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Law Schools Pledge to Ban Prejudiced Recruiters


The 162 institutions belonging to the American Association of Law Schools, including Stanford, have pledged to bar campus employment recruiters who discriminate by sexual orientation.

Students at these same institutions receive millions of dollars in Perkin’s loans and work-study annually, aid which is tied to a congressional demand to allow the military to recruit on campus.

These two policies conflict, because the military, which will not hire openly gay individuals, violates the nondiscrimination policies of the law schools. Thus law schools are forced to choose between their nondiscrimination policies and aid for their students.

The policy “forces schools to pick between two disadvantaged groups: those who are denied career opportunities solely on the basis of sexual orientation and those who depend on financial aid to pursue a professional education,” said Stanford Law Prof. Deborah Rhode, former president of the American Association of Law Schools.

As detailed in Friday’s article, Stanford Law School has used a number of different tactics to avoid making a direct decision. But Stanford is not alone in its attempts to subvert the linkage of aid to military recruitment, a linkage spelled out in congressional legislation known as the Solomon Amendment.

In addition to localized efforts at schools like Stanford, various organizations and political leaders are conducting a national campaign to repeal all or part of the amendment.

As at Stanford, most law schools have to face the direct dilemma of how to react to the congressionally-mandated imposition of military recruiters.

Few law schools have come out in direct defiance of the amendment, which was adopted in 1996. One of the few that has is New York University Law School. The school, which has outright refused to allow military recruiters on campus, has not had its federal funding adversely affected, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Most law schools have taken the middle road, however, allowing some measure of military recruiting on campus but making clear their displeasure and taking compensatory actions to support gay and lesbian students.

Harvard Law School, for example, will allow the recruiters on campus but will not allow them the use of its career development center.

At Stanford, the Law School has adopted a policy that requires a minimum level of student interest before allowing recruiters to interview on its facilities.

According to Law School Dean Paul Brest, “we simply haven’t had the interest,” and thus military recruiters have been turned away without the school invoking the nondiscrimination policy.

The American Association of Law Schools, which claims about 90 percent of American law schools as members, allows schools to make exceptions to its nondiscrimination policy to comply with the amendment. But it urges schools that do so “to be sensitive to the need for creative and effective amelioration strategies,” including posting signs and letters that state that the schools do not condone the military’s policy and supporting gay and lesbian forums and student groups.

Reps. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) are proposing an amendment that would repeal the portion of the amendment that denies financial aid to schools that bar military recruiting on campus.

“A student ought not be denied financial assistance just because of the military’s policy,” said Campbell, a Stanford law professor.

Alan Drexel, former president of Outlaw, Stanford Law Students for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equality, agreed that “we were making victims of students that happened to attend institutions that took a principled stand.”

The Campbell-Frank Amendment would allow for the return of the financial aid portion of the federal funding for schools that turn away military recruiters but would leave in place other restrictions. Universities that turn away the military would continue to be denied non-financial aid funding like Defense Department grants.

“One can argue more persuasively that if the Stanford Physics Department wants to accept funding, it has to allow recruiting, but you can’t make the same argument for student financial aid,” Campbell said.

By taking this middle approach, the amendment is, in Campbell’s words, “a rifle shot rather than an assault weapon.”

Campbell has high hopes for the amendment, which will be introduced with the Defense Department Authorization bill next month.

“I’ve been talking to a number of moderate Republicans, and there’s a lot of support out there, because this supports universities,” Campbell said.

Students and faculty around the country are taking an active approach in support of congressional efforts to overturn the Solomon Amendment, from filing lawsuits to bringing in speakers to sending letters.

“The success of such legislation is likely to depend on the legal profession’s ability to inspire broad-based support from within and without the bar,” Rhode said.

[The Stanford Daily, March 1 1999]

Nobel Laureate from Berkeley dies

Glenn Seaborg, the Nobel Prize-winning former UC Berkeley chancellor whose scientific discoveries effectively changed the history of the 20th century, died Thursday night. He was 86.

The renowned professor, whose discovery of plutonium led to the construction of the atomic bomb, was convalescing in his Lafayette home after suffering a stroke in August. He fell ill during a conference in Boston, Mass., where he was being honored as one of the “Top 75 Contributors to the Chemical Enterprise” by the American Chemical Society.

Seaborg was the first living person to have an element on the periodic table named after him -- element 106, seaborgium -- and is considered a substantial part of UC Berkeley’s identity.

“Glenn Seaborg gave his magnificent intellect to the world and his heart and soul to the University of California,” said UC President Richard Atkinson, in a statement. “He once said that everything he achieved he owed to his association with UC. Few universities have been given so much in return.”

During a career spanning more than five decades, Seaborg garnered international acclaim in the sciences, education and diplomacy. He made an indelible mark on the world with his contributions to the Manhattan Project, which resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb.

The discovery of 10 atomic elements, including berkelium and californium -- which were named in honor of the UC Berkeley campus -- are also credited to his career.

But Seaborg’s contributions to the UC Berkeley campus reached beyond his scientific efforts. His efforts in education as well as his concern and interest in sports led him to help create the Pac-10 intercollegiate athletic conference.

“The world today has lost a great man of science,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl, in a statement. “We have lost a revered member of our campus family. He embraced this place as his family, and for more than six decades he loved it as deeply as anyone could. Berkeley, in return, loved him with its whole heart.”

Born on April 19, 1912 in the “isolated iron town” of Ishpeming, Mich., Seaborg grew up during the Depression in Los Angeles County. After attending high school in Watts, he earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from UCLA in 1934. He later received a doctorate in chemistry from UC Berkeley.

“Graduate school at Berkeley was like a pilgrimage to scientific Mecca,” Seaborg once said. “The chemists and physicists there were already legendary.”

In 1951, Seaborg shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry with the late Edwin McMillan for research into the transuranium (heavier than uranium) elements. He has also served as president for both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society.

Seaborg’s accolades are so numerous that his name appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest entry in “Who’s Who in America.”

His list of accomplishments stretches beyond the sciences and into education, environmental matters and public service.

He served as associate director-at-large of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a UC Berkeley chemistry professor, cofounder and chair of the Lawrence Hall of Science and the first scientist to become chair of the Atomic Energy Commission -- the forerunner of the U.S. Department of Energy -- under the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidential administrations.

“He always had his eye on the ball and knew what he was doing,” said Al Ghiorso, an LBNL physicist and a long-time friend of Seaborg. “He wanted to get results.”

If Berkeley was the foundation for nuclear chemistry, then Seaborg must have been the father, his colleagues said.

“When people thought of Berkeley, they thought of Glenn Seaborg,” said Andrew Sessler, an LBNL physicist who once served as director of the lab.

Keeping meticulous notes, Seaborg was constantly mapping out strategies and writing books. Seaborg’s work in chemistry and with the Atomic Energy Commission brought him national acclaim.

“He was instrumental in starting activities in nuclear chemistry because of his work with elements,” Sessler said. “He was a strong force in nuclear chemistry.”

Sessler described Seaborg as “balanced and not tied to a particular point of view.” One of Seaborg’s greatest strengths was his knack for handling administrative matters, because he was a strong at building a consensus and organizing an effort, he said.

“He had seen so much and been in so many situations,” Sessler said. “If you were worried about something, he knew how to handle it, because he had probably been through the same thing 10 times.”

Beyond his work as a renowned scientist, Seaborg contributed immensely to not only the UC Berkeley campus, but the entire UC system. He served as chancellor of the university from 1958 to 1961, as well as a university professor, a distinguished position entitling him a professor of chemistry at all nine UC campuses.

Seaborg was also levelheaded and found relaxation in watching football or playing golf among other sports, according to Ghiorso.

With his interest in sports, Seaborg served as faculty athletic representative in the 1950s and was partly responsible for the development of the Pac-10 conference to enhance athletics at the already academically-successful institution.

“On the Berkeley campus, I led what one writer called the ‘revolt of the intellectuals’ against the excesses of big-time college sports,” Seaborg said. “Widespread recruiting violations broke up our old intercollegiate athletic association, and I helped redraw the rules that led to the formation of what is now the Pac-10 conference.”

By creating the new conference, Seaborg allowed the UC Berkeley campus to prove that it could excel not only in academics, but also in athletics.

“Berkeley proved it was possible to combine athletic and academic excellence,” he once wrote. “Ranked third nationally in academics, our teams won a conference championship in football and a national championship in basketball.”

While Seaborg’s groundbreaking research in the creation of plutonium and his role in the government’s top-secret Manhattan Project led to the development of the atomic bomb during World War II, he later became a strong advocate of world peace. His advocacy against nuclear proliferation is an effort his son David, who lives in Walnut Creek, continues to stress today.

In 1963, Seaborg took a group of 10 distinguished researchers and scientists to the then-Soviet Union to study what was going on during the Cold War, Ghiorso said. He developed the Test Ban Treaty to curtail nuclear proliferation and helped make sure the treaty could go through, Ghiorso added.

“They travelled for a couple of weeks, and this was at the height of the Cold War,” Ghiorso said. “Then Seaborg took us to the Embassy and then he told us why we had come and delineated to us what each of us would do. He dealt with the issue in depth and he accomplished a lot. It was his idea to have the comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”

Seaborg and his wife also helped set up a hiking trail behind the East Bay hills, which extends from Contra Costa County to the border of California. The couple has hiked across the trail.

“He did a lot where a lot of people wouldn’t or couldn’t,” Ghiorso said.

Seaborg’s brilliance was distinguishable early in his career, his colleagues said.

“He had to have a sense of what he was going to do early in his career at some point, seen as having tunnel vision,” said Lee Schroeder, director of LBNL’s nuclear physics division. “He had to have been aware of his position in history.”

Seaborg maintained a captivating presence whether he was talking to a group of school-age children or to a symposium of scientists. At 6-feet, 5-inches tall, Seaborg was tall and slender. He struck those who met him as a regular person, but after speaking and interacting with him, people realized his great stature as a true visionary, Schroeder said.

“He had an enormous, broad range of accomplishments,” Shroeder said. “One gets to meet few of those in a lifetime.”

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Helen Griggs Seaborg, whom he met at LBNL, and five of six children. His first child, Glenn Seaborg, died in 1997.

A memorial service in Seaborg’s memory is expected to be announced soon.

[The Daily Californian, Mar. 1, 1999]

Yale alum loses in Nigerian election

Olu Falae, the current Nigerian finance minister, lost in his country’s presidential race Sunday to front-runner Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler seeking a civilian comeback 20 years after giving up power.

But a claim of election misconduct cast a shadow over the vote, billed as a chance to restore democracy to Africa’s most populous country.

Late last night, Obasanjo had captured 62 percent of the vote with 31 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the federal capital reporting. The official results were not available at late last night.

One of Falae’s top aides called the election “completely fixed.” His accusation followed international observers’ reports of ballot box-stuffing and other serious voting infractions.

“Our delegation members and others witnessed serious irregularities and overt electoral fraud in a number of states,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who led a 60-person delegation of election observers.

But Carter added that “a saving factor was that there was no nationwide pattern to favor any one party.”

Corruption and mismanagement have cost Nigeria billions of dollars of its massive oil wealth, leaving much of its infrastructure crumbling, with electricity and water service largely unknown in many cities.

The country has suffered for five years under the harsh dictatorial regime of Gen. Sani Abacha, and both Falae and Obasanjo were imprisoned under his reign as political dissenters. They were freed upon Abacha’s death and the subsequent rise of a temporary pro-democratic regime, a regime that now makes way for Obasanjo’s rule.

Even if Falae did not muster enough votes to win the presidency, Nigerians at Yale say it is a no-lose situation, a final step in their country’s transition away from military control.

“Whether he or Obasanjo wins is not the point,” said Frank Arasanyin, a native Nigerian and African studies lecturer. “Whoever is there is going to make a lot of basic changes in the status quo.”

Arasanyin said the popular demand for change will be immutable.

“Given Nigeria’s experience under Abacha’s military regime,” he said, “Any ruler who steps up to power will have to face a people who will not give up their demand for basic changes.”

Though both candidates made similar pledges to tackle the country’s major economic crisis, corruption and widespread poverty, Falae has been the underdog in the race since the start.

“Falae isn’t as well known as Obasanjo,” said Wiebe Boer, a Nigerian African studies graduate student born to missionary parents. “He was the finance minister who implemented a system that was either a total failure or a success depending on how you look at it.”

Boer said he throws his support to Obasanjo.

“In Nigerian politics, he’s the only military leader to hand over his rule to a civilian government,” he said. “He was also the only one who didn’t come to power in a coup.”

Boer added that he admired Obasanjo’s tenacity while in prison.

“For him to spend three and a half years in a Nigerian prison, that’s worse than hell,” he said. “[Nelson] Mandela in South Africa could never have done that.”

Arasanyin said he was very hopeful for Nigeria’s future with Obasanjo at its helm, but he was still unsure of the prospect of having a former general as president.

“Most of us perceive this government as a way to try things out,” he said. “And then to have a better perspective on the country’s traditional problems. This is a wait and see period.”

[Yale Daily News, Mar. 1, 1999]