Rice Institute / Rice University Charter Trial records
These records reflect the court proceedings of and alumni and public response to Rice University's Charter trial of 1964 and later appeals and judgments. The lawsuit was brought by the Rice Board of Trustees seeking to alter the Institute's original charter to allow admission of students of color and to enable the school to charge tuition. The original charter for the Rice Institute was drawn from an indenture written by William Marsh Rice in 1891 and stated that the institute would be open to "white inhabitants of Houston and Texas" for "free 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 in the U.S. to admit students of color.
The original materials are held by the Woodson Research Center in Fondren Library. Search the finding aid/inventory for the Rice Institute / Rice University Charter Trial records, UA 275.