The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 13, 1997, Page 2, Image 2

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    News Digest
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Groups won’t support Paula Jones
Women's organizations ignore harassment claims against Clinton
Lichtman, president of the Women’s
Legal Defense Fund, didn’t hesitate
when Anita Hill accused conservative
Supreme Court nominee Clarence
Thomas of sexual harassment.
“We all believe her story,”
Lichtman said then, speaking for a
handful of prominent women’s
TTie Fund for a Feminist Majority
stood with Hill, too, demanding an
immediate Senate hearing. So did the
National Commission for Working
Women, the National Women’s Politi
cal Caucus and the head of the Na
tional Abortion Rights Action League.
Five years later, none of these
prominent, politically active women’s
groups offer a supportive word for
Paula Jones. Their collective silence
is an intriguing political subplot to her
charges that President Clinton sexu
ally harassed her in a Little Rock, Ark.
hotel roan in 1991.
A few months after that, Hill’s ac
cusations about Thomas rocked Wash
ington and stirred a remarkable na
tional debate about sexual conduct.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy on the
part of the women’s groups,” JosepI
Cammarata, a Jones lawyer, said Sun
day on ABC’s “This Week.”
“They rallied to the cause of Anita
Hill, but in our case, never a whim
Today, the Supreme Court will heai
arguments about whether Clinton
should have to answer Jones’ allega
tions at a civil trial. The court will not
consider the merits of her assertions
that Clinton propositioned and fondled
The issue before the justices is
whether presidents should be immune
from civil lawsuits while in office.
Jones’ lawyers want the case to pro
ceed immediately, or, in the alterna
tive, for the justices to order pretrial
depositions and other activity so the
trial can open soon after Clinton’s
term ends in 2001.
The Supreme Court arguments re
vive a case that has received little at
tention since Jones made her allega
tions in 1994. It also is a reminder,
after weeks of media focus on the ethi
cal problems of Republican House
Speaker Newt Gingrich, of the many
legal and ethical questions hanging
over the Democratic president.
At a minimum, the hearing guar
antees a highly embarrassing spectacle
for Clinton as the White House tries
to engineer a week of favorable pub
licity leading up to the Jan. 20 inau
gural festivities.
And if Clinton’s lawyers lose be
fore the high court - a decision is likelj
to come in four or five months - th<
president could be required to answe;
questions under oath about allege<
indiscretions during his tenure as Ar
kansas governor.
It’s the height of hypocrisy on the part of
the women’s groups. They rallied to the
cause of Anita Hill, but in our case, never
a whimper.”
Joseph Cammahata
“It’s not going to cause me any dif
ficulties because I’m going to do my
job,” Clinton said Friday to a ques
tion about the case’s ramifications.
Clinton aides bristle at questions
about Jones and grumble about the
timing. At a time of endless inaugu
ral planning meetings, among those
visiting the White House this week
was Robert Bennett, a $475-an-hour
lawyer representing Clinton.
“The, quote-unquote,' legitimacy’
of that stay will depend, of course,
on what happens in a court of law,”
White House press secretary Mike
r McCurry said last week.
: Clinton and McCurry had little
• choice but to answer questions asked
l at public forums. In striking contrast
- has been the silence of women’s
groups that rushed to Hill’s defense
and predicted that public debate over
the Thomas nomination would
embolden more women to come for
ward with complaints of sexual ha
There has been a heightened sen
sitivity and consciousness about the
sexual harassment problem and the
way in which women are viewed in
society, Kate Michelman, president of
the National Abortion Rights Action
League, said after Hill came forward.
But Michelman, Lichtman and
several other women’s group leaders
involved in the high-profile effort to
block Thomas’ confirmation did not
respond this week to requests for in
terviews about the Jones case. Nor
have any of them objected as male
Clinton supporters portrayed Jones as
money hungry “trailer park trash.”
“One result of this case already is
hat it has exposed the galloping hy
pocrisy of the left in America,” said
Craig Shirley, a Republican activist
and an organizer of the conservative
conference where Jones first publicly
detailed her allegations in 1994.
“I don’t think these groups would
be missing in action if some woman
had made the same allegation about a
Republican president,” Shirley said.
Speaking privately, activists in sev
eral liberal women’s groups that joined
in the anti-Thomas effort acknowledge
internal anguish over how to respond
to Jones’ allegations. Several said her
appearance at the 1994 Conservative
Political Action Committee gives
them cover — enough evidence to
raise the question of whether her alle
gations were motivated by politics.
Some Clinton allies also point to
the political aspirations of a Jones at
torney, Gil Davis, who in addition to
arguing her case before the Supeme
Court is a GOP candidate for Virginia
attorney general.
“In hindsight, maybe it would have
been better if she had chosen a differ
ent forum,” Shirley said. “But no one
seemed to have a problem with Anita
Hill being supported by all these lib
eral groups. In any case, it was not
entirely unsuccessful — Paula Jones
is getting her day in court.”
Mexico trip!
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Two female cadets leave Citadel
Two female Citadel cadets who said
they endured freshman hazing that
included having their clothes set afire
won’t return to the military college.
“The school’s promises to me and
my family that knob life would be
rough but safe were critical to me,”
Jeanie Mentavlos Of Charlotte, N.C.,
said in a statement released by her at
torney. “Because The Citadel broke its
promise, I cannot return.”
While a federal judge had offered
to take steps to assure the women’s
safety “it is apparent to me ... that
while I might be physically safe on
campus, I would not be welcome,”
Kim Messer of Clover said in a simi
lar statement.
The FBI and state police were in
vestigating allegations that, among
other things, male cadets set the
clothes of the women cm fire, sexually
harassed them and put cleanser in
their mouths. Authorities were also
looking into whether death threats
were made against one woman.
Mentavlos’ brother, Michael, a se
nior cadet who helped bring the alle
gations to the attention of authorities,
also announced Sunday he will com
plete his degree requirements else
Two other female cadets who en
rolled last summer, and who have not
made any hazing allegations, returned
to campus.
The women were among the first
four admitted to the college after the
school dropped its all-male admissions
policy, following a U.S. Supreme
Court ruling that a similar all-male
policy at Virginia Military Institute
was unconstitutional.
Citadel spokesman Terry Leedom
said the school would have no com
ment on the departure of the women
until Monday.
A federal judge met privately with
the families of the two female cadets
Thursday and said he was prepared to
provide “reasonable measures” to pro
tect the women’s safety.
He did not say what those measures
were, but the U.S. Justice Department
had asked the judge to send U.S. mar
shals to campus.
A Spring Break alternative ...
March 22-27,1997
LeaderShape Nebraska
LeaderShape Nebraska is an
intensive six-day program
exposing students to various
aspects and issues relating to leadership development. This
is a dynamic, interactive program that affords participants
the opportunity to explore personal characteristics, expand
their leadership knowledge, meet and work with peers, as
well as talk to current leaders of the University and
surrounding community.
Informational Meeting: Nebraska City Union
January 15,1997 11:30 a.m. & 6:00 p.m.
Room will be posted.
Pick up Applications by January 24 @ 200 Nebraska Union,
300 Nebraska East Union, 333 N. 14th St. or 106 Canfield
Administration Building.
1 For more information call
1 Student Involvement @ 472-2454
NebiSskan Jy
Editor: DougKouma
Managing -
Editor: Paula Lavigne
Assoc. Nows <
Editors: Joshua Gillin
Chad Lorenz
Night Editor Anne Hjersman
Opinion Editor: Anthony Nguyen
AP Wire Editor: John Fulwider
Copy Desk Chief: Julie Soljczyk
Sports Editor: Trevor Parks
A&E Editor: Jeff Randall
Photo Director: Scott Bruhn
Web Editors: Michelle Collins
Amy Hopfensperger
FAX NUMBER: 472-1761
The Daily Nebraskan (USPS144-080)
is published by the UNL Publications
Board. Nebraska Union 34.1400 R St..
Lincoln. NE 68588-0448. Monday through
Friday during the academic year, weekly
during summer sessions.
Readers are encouraged to submit
story ideas and comments to the Daily Ne
braskan by calling 472-2588. The public
has access to the PubHcations Board.
Subscription price is $55 for one year.
Postmaster: Send adcfcess changes to
the Daily Nebraskan. Nebraska Union 34.
1400 R St.. Lincoln. NE 68588-0448.
i Second-class postage paid at Lincoln.