In 1945, affirmative action, then known as racial quotas, was just as touchy a topic as it is today. The following report documents the outrage that graduates from Columbia University’s Dental School expressed after affirmative action was proposed for their school.

Feb. 17, 1945

NEW YORK—Graduates in dentistry of Columbia University observed Alumni Day here Monday were unanimous in denouncing quotas based upon race.

By unanimous vote, the alumni requested the American Dental Association to “purge its educational council” of everyone supporting the report of Dr. Harlan H. Horner, sent to Columbia last spring.

That report proposed selection of students by racial strain or geographic origin.

In a resolution, the alumni said:

Negates Ability

“This report is contrary to the principles of Americanism and the principles of education which base college admission on ability rather than on nationality, race or religion.

This report outrages American standards of academic freedom and is detrimental to dental education.”

Although five members of the ADA council denied having seen the Horner report, Dr. Horner declared that the recommendations were those of the council rather than his as an individual.

ADA Report Awaited

It is expected the council and the board of trustees will soon make some public statement regarding the controversial report.

Said Dr. Horner:

“If you think the recommendations are news, you should see the reports we received from some deans of dental colleges on which the recommendations were based.”

Implications Clear

While the report does not specifically mention colored students, its implications, as far as any minority group is concerned, are obvious.

The storm aroused by the Horner report has caused a number of dental organizations to adopt resolutions deploring the racial discrimination proposals and demanding prompt repudiation by the association.