Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Biographical/Historical note

Scope and Contents note

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I: Lawsuit and background materials 1963 -1964

Series II: Trial documents 1963 - 1964

Series III: Correspondence

Series IV: Press releases and newsclippings 1963 - 1998

Series V: Court Judgment, 1964

Series VI: Alumni response and appeal 1963 - 1964

Series VII: Articles of Incorporation 1998

Series VIII: President Kenneth Pitzer correspondence, memoranda, and trial materials 1962 - 1968

Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Rice Institute/Rice University Charter Trial Records UA 275



Title: Rice Institute/Rice University Charter Trial records
Dates: 1963 - 1998
Abstract These records reflect the court proceedings of and alumni and public response to Rice Institute's Charter trial of 1964 and later appeals and judgments. The lawsuit was brought by the Rice Institute Trustees seeking to alter the Institute's original charter to allow admission of students of color and to enable the school to charge tuition. Additional changes to the charter in 1982 and 1998 relating to structure of the board of trustees and the university's legal ability to borrow money are also documented here.
Identification: UA 275
Quantity: 2.5 linear ft. (5 boxes)
Language:
Repository: Woodson Research Center

Biographical/Historical note

The original charter for the Rice Institute was drawn from an indenture written by William Rice in 1891 and stated that the institute would be open to "white inhabitants of Houston and Texas" for "free tuition". The trustees of the Rice Institute petitioned the courts in February 1963 to change the charter to enable the admission of students of color and to charge tuition. The Rice Board of Trustees was unanimous in supporting this suit, claiming that such actions were necessary in order to carry out William Marsh Rice's primary intent to establish an educational institution of the first class. Rice President Kenneth Pitzer was also in full support of this initiative. Rice was unable to compete for grant funding because it did not charge tuition to students, and was under increasing pressure by the civil rights movement to admit students based on merit and without regard to race. Rice was among the last of the southern colleges and universities to admit students of color.

In summer 1963, two Rice alumni, John B. Coffee and Val T. Billups filed a petition intervening in the suit and challenging the trustees' position. In January 1964, a group of Rice University alumni filed a petition supporting the trustees' position and opposing Coffee and Billups. Later that month, Coffee and Billups filed an amended petition further outlining their points.

The case went to District Judge William M. Holland's court on Feb. 10, 1964 and a verdict favorable to Rice was handed down on March 9, 1964.

Later in 1964, the first civil court of appeals affirmed District Judge William M. Holland's ruling. In 1965, the first civil court of appeals dismissed an appeal by two Rice alumni, John B. Coffee and Val T. Billups (begun in summer 1963), ruling that the two men had no justifiable interest in the case. Coffee and Billups then appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, who sent the case back to the appeals court, claiming it should heard the case in the first place.

Tuition was charged to students who could afford it beginning in 1965. In fall 1965, Rice's first two African American undergraduate freshmen were admitted and began classes. One of them was a woman, Jacqueline McCauley of Houston. However, Rice's first African American student was actually admitted in 1963, when Raymond Lewis Johnson was admitted to the Math Department in pursuit of a master's degree. As part of these changes to the charter, Rice Institute became known as Rice University.

Prior to this charter lawsuit, Rice did on occasion ignore the Caucasian rule and admit male students of color, including Charles S. Chan of Houston who graduated in 1941 with a B.S. in architectural engineering.

In October 1966, the appeals court upheld Judge Holland's 1964 ruling in favor of Rice Institute. In February 1967, the Texas Supreme Court denied a writ of error in the lawsuit filed by alumni Coffee and Billups.

A 1982 lawsuit over the charter provision requiring all seven trustees to live in Houston was overturned. Further amendments to the charter were made in 1998, enabling the expansion of the Board of Trustees from seven to a maximum of twenty-five and allowing Rice to incur debt by borrowing money or using tax-free bonds to finance large projects such as construction.

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Scope and Contents note

These records reflect the court proceedings of and alumni and public response to Rice Institute's Charter trial of 1964 and later appeals and judgments. The 1964 lawsuit was brought by the Rice Institute trustees seeking to alter the Institute's original charter to allow admission of students of color and to enable the school to charge tuition. Additional changes to the charter in 1982 and 1998 are also documented here. Formats include legal documents, notes, correspondence, newsclippings, and press releases.

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Arrangement

The records have been arranged in 8 series:
Series I: Lawsuit and background materials
Series II: Trial documents
Series III: Correspondence
Series IV: Press releases and newsclippings
Series V: Court Judgement, 1964
Series VI: Alumni response and appeal
Series VII: Articles of Incorporation
Series VIII: President Kenneth Pitzer correspondence, memoranda, and trial materials

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The materials in Series I -VII are open for research. The materials in Series VIII are part of the papers of Rice University President's Office records of President Kenneth Pitzer. Access to these records requires written permission from the President's Office. Contact Woodson staff for instructions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish these records must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Billups, Val T.
Coffee, John B.
Pitzer, Kenneth S. (Kenneth Sanborn), 1914-1997
Subjects (Organizations)
Rice Institute
Rice University - alumni.
Rice University
Subjects
Civil rights--Texas.
Colleges and Universities -- Texas -- History.
Right to education--Texas
Segregation in higher education--United States

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Related Material

See "At a most uncomfortable speed : the desegregation of the South's private universities, 1945-1964", by Melissa Fitzsimmons Kean, Ph.D. dissertation, Rice University, History Dept., 2000. (Fondren call # THESIS HIST. 2000 Kean)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

Rice Institute / Rice University Charter Trial records, 1963-1998, UA 275, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the President's office, 2002.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series I: Lawsuit and background materials 1963 -1964

Box Folder
1 1 Suit as filed and amended 1963 -1964
2 Rice President Pitzer's statement on purpose of Rice charter suit
3 Administrative resolution
4 William Marsh Rice will extracts
5 Charter, original copies and updated versions
6 By-laws
7 Background material: Rice board minutes
8 Background material: Rice income / expenditures, grants
9 Background material: Rice departmental / committee policies, directory

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Series II: Trial documents 1963 - 1964

Box Folder
1 10 Trial exhibits 1963 -1964
11 Trial exhibit: charter original copy
Box Folder
2 1 Trial testimony
2 Shorthand notebook of trial proceedings
3 Shorthand notebook of trial proceedings

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Series III: Correspondence

Box Folder
2 4 Correspondence 1964 - 1988

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Series IV: Press releases and newsclippings 1963 - 1998

Box Folder
2 5 Press releases 1982 - 1998
6 Newsclippings 1963 - 1966

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Series V: Court Judgment, 1964

Box Folder
2 7 Court judgment, 1964

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Series VI: Alumni response and appeal 1963 - 1964

Box Folder
2 8 Alumni response. Organized efforts by alumni to support the charter changes. 1963
9 Appeal (Coffee vs. Rice)
10 Related records

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Series VII: Articles of Incorporation 1998

Box Folder
2 11 Articles of Incorporation 1998

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Series VIII: President Kenneth Pitzer correspondence, memoranda, and trial materials 1962 - 1968

General note
Access to these records requires written permission from the President's Office. Contact Woodson staff for instructions.
Box Folder
3 1 Baker, Botts, Shepherd & Coates Communications 1962 - 1968
2 Coffee & Aronson 1963 - 1967
3 Correspondence: Alumni & Public Reaction 1963
4 Correspondence: Alumni & Public Reaction 1964 - 1967
5 Faculty 1964
6 Governors 1963 - 1965
7 Information Requests & Replies 1963 - 1967
8 Intervenors 1963 - 1964
9 Pitzer notes 1963 - 1964
10 Publicity 1964 - 1967
11 Research: Finances & Campaign 1965
12 Research: Government & Foundations 1963 - 1964
13 Research: Legal Dorctrine & Precedent 1962 - 1966
14 Research: Rice History & Trial Documents 1962 - 1967
15 Witnesses 1963 - 1964
Box item
4 1 Case No. A-10719, Respondent's Reply to Application for Writ of Error
2 Case No. A-10719, Brief for Respondents
3 Case No. A-10719, Motion for Rehearing
4 Case No. 14,472, Supplemental Brief of Appellees
5 Case No. 14,472, Brief of the Appellees
6 Case No. 14,472, Brief of the Appellants
7 Case No. A-10719, Respondent's Reply to Application for Writ of Error
8 Case No. 612,668, Statement of Facts, Volume 1
9 Case No. 612,668, Statement of Facts, Volume 2
10 Case No. 612,668, Statement of Facts, Volume 3
11 Case No. 612,668, Statement of Facts, Volume 4
12 Case No. 612,668, Jury Arguments
13 Case No. 612,668, Harry Hunt Ransom Testimony
Box Folder
5 1 Resolution of the Board of Governors 1966
2 Court Filings/ Case No. 612,668 1963
3 Testimony/ Kenneth Pitzer 1964
4 Copies of Trial Documents/ Kenneth Pitzer
5 Court Filings/ Case No. 14,472 1963 - 1966
6 Court Filings/ Case No. A-10719 1966

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