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Yale Jews Threaten To Sue over Housing

from university wire

The four Orthodox Jewish students who are objecting to Yale's housing rule that requires them to live on campus will file a suit against the University next Friday if the two parties do not reach an agreement.

Monday marked the deadline by which Yale requires all undergraduates to settle their accounts with the University or withdraw for the semester. Because these four students do not believe they should have to live in the dormitories, they have spent the last month living off campus and therefore have not paid their room-and-board fees.

Rachel Wohlgelernter - one of the five original Orthodox Jewish students who was protesting Yale's housing policy - married in early September in a civil ceremony and therefore falls under one of the two exceptions allowing freshmen and sophomores to live off campus.

"We consider it an unlawful demand but we have to pay - we don't want to be forced to withdraw," said Batsheva Greer, one of the students who may sue Yale. "But in 10 days if we don't reach an agreement we're going to sue. Yale knows that we're paying under protest and that we hope to get our money back."

Yale rejected the students' request to create a board to handle housing appeals on Sept. 23.

Currently, Yale requires all freshmen and sophomores who are neither married nor over the age of 21 to live in the dorms.

William Stempel, a lawyer for Yale, said that while Yale would try to accommodate the students within Yale's dormitories, the University would not grant them a special exemption from the housing rule.

What Lewin and his clients were seeking, Stempel asserted, was a "complete waiver and exemption from an integral part of the Yale undergraduate experience."

(Lea Dean, Yale Daily News, Oct. 1.)

Harvard's prospectus has flaws

At a time when prospective students are often closely considering class size while applying to college, Harvard's admissions prospectus may be sending mixed messages.

A chart in the prospectus boasts that only one class "in a typical fall term" has more than 500 students. The chart also states that 539 courses have 20 or fewer students enrolled.

But the chart's figures have not changed in recent memory, and the numbers currently listed in the prospectus don't correlate with statistics from the Harvard registrar's office.

Harvard Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons agreed that the class-size chart "looks a little old to me" and "may not be updated year to year."

Fitzsimmons said this year's figures should reflect enrollment numbers from the fall of 1996, when the book was produced.

But according to the registrar's office, last fall there were actually three courses - not one - with more than 500 enrolled.

Fitzsimmons insists that there was "no intention to deceive."

And Director of Admissions Marlyn McGrath Lewis and Fitzsimmons both said that the entire prospectus cannot be reviewed each year.

"We make what I call editorial changes, updating the facts, every year," said Lewis, adding that there are "varying degrees of change."

Although the real enrollments over the past three years often average out to the numbers listed in the prospectus, the chart has been somewhat inaccurate in recent years.

(Christopher T. Boyd, The Harvard Crimson, Sept. 30.)

Professor impersonator sentenced

A man who police believe traveled the country for two years impersonating UC Berkeley sociology Professor Harry Edwards was sentenced to six months' jailtime in Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday.

Curtis Jackson, 31, of Chicago, was found guilty on one count of grand theft for tricking University of Florida sociology Professor Terry Mills out of $427. Jackson received three years' probation and was ordered to repay Mills.

Police in Gainesville said they believe this scam is one of hundreds perpetrated by Jackson at universities across the nation.

In most cases, police said Jackson pretended to be either Edwards or Edwards's nephew. Typically, he claimed to have financial trouble, and obtained amounts of money between $300400 from sympathetic university professors.

In Mills's case, which occurred in April, Jackson claimed to be Edwards's nephew. Jackson told Mills he was in Gainesville interviewing for a job that Edwards had lined up for him at the University of Florida.

Mills said he lent Jackson the money for food and lodging even though he didn't know Edwards personally. But he said he was familiar with Edwards's nationally renowned work as a sports sociologist.

"[Jackson] was very knowledgeable and articulate about sociology," Mills said. "He came across as a trusting individual. I didn't feel threatened in any way."

(Jeff Vize, The Daily Californian, Oct. 2.)