Higher Education

Photo: Stuart Rainson/AP/Wide World Photos

NYU’s reputation as a party school is about to be burnished. Late this summer, after members of Bill Clinton’s legal team paid visits to the office of law-school dean and university president-elect John Sexton, the campus was alive with rumors of Bubba’s imminent arrival – some even believed that Sexton might make him dean of the law school (ironic, as Ken Starr is an adjunct faculty member).

Now Clinton’s Harlem office has confirmed that the former president will lecture at NYU this fall. He also plans to speak at the London School of Economics and at Oxford, where Chelsea is doing a postgraduate stint and where, as one critic put it, he “didn’t inhale, didn’t get drafted, and didn’t get a degree.”

Clinton’s press secretary, Julia Payne, also says that “extraordinary offers” from Harvard and Columbia are pending. (“I heard he ruled out Columbia at first,” says a Clinton friend, “because Gore was there.”)

“It’s obvious that Clinton does genuinely take a great deal of pleasure in the company of the young,” notes Oxford professor Alan Ryan. “But chatting over dinner, he made it quite clear he expects to make a colossal amount of money very fast. He said that Bush’s tax cuts would be ‘good for people who are as rich as I’m about to be.’ “

So Professor Clinton is strictly part-time. “Right now,” says Clinton friend and former Mattel chairman Bill Rollnick, “he needs dough. When I talked to him about being mayor, he practically flung me out the window.”

Sexton, who advised Clinton in office, met stiff resistance when he tried to schedule lectures for the former president last spring, but now the problems seem to be forgotten – if not forgiven. “He certainly won’t be the worst teacher on the faculty,” gripes one law professor, “but ethical standards are important, and Clinton will have a hard time projecting that.”

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Higher Education