In 1982, the Dartmouth Review, a conservative weekly newspaper run by students at the Ivy League college, received national media attention upon publication of an article entitled, "Dis Sho' Ain't No Jive, Bro.''
Written in an approximation of ghetto dialect, the article was a satiric swipe at affirmative action and a slur on the verbal abilities of black students. It was widely denounced as racist.
Six years later, the article's author, Keeney Jones, is still penning political broadsides--as a speechwriter for Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.
A sample passage from Mr. Jones' early work reads thus:
"We be bucoo riled, bro. Dem whites ... be sayin' 'firmative action ain't no good fo' us cause it be puttin' down ac'demic standards. Dey be spouting 'bout how 'firmative action be no hep to black folk 'cross the nation, on account we be not doin' too well.''
Another passage complained that "the 'ministration be slashin' dem free welfare lunches for us po' students. How we 'posed to be gettin' our GPAs up when we don't be havin' no food?'' it asked. "And who be mouthn' 'bout us not bein' good read? I be pracenticly knowin' Roots cova to cova, til my mine be boogying to da words!''
Secretary Bennett's spokesman, Loye W. Miller, said Mr. Bennett knew Mr. Jones had worked at the Review when he was hired, but had not read the infamous "jive-talk'' article.
Mr. Miller said he did read it recently, after Mr. Jones and the Review were mentioned in a public-television documentary on campus racism.
"I don't approve of it--at all. Neither does Keeney Jones now that he's 27 years old instead of 19,'' Mr. Bennett said, according to Mr. Miller.
Mr. Jones also worked for Donald T. Regan when he was Secretary of the Treasury.
Mr. Bennett last week offered a job to another conservative who suddenly found himself unemployed--Terry H. Eastland, a friend of the Secretary who was fired as chief Justice Department spokesman by Attorney General Edwin Meese 3rd, reportedly for not defending him aggressively enough.
Mr. Miller said no specific position was discussed, and that Mr. Eastland had not decided whether to accept the offer.
Secretary Bennett recently repeated his criticism of the Chicago public schools--which he had deemed the worst in the nation--and added that the St. Louis schools may be even worse.
He told Chicago reporters that St. Louis spends more per pupil than Chicago while recording lower test scores.
St. Louis officials criticized the remarks as "irresponsible'' and based on insufficient information.
Mr. Bennett told the Associated Press last week that he may eventually throw his hat into the Presidential ring.
"Right now, if I were going to run for anything in the future, I'd want to run for President,'' he said, adding: "After watching some of the people in the race for the Presidency, I could do that well.''
Mr. Bennett has talked at various times about a senatorial or gubernatorial race, and has been touted as a possible Vice Presidential candidate in 1988.
But he recently announced a planned September departure from the Administration amid reports of a rift between him and Vice President George Bush, the all-but-certain Republican nominee. The Secretary said he planned to write a book and hit the lecture circuit.
Mr. Bush, meanwhile, received some negative publicity last week for remarks he made at a predominantly Hispanic school in Los Angeles.
Critics accused him of "racial insensitivity,'' but the school's principal says his comments were "grossly distorted.''
The Los Angeles Times quoted Mr. Bush as telling students at Garfield High School--which employs the calculus teacher Jaime Escalante, the subject of the movie, "Stand and Deliver''--that they "don't have to go to college to achieve success.''
"We need those people who build our buildings, who send them soaring to the sky. We need the people who run the offices, people who do the hard physical work of our society,'' Mr. Bush reportedly said.
The speech was reported nationally after both Democratic Presidential candidates used it as ammunition.
Principal Maria Tostado, however, said Mr. Bush's remarks were inaccurately quoted and taken out of context.
"What he did say is that those of you who are not planning to go to college should do your very best in whatever you choose to do,'' Ms. Tostado said, "whether it's putting up skyscrapers or whatever.''
"Seventy percent of our students go on to college, but 30 percent don't,'' she said. "He mentioned the 70 percent and mentioned the others, too.''
Ms. Tostado said she was not a Republican but was "very impressed''
by Mr. Bush, who asked her about the importance of federal programs to
her school and promised to push for more aid for college students.