment. Of the 270 contacted, twenty students went on to enroll in the fall of 1969. To help these twenty cover the cost of Tufts, SCAR campaigned among students and faculty to build funds for financial aid. About half of the Tufts faculty agreed to donate one percent of their salary to aid for SCAR students, and over 600 students agreed to give up Saturday night meals, so that the proceeds could be used for financial aid. The trustees also voted to allot $50,000 to those recruited by the program.
SCAR's statement of goals included the recruitment of black students, procurement of aid and housing for new students, a reassessment of curricula in areas where the place of black men in history and society has been overlooked, establishment of a tutorial program to provide academic support when necessary, and improvement of methods of recruiting black faculty and personnel to teach and work at Tufts.
After gaining national attention for its recruiting efforts, SCAR disbanded, just one year after its founding, in the spring of 1969. SCAR leaders claimed that the organization couldn't fulfill its original intent. Although they had been successful in recruiting students to attend Tufts, leaders felt that the organization had not effectively dealt with racism on campus, especially subliminal racism in courses.
Source: UA024, box 18