POLITICS: Entrance Examination

"When a politician talks, a dean listens." That, according to Dr. Joseph DiPalma, dean of Philadelphia's Hahnemann Medical College, is the way some would-be students endorsed by legislators get into professional schools—at least those schools heavily supported by the state. Normally, no one is the wiser, but this month a federal trial in Philadelphia threw unexpected light on what apparently has been a time-honored custom. Herbert Fineman, 56, the powerful speaker of Pennsylvania's house of representatives, was found guilty of obstructing justice during a U.S. probe into admissions practices of Philadelphia's medical and graduate schools.

Federal prosecutors introduced letters Fineman...

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