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Japanese Student Says ‘Thanks, But No Thanks’ to Rochester

September 13, 1987

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ A Japanese business student says he bears no ill will toward the University of Rochester, but won’t accept an invitation to return to the school that had rejected him under pressure from Eastman Kodak Co.

Tsuneo Sakai, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Saturday another move would only add to the turmoil of his past few weeks.

″I had a very hard time settling in Boston and finding an apartment,″ Sakai told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. ″If I had to move to Rochester, I would have to do everything all over again.″

Sakai was told last month he could not enroll in Rochester’s William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration this fall after officials of Kodak, a major university benefactor, said they were worried Sakai might steal company secrets.

Sakai is an employee of the Fuji Photo Film Co., Kodak’s major competitor.

The flap attracted international attention when former U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon, for whom Rochester’s business school was renamed earlier this year, criticized the school for caving into ″blackmail.″ More than half the school’s 40 business professors signed a letter of protest.

Sakai said he received an express mail letter from the university Saturday telling him he was welcome to enroll at the school. The executive committee of the university’s Board of Trustees voted last week to invite Sakai back.

Paul MacAvoy, dean of the Simon School, could not be reached for comment on Sakai’s decision.

Sakai said he feels no ill will toward the University of Rochester and is grateful to the business school’s faculty members for their opposition to the university’s initial action.

″I still think the University of Rochester is a very good school,″ he said. ″But I didn’t know the relationship between the university and Kodak was so strong.″

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