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A Statement from President Nichol (William & Mary President Resigns After Contract Not Renewed)
via email | 2/12/08 | Gene Nichol

Posted on 02/12/2008 7:40:58 AM PST by smartin

Dear Members of the William & Mary Community:

I was informed by the Rector on Sunday, after our Charter Day celebrations, that my contract will not be renewed in July. Appropriately, serving the College in the wake of such a decision is beyond my imagining. Accordingly, I have advised the Rector, and announce today, effective immediately, my resignation as president of the College of William & Mary. I return to the faculty of the school of law to resume teaching and writing.

I have made four decisions, or sets of decisions, during my tenure that have stirred ample controversy.

First, as is widely known, I altered the way a Christian cross was displayed in a public facility, on a public university campus, in a chapel used regularly for secular College events -- both voluntary and mandatory -- in order to help Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and other religious minorities feel more meaningfully included as members of our broad community. The decision was likely required by any effective notion of separation of church and state. And it was certainly motivated by the desire to extend the College’s welcome more generously to all. We are charged, as state actors, to respect and accommodate all religions, and to endorse none. The decision did no more.

Second, I have refused, now on two occasions, to ban from the campus a program funded by our student-fee-based, and student-governed, speaker series. To stop the production because I found it offensive, or unappealing, would have violated both the First Amendment and the traditions of openness and inquiry that sustain great universities. It would have been a knowing, intentional denial of the constitutional rights of our students. It is perhaps worth recalling that my very first act as president of the College was to swear on oath not to do so.

Third, in my early months here, recognizing that we likely had fewer poor, or Pell eligible, students than any public university in America, and that our record was getting worse, I introduced an aggressive Gateway scholarship program for Virginians demonstrating the strongest financial need. Under its terms, resident students from families earning $40,000 a year or less have 100% of their need met, without loans. Gateway has increased our Pell eligible students by 20% in the past two years.

Fourth, from the outset of my presidency, I have made it clear that if the College is to reach its aspirations of leadership, it is essential that it become a more diverse, less homogeneous institution. In the past two and half years we have proceeded, with surprising success, to assure that is so. Our last two entering classes have been, by good measure, the most diverse in the College’s history. We have, in the past two and a half years, more than doubled our number of faculty members of color. And we have more effectively integrated the administrative leadership of William & Mary. It is no longer the case, as it was when I arrived, that we could host a leadership retreat inviting the 35 senior administrators of the College and see, around the table, no persons of color.

As the result of these decisions, the last sixteen months have been challenging ones for me and my family. A committed, relentless, frequently untruthful and vicious campaign -- on the internet and in the press -- has been waged against me, my wife and my daughters. It has been joined, occasionally, by members of the Virginia House of Delegates -- including last week’s steps by the Privileges and Elections Committee to effectively threaten Board appointees if I were not fired over decisions concerning the Wren Cross and the Sex Workers’ Art Show. That campaign has now been rendered successful. And those same voices will no doubt claim victory today.

It is fair to say that, over the course of the past year, I have, more than once, considered either resigning my post or abandoning the positions I have taken on these matters -- which I believe crucial to the College’s future. But as I did so, I thought of other persons as well.

I thought of those students, staff, faculty, and alumni, not of the religious majority, who have told me of the power of even small steps, like the decision over display of the Wren Cross, to recognize that they, too, are full members of this inspiring community.

I have thought of those students, faculty, and staff who, in the past three years, have joined us with explicit hopes and assurances that the College could become more effectively opened to those of different races, backgrounds, and economic circumstances -- and I have thought of my own unwillingness to voluntarily abandon their efforts, and their prospects, in mid-stream.

I have thought of faculty and staff members here who have, for decades, believed that the College has, unlike many of its competitors, failed to place the challenge of becoming an effectively diverse institution center stage -- and who, as a result, have been strongly encouraged by the progress of the last two years.

I have thought of the students who define and personify the College’s belief in community, in service, in openness, in idealism -- those who make William & Mary a unique repository of the American promise. And I have believed it unworthy, regardless of burden, to break our bonds of partnership.

And I have thought, perhaps most acutely, of my wife and three remarkable daughters. I’ve believed it vital to understand, with them, that though defeat may at times come, it is crucial not to surrender to the loud and the vitriolic and the angry -- just because they are loud and vitriolic and angry. Recalling the old Methodist hymn that commands us “not to be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,” nor “afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.” So I have sought not to yield. The Board’s decision, of course, changes that.

To my faculty colleagues, who have here created a distinctive culture of engaged, student-centered teaching and research, I will remember your strong and steadfast support until the end of my days.

To those staff members and alumni of this accomplished and heartening community, who have struggled to make the William & Mary of the future worthy of its distinctive past, I regret that I will no longer be part of that uplifting cause. But I have little doubt where the course of history lies.

And, finally, to the life-changing and soul-inspiring students of the College, the largest surprise of my professional life, those who have created in me a surpassing faith not only in an institution, but in a generation, I have not words to touch my affections. My belief in your promise has been the central and defining focus of my presidency. The too-quick ending of our work together is among the most profound and wrenching disappointments in my life. Your support, particularly of the past few weeks and days, will remain the strongest balm I’ve known. I am confident of the triumphs and contributions the future holds for women and men of such power and commitment.

I add only that, on Sunday, the Board of Visitors offered both my wife and me substantial economic incentives if we would agree “not to characterize [the non-renewal decision] as based on ideological grounds” or make any other statement about my departure without their approval. Some members may have intended this as a gesture of generosity to ease my transition. But the stipulation of censorship made it seem like something else entirely. We, of course, rejected the offer. It would have required that I make statements I believe to be untrue and that I believe most would find non-credible. I’ve said before that the values of the College are not for sale. Neither are ours.

Mine, to be sure, has not been a perfect presidency. I have sometimes moved too swiftly, and perhaps paid insufficient attention to the processes and practices of a strong and complex university. A wiser leader would likely have done otherwise. But I have believed, and attempted to explain, from even before my arrival on the campus, that an emboldened future for the College of William & Mary requires wider horizons, more fully opened doors, a broader membership, and a more engaging clash of perspectives than the sometimes narrowed gauges of the past have allowed. I step down today believing it still.

I have also hoped that this noble College might one day claim not only Thomas Jefferson’s pedigree, but his political philosophy as well. It was Jefferson who argued for a “wall of separation between church and state” -- putting all religious sects “on an equal footing.” He expressly rejected the claim that speech should be suppressed because “it might influence others to do evil,” insisting instead that “we have nothing to fear from the demoralizing reasonings of some if others are left free to demonstrate their errors.” And he averred powerfully that “worth and genius” should “be sought from every condition” of society.

The College of William & Mary is a singular place of invention, rigor, commitment, character, and heart. I have been proud that even in a short term we have engaged a marvelous new Chancellor, successfully concluded a hugely-promising capital campaign, secured surprising support for a cutting-edge school of education and other essential physical facilities, seen the most vibrant applicant pools in our history, fostered path-breaking achievements in undergraduate research, more potently internationalized our programs and opportunities, led the nation in an explosion of civic engagement, invigorated the fruitful marriage of athletics and academics, lifted the salaries of our lowest-paid employees, and even hosted a queen. None of this compares, though, to the magic and the inspiration of the people -- young and older -- who Glenn and I have come to know here. You will remain always and forever at the center of our hearts.

Go Tribe. And hark upon the gale.

Gene Nichol


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: academia; highereducation; moralabsolutes; nichol; resignation; wandm
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I received this via email because I am an alumni. I thought I would pass it along.
1 posted on 02/12/2008 7:41:02 AM PST by smartin
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To: smartin

What a whiny little bastard.


2 posted on 02/12/2008 7:43:06 AM PST by steve8714 (Loyalty has an expiration date and is not transferable.)
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To: abner; Alia; beyondashadow; Bitter Bierce; bjc; Bogeygolfer; BossLady; Brytani; bwteim; Carling; ..

ping


3 posted on 02/12/2008 7:43:25 AM PST by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: steve8714

Indeed


4 posted on 02/12/2008 7:44:13 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: smartin

Good riddance to liberal trash.


5 posted on 02/12/2008 7:44:47 AM PST by COBOL2Java (Vote for McCain! Mental health is overrated!)
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To: smartin

GFR from an alumni dad. Quit the law school, too.


6 posted on 02/12/2008 7:44:59 AM PST by Snickersnee (Where are we going? And what's with this handbasket?)
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To: smartin
It is essential that it become a more diverse, less homogeneous institution.

So, he hired a large number of conservative faculty?

7 posted on 02/12/2008 7:46:18 AM PST by Andyman (The truth shall make you freep.)
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To: EDINVA; iceskater; xyz123; Corin Stormhands; jla; Flora McDonald; GeorgeW23225; GottaLuvAkitas1; ...

Virginia primary day is not a total loss ping.


8 posted on 02/12/2008 7:46:33 AM PST by Corin Stormhands (New and Improved! Now with 4 less lbs.)
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To: Corin Stormhands

LOL


9 posted on 02/12/2008 7:47:24 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: abb

dailypress.com/news/local/williamsburg/dp-now-nicholout.f12,0,6662055.story
dailypress.com
Gene Nichol is out
William and Mary president, faced with ouster, resigns

BY MIKE HOLTZCLAW

757-928-6479

9:53 AM EST, February 12, 2008

WILLIAMSBURG

Embattled College of William and Mary president Gene Nichol informed staff members this morning that he is resigning effective immediately. He said he came to this decision after being informed that the college would not renew his contract.

In an e-mail sent out to staff members, he wrote: “I was informed by the Rector on Sunday, after our Charter Day celebrations, that my contract will not be renewed in July. Appropriately, serving the College in the wake of such a decision is beyond my imagining. Accordingly, I have advised the Rector, and announce today, effective immediately, my resignation as president of the College of William & Mary. I return to the faculty of the school of law to resume teaching and writing.”

Nichol, who became president of the college on July 1, 2005, became the focus of a controversy that became a national talking point later that year over the placement of a historic cross in the campus’ Wren Chapel. Because the chapel is non-denominational, Nichol removed the cross from permanent display, but made it available for use in Christian services or for any group that requested it.

Nichol survived the firestorm of criticism that followed, but he apparently will not keep his job after acceding to students’ wishes for the campus to host a controversial sex workers’ art show earlier this year.


10 posted on 02/12/2008 7:48:36 AM PST by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: Andyman
So, he hired a large number of conservative faculty?

I doubt it LOL
11 posted on 02/12/2008 7:48:47 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: smartin

on of the people — young and older — who Glenn and I have come to know here.

Who is Glenn?


12 posted on 02/12/2008 7:49:09 AM PST by Conservateacher
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To: Andyman

He’ll be missed.


13 posted on 02/12/2008 7:49:11 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (ENERGY CRISIS made in Washington D. C.)
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To: smartin

Pussy


14 posted on 02/12/2008 7:50:37 AM PST by Jim Noble (Look out kid, they keep it all hid)
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To: smartin

“You can’t fire me - I quit!”


15 posted on 02/12/2008 7:51:29 AM PST by Tax-chick ("Good guy wins, bad guy gets dead. Nothing to cry over here." ~ trimom)
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To: smartin
My daughter is awaiting their decision regarding her eligibility. Thank you for the update.
16 posted on 02/12/2008 7:52:06 AM PST by gathersnomoss (General George Patton had it right.)
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To: Corin Stormhands

I feel a little better now. I woke up feeling more hopeless about this election than I ever have. I’m leaving work early to vote, then intend to stop by my church to pray for America.


17 posted on 02/12/2008 7:52:34 AM PST by nina0113 (If fences don't work, why does the White House have one?)
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To: smartin

I wasn’t aware that a private, church sponsored institution was required to meet the same constitutional limitations placed on the US government by its citizens.


18 posted on 02/12/2008 7:52:46 AM PST by norwaypinesavage (Planting trees to offset carbon emissions is like drinking water to offset rising ocean levels)
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To: Conservateacher
Who is Glenn?

his wife, Glenn George


19 posted on 02/12/2008 7:53:27 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: abb

That’s an amazing way for the press to report this - ‘he survived the firestorm’ but now he is fired. How is it that he survived the firestorm? Because it took a little longer to fire him?

Does anyone every read the garbage called ‘reporting’ any more?

Did he take his lovely daughters to the Sex Workers exhibit or whatever it was called? Or his wife? I would like to know the answer to that.

If it was something that other people’s kids should be exposed to, his certainly should as well.

what a jerk.


20 posted on 02/12/2008 7:53:47 AM PST by SusaninOhio
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To: smartin

Yes we can!


21 posted on 02/12/2008 7:53:50 AM PST by Jim Noble (Look out kid, they keep it all hid)
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To: smartin

Typically, institutions have either oil paintings or fancy photographs of their paast presidents. When his hits the wall, maybe some of the students (alums, etc.) could request that his painting/picture be turned to face the wall on the grounds that seeing him at every pass “offends them.”


22 posted on 02/12/2008 7:53:51 AM PST by MarkT
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To: Conservateacher

I was wondering too - you know how things are nowadays even at ‘’religious’’ schools. Looks like his wife has an unusual female name, from a quick Google search.


23 posted on 02/12/2008 7:54:24 AM PST by Menehune56 (Oderint Dum Metuant (Let them hate, so long as they fear - Lucius Accius (170 BC - 86 BC)))
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To: norwaypinesavage
I wasn’t aware that a private, church sponsored institution was required to meet the same constitutional limitations placed on the US government by its citizens.

uh, me either
24 posted on 02/12/2008 7:54:47 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: smartin

The guy comes across as a complete wuss and an idiot. His rant was actually kind of funny in it’s condescending moral high ground tone.


25 posted on 02/12/2008 7:54:57 AM PST by khnyny (Quid Est Veritas)
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To: smartin

“I was informed by the Rector on Sunday, after our Charter Day celebrations, that my contract will not be renewed in July”

Rector...

Is that where the cross he had ordered hidden use to be?


26 posted on 02/12/2008 7:54:57 AM PST by edcoil (Go Great in 08 ... Slide into 09)
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To: smartin; Xenalyte

What poor critter up and died on his head?


27 posted on 02/12/2008 7:55:25 AM PST by Tax-chick ("Good guy wins, bad guy gets dead. Nothing to cry over here." ~ trimom)
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To: steve8714

Don’t force your liberal views on an entire Student Body and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Now go cry and whine at the Law School and train another generation bloodsuckers.


28 posted on 02/12/2008 7:55:35 AM PST by mortal19440
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To: smartin

Good riddance. Too bad he resumes “teaching” law.


29 posted on 02/12/2008 7:56:40 AM PST by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
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To: smartin
What a vapid


30 posted on 02/12/2008 7:57:03 AM PST by Vaquero (" an armed society is a polite society" Heinlein "MOLON LABE!" Leonidas of Sparta)
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To: smartin
The College sits at the end of Main Street, the mile long road of Williamsburg. For many years, it was supported by the Surveyors of the area...1/6th of their income went to the college..more or less...a licensing fee.

The Rockefellers of New York bought up almost all the properties of this historic Town when it was depressed.

Restored over the years, the Town is worth the visit...just to walk in the footsteps of those eminent men and all the brave men who fought for "Independence".

Signed...An old surveyor

31 posted on 02/12/2008 7:57:12 AM PST by Sacajaweau ("The Cracker" will be renamed "The Crapper")
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To: steve8714

You can say that again.

When will these officials and faculty members of public universities realize that they work for us?


32 posted on 02/12/2008 7:57:20 AM PST by Emperor Palpatine ("There is no civility, only politics.")
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To: Tax-chick

LOL


33 posted on 02/12/2008 7:57:24 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: smartin
sniff

OK, I'm over it.

34 posted on 02/12/2008 7:57:54 AM PST by SmithL (My tagline dropped out)
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To: norwaypinesavage

“I wasn’t aware that a private, church sponsored institution was required to meet the same constitutional limitations placed on the US government by its citizens.”

Which institution is that? W&M is a public university.


35 posted on 02/12/2008 7:58:57 AM PST by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
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To: SmithL

me too ;-)


36 posted on 02/12/2008 7:59:01 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: smartin

Talk about sanctimonious!

Someday, one of these college administrators will explain why ‘diversity,’ defined as racial, gender, ethnic quotas, is more important than simply having the very brightest students of any race, gender or ethnicity.

In the US today, a competitive college like W&M could easily have a majority of students ‘of color’ simply by admitting all the qualified Asians who apply. That’s not good enough for the likes of Nichol and his fellow ivory tower crowd.


37 posted on 02/12/2008 7:59:15 AM PST by EDINVA
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To: Tax-chick
What poor critter up and died on his head?

**********************

LOL!

38 posted on 02/12/2008 7:59:20 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: smartin

Follow the money (or lack thereof) as in raising it for the college. Bets are that donations are waaaaaaaaaaaaay down.


39 posted on 02/12/2008 8:00:44 AM PST by PurpleMan
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To: smartin

Cliff notes so people don’t have to read the whole thing: “Since I have been informed that I have been fired, I have made the tough decision to quit. Every disagreement I have ever had with anyone is because I am smart and noble, and everyone else isn’t”


40 posted on 02/12/2008 8:00:48 AM PST by bobsatwork
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To: smartin

Beat me to it! I’m also alumni, and I had another post already started with this email, but decided to check last second to see if anyone else made it yet.

Anyway, wooooooooooooooooohooooooooooooooo!!!!


41 posted on 02/12/2008 8:00:58 AM PST by holidayidol
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To: trisham

I suspect a muskrat, but would have to sniff to be sure ...


42 posted on 02/12/2008 8:01:43 AM PST by Tax-chick ("Good guy wins, bad guy gets dead. Nothing to cry over here." ~ trimom)
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To: holidayidol

Go Tribe!


43 posted on 02/12/2008 8:03:00 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: steve8714

Remember he is a lawyer.


44 posted on 02/12/2008 8:04:58 AM PST by gunnedah
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To: EDINVA
In the US today, a competitive college like W&M could easily have a majority of students ‘of color’ simply by admitting all the qualified Asians who apply. That’s not good enough for the likes of Nichol and his fellow ivory tower crowd.

MIT faces this issue. The way they solve it is to create two classifications for minorities; regular minorities and "underrepresented minorities". The latter are all minorities whose percentage in the MIT student body is less than that of the overall U.S. population. Any underrepresented minority that applies and meets admissions criteria is accepted. Any other minority (e.g., those of Asian heritage) competes at the same level as all other students.

That this is not just an end-around to artificially change the makeup of the student body through quotas regardless of academic qualifications can be proved by the fact that underrepresented minorities have stayed that way throughout the years of this policy. And the percentage of students of Asian heritage still far outstrips the number you'd see if they were artificially held down to the level that they are in the overall population.

45 posted on 02/12/2008 8:07:20 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
Any underrepresented minority that applies and meets admissions criteria is accepted.

What's the graduation rate and class ranking of "underrepresented minorities" vs. all other students?

46 posted on 02/12/2008 8:12:03 AM PST by Tax-chick ("Good guy wins, bad guy gets dead. Nothing to cry over here." ~ trimom)
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To: Forest Keeper

ping


47 posted on 02/12/2008 8:12:47 AM PST by HoosierHawk
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To: smartin

Let’s take bets as to which “fine” University this guy will wind up at.


48 posted on 02/12/2008 8:13:08 AM PST by Hildy (You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep cause reality is finally better than your dreams)
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To: Hildy

He’s going back to teaching law with W&M.


49 posted on 02/12/2008 8:14:52 AM PST by smartin (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)
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To: Corin Stormhands

Thanks for the ping. I missed this piece of good news.


50 posted on 02/12/2008 8:15:03 AM PST by iceskater (No more presidents from Arkansas - one was bad enough.)
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