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Success is No Surprise
of us acquainted with "Dr. Billy's" vivid imagination, scientific
talents and fascination with pharmacological phenomena (Winter
1999), his success as a biomedical innovator is not all
that surprising. For me, the question was always whether his
first-rate comic timing and generally good-natured approach
to life would suffer in the process. Indeed, the thank you letter
from Bozo the Clown "says it all."
I was fascinated
by Geoffrey Blodgett's account of the 1892 Oberlin victory over
Michigan. I remember reading about it, but was unfamiliar with
the controversial outcome. In the late 1950s, when I was sports
editor for The Oberlin Review having to document some
rather unsuccessful weekly football endeavors, I tried to enliven
the pages by reminding Oberlinians of by-gone glories. Reading
back through turn-of-the-century Reviews (i.e. 1890s), I was
gratified to uncover some dramatic victories over Ohio State.
For some reason, a 60-6 victory sticks in my mind, although
the decades may have played tricks with my memory. Now at Rutgers,
where football victories come at long intervals, I find my colleagues
know about the Heisman trophy, but not about Heisman the Oberlin
ball player. It's a memory worth resurrecting periodically.
Action, Private Colleges
of the Winter issue's articles on affirmative action may have
come away thinking that the recently filed federal court challenge
to the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy could
lead to Oberlin's own affirmative action policy being shut down.
The articles suggest that the local federal appeals court might
rule, as one did in Texas several years back, that affirmative
action violates the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal
protection under the law. Even if the local federal appeals
court were to hand down such a decision, however, it would have
no direct effect on Oberlin. The Fourteenth Amendment's requirement
that no person be denied the equal protection of the law is
a right that runs only against the government--not against private
persons or organizations. If Oberlin's local court of appeals
some day rules that affirmative action denies non-minority applicants
the equal protection of the law, then state schools in the region
like Michigan and Ohio State would have to drop or change their
affirmative action programs. Private colleges like Oberlin would
not be directly affected. Absent other possible developments
that the articles do not describe--repercussions from such a
decision under federal laws allocating tax-exempt status and
educational financing, for instance--determining what weight
to give to race in the Oberlin admissions process would remain
an entirely Oberlinian decision.
M. Freiman, Esq. '87
Bernstein Fellow in International
Rights, Yale Law School
Non-compliance with a Constitutional Amendment could jeopardize
federal funding in the form of research grants, student aid,
etc., allocated to private colleges.