In other ivory towers

The largest law enforcement presence in the history of the state of Maine was on hand Sunday, as protests and counter-protests regarding a local Somali immigrant population drew thousands of interested parties to Lewiston, home to Bates College.

The furor arose after the World Church of the Creator, a white supremacist organization whose founder, Matthew Hale, was arrested in Chicago last week for allegedly soliciting the murder of a federal judge, arranged an anti-immigrant rally to protest and vilify the more than 1,100 Somali refugees who have settled in the city of 36,000 in recent years. Their interest was piqued by a recent letter to The Boston Globe by Mayor Laurier Raymond, who complained about the strain upon public services caused by the foreign influx.

“Bringing these Somalians here is another Jewish plan to divide and conquer,” said David Stearns, one of the trio of speakers who stood in for the incarcerated Hale.

Across town in Bates College’s Merrill Auditorium, an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 crowded into the building during a two-and-a-half hour peace rally in support of the city’s immigrant community. Maine’s U.S. Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins attended the rally, along with Governor John Baldacci. Mayor Raymond was out of town on a scheduled vacation, and the absence was cited during calls for his resignation.

“Since the mayor wrote his letter, the Somali community has been a target of hate groups and continues to live in fear. We are in a state of shock due to the lack of leadership of the mayor today,” said Ismail Ahmed, a college student and spokesman for the newly-formed political justice group for Somalis in Lewiston. “Therefore, we call for the resignation of the man.”

The massive police presence paid off, as only one arrest – of a World Church supporter for disorderly conduct – was reported.

Disgruntled Jeff sues Davidson for tuition loss

First-year Amherst basketball player John Bedford and his family filed a lawsuit on Sept. 26 charging Davidson College and coach Robert McKillop with breach of contract and violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

The suit alleges that McKillop and his assistants aggressively recruited Bedford beginning in 1998, promising him a four-year scholarship worth $125,000 which the player and his parents verbally accepted. The suit additionally alleges that the coach revoked the offer in October of 2001, “crushing Bedford’s hope of playing Div. I basketball and costing his family thousands of dollars in tuition money.”

McKillop claimed at the time that Bedford’s application had proved to be insufficient for entrance to Davidson. Three months earlier, he had written that, “I’ve told John that he has a full scholarship to Davidson College, and now I have put it in writing.”

Bedford, however, never signed any written agreement, and there exists doubt in the legal community over whether or not a binding contract was ever formulated. Even if found liable, Davidson could only be forced to pay the family $30,000, or one year’s tution, as scholarships are regarded as single-year contracts that can be renewed or cancelled each year.

The NCAA is currently investigating the matter to see if McKillop broke any regulations. Meanwhile, Bedford played four minutes in this Saturday’s Williams-Amherst contest.

Harvard undergrad staff rules out compliance on USA PATRIOT Act

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) has ruled that it will ignore aspects of the recently-passed USA PATRIOT Act that impact the ability of foreign scientists to do research with controlled substances. Faculty officials claimed that the 2001 regulations that allow nationality to be used as a basis for denial violate the non-discrimination clauses in the FAS charter, and thus will not be observed.

Professor of the History of Science Everett I. Mendelsohn called the federal policy on biological agents “right on the edge” of limiting civil liberties at a faculty meeting a week ago. Mendelsohn additionally took the time to remind colleagues of the “long precedent of Harvard taking on the federal government,” which he claimed would continue unabated.