Hereford quits Farmington

University President Frank L. Hereford Jr. will announce Farmington resignation today

 As a part of The Cavalier Daily’s 130 year anniversary, we are republishing articles from our archive. This article originally ran in The Cavalier Daily February 10, 1976. 

University President Frank L. Hereford Jr. will announce his resignation from Farmington Country Club today, he told The Cavalier Daily last night.

Farmington Country Club’s board of directors last night reaffirmed the club’s racially discriminatory guest policy, causing at least three other prominent club members to resign and prompting expectations for further resignations.

“The majority opinion expressed by the membership in the recent poll dictates a statement of policy by the board of directors,” club President William A. Rinehart III said in a prepared statement last night. “Therefore, be it resolved that the board of directors in the executive session this 9th day of February, 1976 reaffirmed the club’s long-standing guest policy.”

Farmington Country Club members last month in a mail poll rejected by an almost 2-1 margin the question, “Do you want the board of directors to change the present guest policy, so as to admit guests without regard to race?”

Although he refused press inquiries earlier last night for indication of his planned response, Hereford later telephoned The Cavalier Daily, saying he wanted the University community to be aware of his decision at the same time it learned of the board’s affirmation.

He said he will issue a full statement this morning.

The club statement is “the gist” of the board’s action, Rinehart said, explaining the statement is the final wording thus far. The statement will be sent to the club’s attorney for review, after which it will be distributed to the club membership, according to Rinehart.

“I hope it’s going to be done as soon as we can,” he said, adding that he will call a special meeting of the club membership if the attorney can examine the statement today or tomorrow.

Club board of directors member Dr. Cary N. Moon, Del. James B. Murray (D-Charlottesville) and Psychology department chairman James E. Deese all announced their resignations from the club last night after the board’s vote.

“I’ve got better things to do than to try to work within Farmington [to change its guest and membership policies],” Murray said, adding “I don’t want to belong to any organization which stands for something reprehensible like discrimination.”

“I objected to the decision and have resigned,” Moon said.

Moon had reportedly walked out of the board meeting last night.

University Law School Prof. Emerson G. Spies, who resigned his club membership last week, said yesterday Hereford’s resignation came as “no surprise.”

“There was no way that he could win. He tried but he failed,” Spies said. “I anticipated that he would resign.”

Other club members gave strong indications last night that they would be reviewing their membership in the club.

Former City Mayor Francis H. Fife will issue a statement around noon today “concerning [his] continued membership in Farmington.” He added that Hereford’s resignation had come as “no surprise.”

Alumni Association Director Gilbert J. Sullivan said last night he will be considering his club membership, with Hereford’s resignation and the board’s decision entering as “factors” in that consideration.

Sullivan said, however, he is “not ready” to make any decision about his membership. He added that he did not think Hereford’s action “will have an adverse effect on alumni involvement.”

Farmington board of directors member Stirling Williamsonn said he was “disappointed” in what has occurred so far, although “I have not made up my mind” on continuing his Farmington membership.

University Executive Vice President Avery Catlin said last night the decision may affect his club membership, adding he will have an announcement “very soon,” indicating it may be as early as today.

College Faculty Dean Edwin E. Floyd said although he is a Farmington member now, he may not be for long. If he resigns, however, he will not make a “public statement” because “it’s a private thing,” he said.

Rinehart, contacted again late last night, said he was “sorry” Hereford had resigned, “but I guess he’s in the position where he knows what he has to do.”

Rinehart said he expects more “resignations will be coming in the next few days. Some people feel they can’t live with this situation and have to resign,” he added.

“There’s more to the Farmington thing than appears in the paper. The positions of some people probably forced some people into corners.”

According to Rinehart, loss of club patronage is “a calculated risk” and Farmington will have to “wait and see” what the effects might be.

Reaction from University students contacted last night included praise for Hereford’s decision, although they cited problems confronting affirmative action at the University which they said have yet to be resolved.

Calling the resignation “acceptable, but less than timely,” Black American Student Association (BALSA) President Bruce Atkins said “the real test lies ahead of him (Hereford).”

“His membership was only a badge of possible discriminatory practices… and he must now live up to the duties of being University President.”

“I am delighted to hear that Mr. Hereford has resigned from Farmington,” German department chairman Ruth K. Angress said last night, adding however she still intends to leave the University at the end of the year.

Angress announced last week she was resigning from the University because of its racial and political atmosphere, and said Hereford’s Farmington membership had been a contributing factor.

She added it was “fitting” Hereford should resign during the University’s Black Culture Week.

Transcribed by Jenn Brice

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