The New York World - April 2nd
Frederick W. Wells moved into Furnald Hall on March 5th, 1924. He went largely unnoticed for the first few weeks of his stay until a group of white southern students, led by a man named John B. Rucker, realized he was living among them. On April 1st, Rucker approached Herbert Hawkes, dean of Columbia College and director of residence halls, and demanded that Wells be ejected. Dean Hawkes would later report that when he refused the demand, Rucker responded by threatening “Well, I will bring you some publicity, and see how you like that." According to Hawkes, this article from the New York World, and other pieces like it in New York daily newspapers, were the first results of Rucker's efforts.
The articles in the New York World are some of the more frequently referenced pieces in the writings that surrounded the cross burning. One of the interesting aspects of this piece is its neutral tone. It reports on the facts, but makes no moral judgements. This was not the case for many other news articles, which often editorialized the events as they unfolded.
There are a few exceptional pieces of information in this piece. One is the reference to "trouble that has arisen before over negroes working at the building." It's often suggested that Wells flew under the radar for the first few weeks of his residency because other students assumed he was an employee of the university. The report of "trouble" that black employees faced adds nuance to our understanding of the feelings of those who sought to have Wells thrown out of his room.
It's also interesting that the article references an administrator’s suggestion that there were other black people living in Columbia dorms at the time. This is the only article that would make this assertion, and it was likely untrue. Later quotes from Dean Hawkes would contradict this claim, and reports would suggest that Wells was indeed the only black student living in on-campus housing at the time.