Memory and Human Rights: Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula

On September 29-October 1, 2011, the University of Minnesota Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies will host an “International Symposium: Ongoing Dialogues about Memory and Human Rights: Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.”[1]

The  symposium will address the role that literature, art and film have in the struggles against enforced disappearance, torture, degrading treatment, forced prostitution, human trafficking, violence against immigrants, gender violence, and feminicide. We seek to address the relations between artistic practices and struggles against impunity and between aesthetics and ethics, and to give visibility to current human rights concerns and to the design of practices of memory.

I will be presenting a paper, “The Interactive Global Struggle Against Impunity for Salvadoran Human Rights Violators.”[2]  Other participants and their topics are the following:

  • Jean Franco (Emeritus Professor, Columbia University),“The Ghostly Arts.”
  • David William Foster (Regents’ Professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies, Arizona State University), “Helen Zout’s Desapariciones: Shooting Death.”
  • Ileana Rodriguez (Humanities Distinguished Professor, Ohio State University),“ Operación Pájaro: Expediente 27, 1998. Obispo Gerardi: Enemigo del Estado.”
  • Horacio Castellanos Moya (Escritor, periodista), READING from “Insensatez (Senselessness) y Tirana memoria (Tyrant memory).”
  • Guillermina Wallas (Independent Scholar),“Ciudad y memoria: reclamos de justicia a través de las marcas testimoniales de La Plata (Argentina).”
  • Margarita Saona (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish, University of Illinois at Chicago), “Memory Sites: From Auratic Spaces to Cyberspace in Peruvian Embattled Memories.”
  • Amy Kaminsky (Professor, Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota), “Memory, Postmemory, Prosthetic Memory: Reflections on the Holocaust and Argentina’s Dirty War.”
  • Hernán Vidal (Emeritus Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Minnesota),“Verdad universal: notas jurídicas para una hermenéutica cultural basada en los derechos humanos.”
  • Alicia Kozameh (writer), READING from “Pasos bajo el agua, 259 saltos, uno inmortal, Mano en vuelo,y “Bosquejo de alturas.” Barbara Frey (Program director, Human Rights Program. University of Minnesota),”Forms and Practices of Human Rights Advocacy.”
  • Felix de la Concha (Artist),“Facing Memories: Portraits with Testimonies.”
  • Patrick J. McNamara, (Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Minnesota,“Memory Without Metaphor: Cognition and the Art of Human Rights in Mexico.”
  • Raul Marrero Fente, (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Minnesota),”Ethics and Law in the Inter-American Human Rights System.”
  • Luis Martín Estudillo (Associate Professor, University of Iowa),“The Banality of Torture? Earning Democratic Credentials Under Franco.”
  • Miguel Rep (Artist, cartoonist),“Del derecho humano al humor.”
  • Regina Marques (Professor of Communication Science at the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal (Portugal), Member MDM (Movimento Democrático de Mulheres) , CES (Conselho Económico e Social) and WIDF’s (Women’s International Democratic Federation) bureau), “ Women’s Rights as Human Rights. Vulnerabilities in Portugal and in Europe. The Gap Between the Law and Life.”
  • Javier Sanjinés (Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan),”Estética y Derechos Humanos bajo la Dictadura en Bolivia: el monumentalismo de Fernando Díez de Medina.”
  • Alicia Gaspar de Alba (Writer, Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, English, and Women’s Studies at UCLA), READING from “Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders.”
  • Leigh Payne, (Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies, University of Oxford, Visiting Professor, Department of Political Sciences, University of Minnesota), “The Struggle Against Silence and Forgetting in Brazil.”
  • Alexis Howe, (Assistant Professor, Dominican University), “Madness and Disappearance: El infarto del alma” by Diamela Eltit and Paz Errázuriz.
  • Ofelia Ferrán, (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Minnesota), “Mala gente que camina, by Benjamín Prado: Uncovering the Plot of Franco’s ‘Stolen Children’ in Contemporary Spain.”


[1] Univ. Minnesota, Dep’t of Spanish & Portuguese Studies, International Symposium: Ongoing Dialogues about Memory and Human Rights: Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, http://spanport.umn.edu/news/index.php?entry=297980. The Symposium will be held at the Maroon, Gold and the Gateway Rooms of the McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. For further information contact Professor Ana Forcinito (aforcini@umn.edu) or Jaime Hanneken (hanne045@umn.edu).

[2] An earlier version of this paper was presented at an October 2009 conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has been published (in Portuguese translation) in Memorie e Justica by Brazil’s Museau da Republica (Museum of the Republic).

 

 

 

Chosen To Be a Rhodes Scholar

Cecil John Rhodes

The Rhodes Scholarships were established by the will of Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902), an Englishman who made a fortune in diamonds and gold in South Africa in the late 19th century. His will established the Rhodes Scholarships for English-speaking men from the British Commonwealth and the U.S. A codicil to the will added five scholarships for Germany because its Emperor recently had made the teaching of English mandatory in German schools. Rhodes had a vision of promoting international understanding and peace by providing the common broadening experience of an Oxford education to future leaders who were motivated to serve their contemporaries. [1]

In the U.S. in 1960 an individual to be eligible for the Scholarship had to be (a) a male U.S. citizen with at least five years’ domicile in the U.S. and unmarried; [2] (b) between the ages of 18 and 24; and (c) at least a junior at a recognized U.S. degree-granting university or college. The criteria for selection, as established by the will of Cecil Rhodes, were the following:

  • Literary and scholastic ability and attainments;
  • Qualities of manhood, truthfulness, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
  • Exhibition of moral force of character and of instincts to lead and to take an interest in his fellows; and
  • Physical vigor, as shown by fondness for and success in sports.[3]

The Rhodes Trust in 1960 added the following commentary on these criteria. “Some definite quality of distinction, whether intellect or character, is the most important requirement . . . . The Rhodes Scholar should not be a one-sided man. Thus special distinction of intellect should be founded upon sound character and special quality of character upon sound intellect. . . . Cecil Rhodes evidently regarded leadership as consisting of moral courage and interest in one’s fellow-man quite as much as in the more aggressive qualities. Physical vigor is an essential qualification . . . but athletic prowess is of less importance than the moral qualities that can be developed in sports.”[4]

Those requirements should have been enough to scare away any young man, but many applied even though only 32 are chosen each year in the U.S. In 1960 there were selection committees in every state, and a candidate could apply in his state of residence or the state in which he had received at least two years of his college education.  Each state then nominated two candidates to go to one of eight districts for another round of competition with each district selecting four Scholars.

As I was a resident of Iowa and had gone to college in Iowa, I applied for the Scholarship in Iowa, which was in a District with Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. The application consisted of a written endorsement from the individual’s college or university; your college transcript; a personal essay; and letters of recommendation. I received counsel on my application from George Drake, a former Grinnell Rhodes Scholar (1957-59) who was teaching history at the College in 1960-61 while he was working on his B.D. and M.A. from the University of Chicago. (Later he received those degrees plus a Ph.D. from Chicago. From 1979 to 1991 he was the President of the College.)

My essay reviewed my academic work and extracurricular activities at Grinnell and American University and stated my desire to devote my life to politics and government. “I believe that engagement in the decision-making processes of our nation’s government is a high purpose in life and that educated, intelligent men have a responsibility to society, to their fellow men.” Reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics or PPE at Oxford, I continued, “would contribute to my personal development and to my preparation for a possible future career in government and politics.” (The essay, when read today, is not very scintillating.)

In early December 1960, the Iowa Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee advised me that I was one of the candidates to be interviewed by the Committee on December 14th at an office in Des Moines. The Chairman of the Committee was Paul A. Thompson, who was a Des Moines businessman and not a former Rhodes Scholar. The other members of the Committee, however, were all former Scholars; they were R. B. Patrick, an insurance company executive; Virgil Hancher, the President of the University of Iowa; Dr. D. T. Nelson, Professor of English at Luther College; and Dr. Bille C. Carlson, Associate Professor of Physics at Iowa State University.

On December 14th I joined 10 or 11 other candidates for the interviews. I did not keep a journal of what happened that day, and I do not recall the details of the interview. I really regret this lacuna because this was an important piece of my life and because Rhodes interviews are often known for their off-beat questions. I only have a vague recollection of talking about my Washington Semester experience and learning about Impressionism at museums in Washington. At the end of the day the Committee met with all of the candidates and announced that Bill Hartmann from Iowa State University and I were nominated to go to the District competition.

Three days later Hartmann and I joined 10 other nominees from the other five states in the District for the final interviews. Again the interviews were held in Des Moines. The chairman of the committee and a non-former Rhodes Scholar was W. Harold Brenton, the founder of the Brenton Banks. The other members of the committee, all former Rhodes Scholars, were Mr. Patrick from the Iowa Committee, Professor Emory K. Lindquist of the University of Wichita, Professor Robert M. Muir of the University of Iowa, C. H. Riggs of Pierre, South Dakota, H. A. Gunderson of Fremont, Nebraska and Merrimon Cuninggim of St. Louis, Missouri. Again I do not recall the details of the interview other than the Committee’s announcement at the end of the day that David Ness from Minnesota and MIT,[5] Fred Morrison from Kansas and the University of Kansas,[6]Bill Hartmann[7] and I were chosen Rhodes Scholars.

Thereafter the other new Scholars and I advised the Warden of Rhodes House and Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, E.T. Williams, which Oxford colleges we wanted to attend. I believe I said I wanted to go to Balliol College, which was probably the most prestigious in Oxford. On February 20, 1961, Mr. Williams advised me that he failed to gain my admittance at my preferred college and instead had prevailed upon Worcester College to take me. Worcester, he assured me, would be a great place, and Virgil Hancher, then the President of the University of Iowa, had been there.

I advised President Hancher that I too would be a Worcester man, and he was delighted to receive that news. As I later discovered, I was also pleased to be at Worcester.[8]


[1] Philip Ziegler, Legacy: Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Trust and Rhodes Scholarships (New Haven; Yale Univ. Press 2008)[“Legacy“]; Anthony Kenny (ed.), The History of the Rhodes Trust 1902-1999 (Oxford; Oxford Univ. Press 2001)[“Kenny“]; Office of the American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, http://www.rhodesscholar.org/home.

[2] In 1965 the Rhodes Trustees eliminated the ban on marriage for Scholars in their second year at Oxford, and in 1994, the marriage ban was eliminated altogether. (Legacy at 217-19, 222-23; Kenny at 58-60.) In 1975 the Rhodes Trustees prevailed upon Parliament to include a provision in the new Equal Opportunities Act that would allow the Rhodes Trustees to eliminate any discrimination against women. Immediately thereafter the Trustees asked the U.K. Secretary of State for Education for permission to do just that. The next year, 1976, permission was granted, and women became eligible for the Scholarships. (Legacy at 217-23; Kenny at 66-69.) Before 1975, I was a member of the Minnesota Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee that held an informal interview with a female candidate and that thereafter wrote to the Trustees urging them to seek Parliamentary relief from the terms of the will regarding gender.

[3] Rhodes Trust, The Rhodes Scholarships–The United States of America, 1960 (April 1960).

[4] Id.

[5] David Ness obtained a B.A. (Oxon) in PPE in 1963. He then returned to MIT where he earned a Ph.D. and taught at its Sloan School of Management. While at MIT he worked on Project MAC, the pioneering research project that significantly advanced the development of computer operating systems. In 1973 he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance as a professor of management and later also of decision sciences. He retired from Wharton in the late 1980s and worked as a consultant until 1993. He was the author of books and articles about computer software. In 2006 he died of complications following surgery. (Rhodes Trust, Register of Rhodes Scholars 1903-1985, at 257 (1996)[“Register“]; Obituary:  David Ness, , U. Penn. Almanac (Feb. 28, 2006), http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v52/n24/obit.html#dn.)

[6] Fred Morrison obtained a B.A. (Oxon) in Jurisprudence in 1963, a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He is a Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School after teaching at the University of Iowa School of Law. (Register at 256; Univ. Minnesota Law School, Fred L. Morrison, http://www.law.umn.edu/facultyprofiles/morrisonf.html. )

[7] Bill Hartmann obtained a D. Phil. (Oxon) in Physics in 1965. After being a Research Physicist at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University, where he is a Professor. Hartmann is a noted physicist, psychoacoustician, author, and former president of the Acoustical Society of America. His major contributions in psychoacoustics are in pitch perception,  binaural hearing, and sound localization. (Register at 255; Wikipedia, William M. Hartmann, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_M._Hartmann.)

[8] See Post: Sailing to Oxford (Aug. 29, 2011); Post: Reading PPE at Oxford (June 6, 2011); Post: PPE Examinations at Oxford (June 10, 2011); Post: Oxford’s Lord Franks (June 20, 2011); Post: Celebrating Oxford’s Worcester College’s 700th Anniversary (May 29, 2011); Post: Oxford in New York City (May 17, 2011); Post: Dinner at an Oxford High Table (May 18, 2011).

My Oxford University Years

Worcester College

As a Rhodes Scholar, I was a student at the University of Oxford’s Worcester College for two years, 1961-1963. I studied or “read” Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).[1]

The University traces its beginnings to the late 12th century after foreign-born students were expelled from Paris and Britian’s King Henry II prohibited British students from leaving the country. Many of their teachers congregated in the city of Oxford. Halls like Gloucester Hall (Worcester’s predecessor) and colleges arose from the need for board and lodging for the students. The distinction of being the oldest Oxford college is usually given to Balliol College, which traces its history to 1263, when John Balliol, one of King Henry III’s most loyal Lords, rented a house in Oxford for poor students.

In the early 1960’s when I was there, the University was comprised of over 20 separate colleges. Each has its own history and endowment. Each has its own head and fellows or dons who instructed its students in tutorials. Worcester, for example, had a claim to a 700-year history.[2] Some colleges were wealthy; Christ Church College was, and still is, reputed to be the wealthiest. Others were not so well endowed. These colleges are spread out all over the city of Oxford, and their buildings are used for various university events.

Oxford’s academic calendar is very different from those for U.S. colleges and universities. Oxford has three academic terms, each eight weeks long: Michaelmas in the Fall; Hilary in the winter; and Trinity in the Spring. There are six-week vacations or “vacs” between Michaelmas and Hilary and between Hilary and Trinity Terms plus a 16-week vacation or “long vac” in the summer.

Radcliffe Camera

During the three academic terms, I was focused on preparing for, and attending, two tutorials per week. This meant spending a lot of time in some of Oxford’s many libraries. Most of my time was spent in the ugly New Bodleian Library which was built in the 1930’s and which had the collections focusing on the PPE syllabus. I also spent some time in the library in the beautiful mid-18th century Radcliffe Camera and Worcester College’s own library.

Christ Church Hall

I also went to some of the lectures on PPE subjects. These were held all over the city in different University and college buildings. I especially remember attending a lecture in the dining hall of the majestic Christ Church College or “The House” (The House of Christ). The portrait over the High Table at the end of the hall, where the lecturer stood, was of the College’s founder, King Henry VIII. On the side walls I noticed portraits of some of The House’s many famous “Old Members”(alumni): John Wesley, Charles Wesley, John Locke, William Gladstone and Anthony Eden.

Worcester College Dining Hall
Worcester College Dining Hall

My meals were in the Worcester’s Dining Hall. The food was not very creative or delectable English food. For dinner we were required to wear coat and tie and our academic gowns. When the Provost and dons marched into the hall to have their meal at the High Table, we all stood. Then one of the College’s Classics scholars said grace in Latin. There was a custom that if you talked too much about your work at dinner, you could be challenged or “sconced.” In response, you either had to give an oration in Latin or drink a pint of bitter beer in one gulping or pay for beers for everyone at your table. At most I observed this once in two years, and I was not the subject of the “sconce.” Once a week before I got to the hall for breakfast, I could smell kippers (smoked herring); I turned around and went back to my room.

Life at Oxford clearly centered around life in your college. But there were occasional social events for Rhodes Scholars at Rhodes House, and each Scholar had several one-on-one conversations each year with the Warden of Rhodes House, E.T. Williams. We would discuss how our studies were going and any particular problems we were encountering. The Warden obviously would dispense advice when needed. I often wondered what he noted in his file on me.

Turf Tavern
Trout Inn

Oxford is famous too for its many pubs, and I visited them on occasion. The Turf Tavern on Bath Street was my favorite; I went here for lunch when I was taking PPE Schools. Others in the City were the Mitre on High Street and the Bear near Merton College. Occasionally I went to the bar of the posh Randolph Hotel, which was close to Worcester. (Many years later when my wife and I returned to Oxford and stayed at the hotel, we noticed photographs in the bar of actor John Thaw who played Inspector Morse in the TV mystery series set in Oxford.) North of Oxford was The Trout Inn with views of the spires of the city from its gardens on the Isis River.

Oxford has an active sporting life during the three terms.

For the University teams, the most important accomplishment is playing against its main rival, the University of Cambridge, and earning an Oxford “Blue.” In December it was rugby with the match against Cambridge played at the 82,000-seat Twickenham Stadium in London. In the winter it is basketball. In the spring it is track, cricket and rowing. The Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race is on the Thames River in London in April. The big cricket match against Cambridge is played at Lord’s Cricket Ground near London in July. I am not sure about track, but the first ever four-minute mile was run by Oxford University’s Roger Bannister at the track in Oxford in 1954.

Each college also has its own athletic teams. In Michaelmas Term 1961 I played prop forward for Worcester’s second rugby team; this position is similar to an offensive/defensive lineman in U.S. football. I was not very good.

In Trinity Term 1962 I played cricket for Worcester’s casual team that played teams from nearby villages. I was not very good at cricket either. My most vivid cricket memory concerns driving to a match in an antique and, I am sure, very expensive sports car owned by a Scottish nobleman at the College. As he was turning from the High Street (a major street of Oxford) into a side street (Marsh Lane), a pedestrian who was obviously not a university student was hesitating on crossing the street. The driver stared at the pedestrian and disdainfully said, “Are you going to cross or not?” I cringed to witness this British class snobbery.

Punting on Cherwell River

Another quasi-athletic activity was punting on the Cherwell River before it empties into the Thames River in Oxford. A rather flat boat is propelled by manual use of a long pole, somewhat like the gondoliers in Venice. The punter stands at the back of the punt, half-facing to the side (probably the right). He holds the pole vertically against the side of the punt and lets the pole run through his hands until it touches the riverbed. The pole then is pushed downwards and backwards, gently at first, then more forcefully towards the end of the stroke (because, as your stroke “flattens” and the pole becomes closer to horizontal, less of your energy is going into pushing down into the riverbed, and more into pushing the punt forwards). After Mary Alyce arrived in Oxford in the Fall of 1962, we occasionally went punting.

During the three “vacs,” Oxford students were expected to continue their studies on their own, and I certainly did that. But the “vacs” also provided time to travel. I did that as well as will be discussed in future posts.

University of Oxford
University of Oxford

After learning my way around the city of Oxford, I took special delight in just walking or biking in the midst of these glorious historic buildings and knowing how to get to different places in the lanes and byways. For two short years, I joined the thousands who can claim that they were privileged to have been students at the University of Oxford.


[1] See Post: Reading PPE at Oxford (June 6, 2011); Post: PPE Examinations at Oxford (June 10, 2011); Post: Oxford’s Lord Franks (June 20, 2011). See also Post: Oxford in New York City (May 17, 2011); Post: Dinner at an Oxford High Table (May 18, 2011); Post: Celebrating Oxford’s Worcester College’s 700th Anniversary (May 29, 2011); Post: Celebrating 80th Anniversary of Rhodes Scholarships (May 30, 2011); Post: Celebrating the Rhodes Scholarships Centennial (June 21, 2011).

[2] See Post: Celebrating Oxford’s Worcester College’s 700th Anniversary (May 29, 2011).

Sailing to Oxford

On September 27, 1961, almost all of the 31 other new American Rhodes Scholars and I gathered for a sailing luncheon at the University Club on 54th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Our host was Courtney Smith, the American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust and the President of Swarthmore College. Mr. Smith wished us all well on this next stage of our journey, and we all met one another, most for the first time. (The only one of us who subsequently became well-known was David Souter as Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.)

S.S. United States
Duane Krohnke on S.S. United States

The next day we all boarded the S.S. United States for our voyage to the United Kingdom. For the next five days we met one another one-on-one and in group social occasions and enjoyed the ocean-liner experience.

After a short call at Le Havre, France, we disembarked at Southampton on the south coast of England. We were met by E.T. Williams, the Secretary of the Rhodes Trust and the Warden of Rhodes House in Oxford. He directed us to the motor coach that took us to Oxford where we were dropped off at our respective colleges. Bob Orrill, a Rhodes Scholar from Purdue University, and I were the only ones for Worcester College.

On a beautiful moonlit night the College porter escorted me to my room in the Nuffield Building. He proudly said that Worcester was one of the oldest colleges in the University. This was my introduction to the Oxford and English respect for (and worship of?) antiquity, real or imagined.

Worcester College's 13th century cottages

I was amused by the porter’s comment because I knew from books that Worcester was not one of the oldest colleges. Yes, it still used 13th century Dominican monk cottages, but they were from Gloucester Hall, which was dissolved by King Henry VIII, and only later incorporated into Worcester College when it was founded in 1714.[1]

In Nuffield Building, which was built in 1950, I had a small room on the third floor. The next morning I met my “scout,” the college servant assigned to the men in the rooms on one of the staircases of the building. I now was situated in my home for the first academic year at the University of Oxford.


[1] See Post: Celebrating Oxford’s Worcester College’s 700th Anniversary (May 29, 2011).

My Grinnell College Years

Grinnell College          Residence Halls

I was financially able to attend Grinnell College, 1957-1961, because of its awarding me a full-tuition George F. Baker Scholarship.[1]

The first semester of my freshman year at the College was an intimidating experience. I had excellent, demanding professors: Harold Fletcher for “Introduction to Political Science;”  “Freshman English” with Norman Springer; and “Modern European History” with Samuel Baron. To let the freshmen know how we were doing, we all were given mid-term exams and grades. As a 4.0 valedictorian of my small Iowa high school,[2] I was shocked to have a C+ average at the mid-term. I also was surprised when Professor Baron refused to grant me honors for an extra paper in the history course; afterwards I realized he was correct.

Norbert Weiner

I also was stunned that first semester at the College’s Convocation, “American Culture at Mid-Century,” to hear a speech by MIT cyberneticist, Norbert Weiner. He talked about the parallels he saw in the history of mathematics, on the one hand, and of music and art, on the other hand. This was something I had never imagined. Another speaker was Joseph Welch, the Boston lawyer for the Army in the 1954 McCarthy Hearings. Welch, I discovered, was a Grinnell alumnus (1914) from another small town in Iowa, but I was too timid to approach him with questions.[3]

Outside the classroom that first semester I was in awe of classmates from large, metropolitan high schools (New Trier High School in suburban Chicago was one) and from prep schools who had a much more sophisticated preparation for college and who had been overseas. Gradually I came to realize that those advantages did not automatically make for a better college student and that I could successfully compete with them academically.

By the end of the first semester of the freshman year, I studied harder and significantly improved my grades and made the Dean’s List. I maintained this performance through the rest of my time at Grinnell and was elected to Grinnell’s senior men’s honorary society (the Friars) as well as Phi Beta Kappa.

I majored in history with minors in economics and political science, and I especially recall the excellent teaching and passion for their subjects by Historians Al Jones and Richard Westfall in addition to those mentioned elsewhere. I also took advantage of the College’s Program in Practical Politics to have an internship in the summer of 1960 with the Democratic Party of Iowa.[4] At the time, there was a requirement for two years of a foreign language; I took two years of German. There were also requirements for at least two science courses. In all of these courses, I had excellent professors and always was glad to be at a small college where you developed real, positive relationships with your professors.

John Maynard Keynes
John Kenneth Galbraith

The academic highlight of my Grinnell years was the senior-year Seminar in Political Economy.  A group of 10 students joined Professors John Dawson, Robert Voertman and Philip Thomas from the Economics Department, Harold Fletcher from Political Science and Joseph Wall from History. Together we read John Maynard Keynes’ magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society and a book by a Polish economist, Oskar Lange, The Economic Theory of Socialism. Another work on our agenda was Economics and Action by Pierre Mendes-France, the former French prime minister and a lecturer at Grinnell that semester.

In December 1960 I was chosen as one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars to go to the University of Oxford the following Fall which I will discuss in a separate posting. Just before this unexpected and thrilling honor, however, I had an embarrassing faux pas at the College’s special Boar’s Head Dinner. Modeled after such a dinner at Oxford’s Queen’s College, it featured a fake boar’s head brought into the dining hall on a silver platter by men dressed in red English garb and by special music from the men’s glee club (The Scarleteers). Before the dinner I had attended a cocktail party. At the dinner I felt the effects of the alcohol and just managed to rush to the kitchen where I vomited into an empty water pitcher. (When I returned to the College after the vacation, I was justly fined by the men’s governing council and chastised by the College President, Howard Bowen.)

My major extracurricular activity for my first three years of college was intercollegiate baseball. I was awarded a freshman numeral and letters for the other two years even though I was at best a mediocre player. When I returned for my 10th reunion, the baseball coach said that on the 1971 team I would be Mickey Mantle. This was a commentary on the poor quality of that year’s team, not my ability.

My sophomore year I was a member of the intercollegiate football squad, but I was not fast enough, tall enough or strong enough to have a real position. They tried me at offensive guard, but that meant I was supposed to block much bigger and stronger defensive tackles, something I could not do. I sat on the bench and played on the kickoff team. My accomplishment was lasting the season.

Otherwise I was a quiet, reserved student who was not well known on campus for the first two years. I still saw myself as an outsider.

I spent the next semester (the first of my junior year) on the Washington Semester Program at American University.[5] Enjoying life in a big city and spending time with students from other colleges from across the country boosted my confidence in my abilities to handle new and challenging situations.

Thus, when I returned to Grinnell for the second semester of my junior year, I decided to run for president of student government on a platform of our becoming involved in state and national policies and decisions affecting higher education. Foremost was going on record as opposed to the loyalty disclaimer affidavit for federal scholarships and loans and then advocating nationally for its repeal. I also suggested the student government should be concerned with the College’s admission policy and curriculum as well as changes in dormitory arrangements and adopting a student honor court and system. I won the election, 323 to 300. I then embarked upon one of the most rewarding experiences of my college days.

In the Fall of 1960, I welcomed the opportunity as president of student government to address the incoming freshmen class to let them know that they were an important part of this community going forward. I titled the speech “The Year of the Student.” After reviewing recent student protests around the world and the work of Grinnell’s student government, I challenged them. “Know thyself. Know, value, and honor freedom . . . . Accept others for what they are, accept non-conformists. Meet and get to know students from other lands. Forget exclusive thoughts of personal security and extend your horizons to include the international community of students and the whole world. Ask questions and seek answers. Do all that you can to make your and our education at Grinnell better and thus adopt your part of the burden in our national purpose, the pursuit of excellence.”

In my year as president, the student council adopted a resolution opposing the loyalty oath, and this action and the College’s refusal of funds under the National Defense Education Act of 1958 were recognized with an award from the Iowa Civil Liberties Union. We then advocated for repeal of the oath through letters to government officials, newspapers and other student governments and obtained a similar resolution from a meeting of the Midwest Conference student body presidents. Other important achievements were the following:

  • We formed a National Affairs Committee to coordinate various campus social-political action groups, to bring national issues before the student body and to take stands on such issues. This included study of our students’ interest in the Point-Four Youth Corps (later known as the Peace Corps).
  • We formed a Race Relations Committee to investigate problems encountered by American students taking part in “sit-down” strikes in the South; two members of that committee attended a national student conference on the “Sit-Down Movement.” We sponsored a rally to raise money for the Movement.
  •  We organized a new Faculty-Student Encampment to discuss issues at the College and make recommendations that resulted in the College’s purchase of a bus for student activities and the expansion of the recreation program and consideration of having a one-month reading period in the academic year.
  • We held a constitutional convention that, subject to approval by the College President and Trustees, substantially changed the structure of student government. During the convention, one of the speakers referred to me as “the passive voice” behind many of the suggested changes.

At the end of my year in office an editorial in the campus newspaper commended my “enthusiasm and true leadership qualities” and “the Krohnke spirit.” A columnist for the newspaper said, “A new spirit has entered Grinnell: a spirit of honest evaluation, constructive criticism, open-minded discussion, awareness of our good and bad points as Grinnellians and as people, and interest in the world beyond.” She attributed this new spirit, in part, to “an articulate and clear-thinking Student council president.”

The election of the next student council president started with a convention to select two candidates to run for the office. We had a time limit on nominating speeches. When one speaker had reached the limit, I said as the convention chair, “Just one more sentence.” The speaker was quick on the uptake; he kept talking with the repeated insertion of an emphatic “and” between what were clearly separate sentences. I had to chuckle in the background. Near the end of the convention, as the College annual for 1961 reported, one of the delegates stood and said that I had “done much for Grinnell by filling his office and filling it well.” The report continued, “A convention in standing ovation to our past president; here’s hoping we choose as wisely this time.”

On an October Saturday evening of 1958, after returning to the campus from an out-of-town football game, I went to the college union. I saw a group of freshmen women standing by the jukebox. I went over and asked one of them, a very attractive young woman, to dance. She accepted. Thus started my courtship of Mary Alyce. We dated for the rest of my time at the College. After her graduation in 1962, she came to England and found a research lab job in an Oxford hospital and an apartment with the fiancée of a Canadian Rhodes Scholar. In June 1963 after I finished my examinations, we were married at Oxford’s Manchester College Chapel.


[1] Post: Selecting a College (Aug. 10, 2011).

[2] Post: Growing Up in a Small Iowa Town (Aug. 23, 2011).

[3] Post: Adventures of a History Detective (April 5, 2011).

[4] Post: Encounters with Candidates JFK and LBJ (April 26, 2011).

[5] Post: The Washington Semester (July 11, 2011).

International Criminal Justice: Developments in Spanish Court’s Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests

Over the last several weeks there have been significant developments in El Salvador, the U.S. and Spain regarding the Spanish court’s criminal case against 20 Salvadoran military officers for their alleged involvement in the November 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests. These developments arise out of the May 30, 2011, Spanish court’s issuance of arrest warrants for the 20 defendants on charges of crimes against humanity and state terrorism in planning and carrying out the murders.[1]

After May 30th Spain enlisted the assistance of the International Police Organization or INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization, with 188 member countries, to facilitate cross-border police co-operation and to prevent or combat international crime. INTERPOL in turn issued RED NOTICES identifying the 9 of the 20 defendants believed to be living in El Salvador (the Salvadoran Nine) and their indictment by the Spanish court. (Another RED NOTICE is believed to have been issued for a defendant believed to be living in the U.S.) Such RED NOTICES typically are treated as requests for provisional arrests of the subjects of the notices so that the formal process of requests for their extradition to Spain, in this case, can be made.[2]

El Salvador Developments

In El Salvador, in late July a lawyer for the Nine requested the National Civilian Police (PNC) to not execute the Red Notices on the ground that the crime already had been prosecuted by Salvadoran courts.[3] In addition, on August 7th the Nine turned themselves in to a military base near San Salvador, presumably because of a belief that as former military officers they would have some protection there. That same day, however, the country’s Minister of Defense turned them over to civilian authorities who kept the Nine in custody at one of the country’s military facilities.[4]

Thereafter, the Nine filed habeas corpus petitions with the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court. On August 24th the Chamber rejected the petitions on the ground that there was a request for their extradition to Spain.[5]

Minutes later on August 24th, however, the 15-member Salvadoran Supreme Court decided, 10 to 2, that the RED NOTICES for the Nine only served to locate people accused of crimes by another country. The Notices did not authorize arrests. That could happen only if there were a formal extradition request, and no such request had been received by El Salvador. If Spain in fact made an extradition request, the court would consider it.[6]

The reaction to the decision within El Salvador was predictable; those who supported the military were happy; those who wanted to see justice for the Jesuits were disappointed.[7]

In response to the Salvadoran Supreme Court ruling, a Spanish court official has said that Spain cannot issue a formal extradition request to El Salvador for the Nine because Spain has not been notified that they are under arrest. The Spanish court, therefore, has asked El Salvador to clarify the legal status of the Nine after the Salvadoran court’s August 24th ruling. [8]

Does this leave the issue at an impasse? El Salvador will not authorize an arrest because there is no extradition request, and Spain will not or cannot issue extradition requests because there are no arrests?

Meanwhile in El Salvador, the controversial Decree 743 that required the Constitutional Chamber of its Supreme Court to act unanimously has been repealed.[9]

U.S. Developments

On or about August 19th defendant Montano was arrested in Virginia on charges of lying to U.S. immigration officials in applying for Temporary Protected Status in the U.S.  On August 23rd he made an appearance at a federal court in Massachusetts, where he had been residing. The next day he was released on a $50,000 bond and confinement to his sister’s house with electronic monitoring. Apparently there has not yet been a RED NOTICE for him.[10]

Earlier (in July) Senators John Kerry, Tom Harkin, Patrick Leahy and Barbara Boxer jointly signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting the U.S. to cooperate fully with the Spanish court in this case. The response from an Assistant Secretary of State said the U.S. was monitoring the case and would give any Spanish request for assistance the appropriate consideration.[11]

Spain Developments

In Spain, lawyers for the Nine apparently have decided that offense is the best defense. They have filed charges in the Spanish court alleging that the Spanish judge, Valasco Nunez, acted illegally in the May 31st arrest orders for the 20 Salvadoran former military officers. The basis for the charge is the prior Salvadoran criminal case regarding the murders of the Jesuits, the Salvadoran amnesty law and its statute of limitations barring any such charges at this time. The attorneys also are considering a charge of defamation against the Spanish judge.[12]

Conclusion

As this discussion indicates, the story is far from over. Further developments in this case are expected in all three countries.


[1]  See Post: International Criminal Justice: Spanish Court Issues Criminal Arrest Warrants for Salvadoran Murders of Jesuit Priests (May 31, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: The Spanish Court’s Criminal Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 15, 2011).

[2]  INTERPOL, http://www.interpol.int/default.asp; Arauz, Dada & Lemus, Interpol arrest warrants processed 10 Jesuit Salvadoran military case, el Faro (July 29, 2011), http://www.elfaro.net (Google English translation). In addition to the RED NOTICES for the nine officers believed to be living in El Salvador, another was issued for Rene Emilio Ponce, who died in May 2011. (Id.)

[3]  See Post: International Criminal Justice: Salvadoran Criminal Prosecution of the Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 8, 2011).

[4] Center for Justice & Accountability, Press Release: Salvadoran High Commanders Responsible for Jesuit Massacre in 1989 Under Custody in El Salvador (Aug. 10, 2011); Tim’s El Salvador Blog, Officers indicted for Jesuit murders surrender (Aug. 8, 2011),______     ;

[5] Gonzalez & Perez, Supreme Court in the event benefited the Jesuit military, diario colatino (Aug. 25, 2011) (Google English translation).

[6] Id.; Assoc. Press, Salvadoran Supreme Court refuses to detain men charged in 1989 killings of Jesuit priests, Wash. Post (Aug. 24, 2011); Released in the Salvador to military courts in Spain by death of Jesuits, lapagina.com (Aug. 25, 2011) (Google English translation).

[7]  General Zapeda,”national sovereignty has prevailed and has restored peace to the country, lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011) (Zapeda is one of the defendants) (Google English translation); Perez, Munguia Payes, “an episode closes, whatever comes later, lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011)(Payes is Defense Minister) (Google English translation); Calderon, Rodolfo Cardenal, “The decision was somewhat expected, because,” lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011)(Cardenal is former UCA vice chancellor) (Google English translation); Guzman, Siegfried Reyes: “El Salvador has a large debt tp truth and justice, lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011)(Reyes is President of the Legislative Assembly) (Google English translation).

[8] Sainz, Spain seeks El Salvador clarification on suspects, Miami Herald (Aug. 25, 2011); Assoc. Press, Spain Seeks El Salvador Clarification on Suspects, N.Y. Times (Aug. 25, 2011).

[9] Tomorrow Decree 743 will be history, diariocolatino (July 28, 2011). See Post: El Salvador’s Current Controversy over Its General Amnesty Law and Supreme Court (June 16, 2011).

[10] Arsenault, War crime suspect found in Everett [Massachusetts], Boston Globe (Aug. 17, 2011); Assoc. Press, Salvadoran accused in Jesuit deaths held in Mass., Boston Globe (Aug. 23, 2011); Assoc. Press, Suspect in Jesuit deaths out on immigration charge (Aug. 24, 2011); Arsenault, War crimes suspect in house arrest in Saugus [Massachusetts], Boston Globe (Aug. 25, 2011); Aragon, Military accused of slaughter in the U.S. Jesuit was arrested while fleeing to Mexico, elfaro (Aug. 25, 2011) (Google English translation).

[11] Arsenault, War crime suspect found in Everett [Massachusetts], Boston Globe (Aug. 17, 2011);

[12]  Lemus, Military sue Spanish judge to reverse the Jesuit case, elfaro (July 31, 2011) (Google English translation); Aguilar, Military accused of slaughter in Spain by Jesuits are delivered to the army, elfaronet (Aug. 8, 2011). See Post: International Criminal Justice: Salvadoran Criminal Case Regarding the Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 8, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: El Salvador’s General Amnesty Law and Its Impact on the Jesuits Case (June 11, 2011).

 

 

Employer’s Lawsuits Against Former Employees

Employers frequently get involved in lawsuits with former employees. That was not the primary focus of my legal practice, but I did represent former employees in two interesting cases. One was brought by  Green Tree Acceptance, Inc. of St. Paul, Minnesota. The other, by Surgidev Corporation of Goleta, California, already has been discussed.[1]

John Wheeler was an employee of Green Tree from 1977 through October of 1984. At the time, Green Tree was the largest U.S. company in the business of mobile home financing. Wheeler towards the end of his career with the company was its executive vice president and a member of its board of directors. In 1983 he entered into a written employment agreement and noncompetition agreement with the company, but in October 1984 he and the company agreed to a termination of his employment and, he testified, a release from the noncompetition agreement. In May 1986 Wheeler became the president and CEO of another company based in San Diego, California that was involved in financing mobile homes.[2]

In September 1986 Green Tree sued Wheeler for breach of the noncompetition agreement in Minnesota’s federal court.[3] In October 1986 the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction barring Wheeler from working for his new employer. The next month (November 1986) the case went to trial before Judge James Rosenbaum and a jury. The jury’s special verdict found that the noncompetition agreement had terminated before Wheeler went to work for his new employer. Accordingly the district court denied Green Tree’s motion for a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict and entered judgment in favor of Wheeler.[4]

Green Tree then appealed, and in October 1987 the appellate court reversed the judgment because of its conclusion that the district court erroneously had submitted to the jury the issue of whether the noncompetition agreement was still in effect. Accordingly the appellate court remanded the case to the district court for a new trial.[5] Soon thereafter the case settled.

This was one of those unfortunately rare cases in which the opposing lawyers were professionally civil with each other while simultaneously vigorously contested the case. I, therefore, commend Green Tree’s lawyers, Peter Hendrixson and David Lauth of the Dorsey & Whitney law firm and Rick Evans, Green Tree’s General Counsel.


[1] See Post: Intraocular Lenses Litigation (Aug. 18, 2011).

[2] Green Tree Acceptance, Inc. v. Wheeler, 832 F.2d 116 (8th Cir. 1987).

[3]  See Post: Minnesota’s Federal Court (June 28, 2011).

[4]  832 F.2d 116.

[5]  Id.