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Law School Welcomes Fly Swatter


About a year ago, Lisa J. Schkolnick '88 stepped off a plane in Egypt to begin a year's stint at the American University of Cairo, putting thousands of miles between her and the discrimination complaint she instigated against one of Cambridge's nine all-male final clubs.

Now she's back at the University in the guise of a first-year Law School student. And it seems that the thousands of miles have been replaced with thousands of pages of briefs about whether the elite Fly Club can continue to deny membership to women.

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)--where Schkolnick filed her complaint in December 1988--has still not reached a verdict. Last spring, the commission tabled a Fly Club motion to dismiss the case and announced it would reach a verdict based on currently available information. That decision ended months of legal jockeying between Baker and the Fly Club's attorneys, whom MCAD labeled uncooperative at one point.

Kevin G. Baker, who represents Schkolnick and the student group Stop Withholding Access Today (SWAT), says he has not heard anything from the agency in months. "Who knows?," he says about a date for the decision.

MCAD Commissioner Kathleen M. Allen promises a decision "very shortly," but she has made the same promise several times before in the 18 months since Scholnick filed the complaint.

"I have this dream," says Schkolnick. "One day I'll come home and there will be a crowd of reporters saying, 'You won, you won.' It will be the happiest day of my life."

Meanwhile, Schkolnick keeps waiting. "I'm focusing on being a law student," she says three days into the semester and already bogged down with classes.

But she says that the case has helped ease the confusion a little. "Just the other day in civil procedures class we were discussing what circumstances are needed to get a class action," she says, adding that she then remembered what she had needed to file her own case.

That prompted further comparisons. "Thus far," she says, "law school is less exciting than the Fly case."

But if Schkolnick had visions of waiting for the decision incognito, she has been disappointed. To many of her fellow students at the Law School she is already renowned. She says that when some of them meet her, they exclaim. "Oh my God, you're Lisa Schkolnick."

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