He's Baaaack, OR: Still bothersome after all these years
Richard Nixon went to law school here. When he became president, they hung his portrait. When he was impeached, they took the portrait down and threw it in a closet. For years, the only trace of Trickey Dickey here was a small, black-and-white photograph of the class of '37, grouped on the steps of the old building over on the main quad, in which Nixon's face is a silver nitrate blob on the back row. The photo hangs inconspicuously on the fourth floor of the library, behind a block of study carrels.
In the early nineties, the building was renovated, and Nixon's portrait was discovered. Politics having changed, the picture was rehung, in a lobby area outside the front doors of the library. But perhaps politics, at least very locally, had not changed enough, and the portrait was loaned - basically permanently - to the Senate office building in Washington.
Now, ten years later, there is to be an event, a lecture and discussion, of Nixon's legacy and its effects on the law school. And this has inspired a student to raise a fuss to get the portrait back. He wrote an open letter to the Dean, and gave every member of the faculty a copy, and posted one on a bulletin board. He claims he has asked the Dean about the portrait, and she was evasive. He demands that the portrait be returned. He is a liberal Democrat, and cannot stand censorship of any sort. Finally, he makes the bold statement that Nixon is his brother, as a former student of this law school.
I question the student's sincerity. Last spring, the same fellow ran for student government. His platform was, simply, that his financial aid check had been late, his landlord had taken him to small claims court for not paying rent, and he was hopping mad. Believe it or not, there was another candidate with a more preposterous platform: that one was going to have escalators installed.
I didn't expect a lot to result from the open letter. But, earlier, I was walking out of the library, and in the lobby area outside were the Dean and the head of the library, standing there with their arms crossed. The Dean uncrossed her arms and gestured towards a wall, "Is it visable there?" and she turned to another wall, and again gestured, "Is it visable there?"
Further developments will be reported as they occur.