Saving the Children
Your conveniently timed cover story, "Saving the Children" [winter
2001], tries to paper over Bernardine Dohrns horrid background by
painting her as a modern-day saint, struggling against all odds to rescue
"kids who do really bad things" but who arent "irredeemably
This piece of puffery fails to mention that Dohrn and her husband, Bill
Ayers (who teaches across town at the University of Illinois at Chicago),
were members of a 60s terrorist group, the Weather Underground,
and allegedly organized the bombing of the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
Quite a few of my alumni friends want some questions answered before we
give or bequest any more money to the University. Why, especially when
we are at war with terrorists, does Northwestern continue to employ an
openly unrepentant terrorist? How does employing a person of Dohrns
character (obviously not sufficient to allow her to be a member of the
bar) and brazenly displaying her to our alumni and the public as someone
were all "proud" of fit into Northwesterns campaign
Having seen this same sort of embarrassing nonsense at Berkeley and other
politically correct schools in the past, a sizable number of us are paying
attention. And weve had enough.
Dwight Erskine (SCS73)
Im sure that the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern
law schools Bluhm Legal Clinic is successful at what they do. Why
they would have Bernardine Dohrn as director and have her as a faculty
member in any capacity makes me angry.
I would hope that after some soul-searching, and it shouldnt take
much, Northwestern University would admit they made a mistake and do the
Bernardine Dohrn has no place at NU.
B. Thomas Smith (CB71)
It is both disingenuous and hostile to your own alumni to print the valentine
to Bernardine Dohrn in the winter 2001 Northwestern. It is dishonest
in the extreme not to mention the alumni outcry against Dohrns faculty
position at the law school or her nefarious past with the Weathermen.
Many Americans feel that with the rise of juvenile violent crime and homicide
rates in the 1980s and early 1990s, these "children" who rape
and kill belong in adult court. Forty-seven states have amended their
laws to make it easier to try these offenders in adult criminal court
with adult sentences.
Dohrns background and position are deeply disturbing to many of
your alumni the least you could do is mention them.
Deborah J. McNear (M82, GME85)
Was it mere oversight or (as I suspect) a conscious editorial decision
to withhold the background of Bernardine Dohrn?
Though she has never taken responsibility for her own criminal conduct,
apparently the University condones this behavior in faculty members. Would
the same standard be applied to students and prospective students?
F. Harold Entz (WCAS63)
I was so pleased to see that your lead article was on the Children and
Family Justice Center. I came to the law school largely because of its
clinical program, and once I was enrolled in the clinic, it quickly became
the place where
I spend most of my time.
As a student at the clinic Ive had the chance to counsel clients,
conduct investigation and research, and argue in court in short,
to develop all of the skills I will use as a practicing lawyer.
But the real gift the center offers its students is the opportunity to
watch, work with and learn from the amazingly talented lawyers who staff
the center and the clinic.
Much of the good that the center has done, for students and clients alike,
is due to the leadership of its director, Bernardine Dohrn. I was particularly
glad that this article was published at the same time that Professor Dohrn
has been coming under fire for her past activities and associations. In
light of this criticism, several current and former students, myself included,
have wondered how we might best share with the public the many positive
contributions she has made and continues to make as a scholar, an administrator
and a well-respected teacher. By highlighting the work of the center,
this article has done just that.
Carolyn Frazier, law student
Northwestern School of Law
I first met Bernardine Dohrn when, as a second-year law student and president
of the Public Interest Law Group, I asked her to speak to a group of students.
She proceeded to inspire all of us as she discussed the work of the Children
and Family Justice Center and the plight of the young people it served.
Ever since then I and others have looked to Bernardine as a mentor, as
someone who has a passion for protecting the rights of the most vulnerable
members of our society and a sensitivity to the issues and challenges
confronting young lawyers.
I have devoted my career since law school to the representation of low-income
children and continue to talk to Bernardine on a regular basis. In my
opinion she embodies the best of the law school faculty, a teacher who
continues to cultivate the learning process that only begins during the
three years we are in school and continues throughout our professional
As a teacher and an advocate, as a peer and a leader, Bernardine makes
profound contributions every day to the work of child advocates and the
lives of those we serve. I am proud to be a graduate of a university that
has sense enough to employ her and courage enough to defend that decision.
Andrew K. Block Jr. (L94)
Just Children, a Childrens Advocacy Program of the Legal Aid Justice
Center Charlottesville, Va.
I was fortunate to work with Bernardine Dohrn during my prelaw days while
working on the Court Improvement Project, which had been created by the
presiding judge of the Cook County Juvenile Court.
The project involved Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University
of Chicago (where I was working) and the Children and Family Justice Center
of NU School of Law. The insights Bernardine brought to the table, in
terms not only of the law but of how that law impacted families, were
much needed. And due to the respect she has earned in the juvenile justice
community, those insights and the findings of the project were listened
In my opinion, the impact that Bernardine has on children in Cook County
and the education of many NU law students has been and continues to be
I doubt many of her alumni detractors have had the opportunity to personally
judge her "remorsefulness," her "rehabilitation,"
her "fitness" to be a part of the NU legal, political or any
other community. It might be worthwhile to consider that Northwestern
is not alone in deeming her a valuable member of the community. Her expertise
is sought, despite her well-known, well-publicized past, by government
and charitable agencies on the local, state and national levels.
Maria J. Minor (L98)
Wild about Weil
I was delighted to read the article about professor Irwin Weil ["Moscow
Knight," winter 2001]. How I wish I could be a student again in his
Russian music course.
Maybe I could just sit in on the lecture on the riot in Paris when Igor
Stravinskys had its debut? Or perhaps the lecture on the
relations between composer Dmitry Shostakovich (H73) and Josef Stalin?
A quick addendum: Im with National Public Radio, and Im sure
he would be glad to know that it can now be heard in Moscow.
Jeff Rosenberg (S67)
Awash in Memories
I was a classmate of Hal Christopher (Nav41) [mentioned in "NROTC
Stays the Course," winter 2001, and killed at Pearl Harbor]. Hal
was everyones favorite, and we were all proud that he was awarded
the class sword.
Stanford G. Lehne (McC, Nav41)
I related to the article on NROTC and V-7 [a wartime program at Abbott
and Tower Halls] because I was in both. I was surprised to see that the
unit emblem, which I designed in 1940, is still in use 62 years later!
By the way, the photo of Capt. Jeffrey Keho, the NROTC commanding officer,
appears to have been reversed. Campaign ribbons normally are worn on the
Retired Capt. Donald R. Gustavson (WCAS46)
Over the years Northwesterns NROTC has earned a reputation in the
fleet for producing the highest-caliber officers for the Navy and Marine
Corps. Much of the credit goes to professor emeritus Richard Leopold,
whose strong and consistent support of the unit through the 1960s, 70s
and 80s made our success possible.
Capt. William O. Glass Jr. USNR (J, Nav 76, GJ81)
I was in the V-12 unit at Northwestern. The V-12 did not merge with the
NROTC units during the war, as indicated in the article. We were quite
William V. Victor (EB46)
In Northwesterns winter 2001 issue Redmond Prindiville
Hogan III (WCAS60)
of Indianapolis was listed as deceased. It was his father, Redmond Prindiville
Hogan II (WCAS32) of Evanston, who died last May.
In the same issue Medill senior Emily Gorovsky was incorrectly identified
as being in Weinberg, and Valerie Stark was labeled a Speech junior when
she is actually in the School of Education and Social Policy. We also
failed to mention two other campus leaders in their organization, Natural
Ties: Weinberg seniors Gretchen Barnes and Bianca Jay.
Northwestern regrets the errors.
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