More DePaul drama. According to Brian Leiter, The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin is reporting that Provost Helmut Epp, who recently came under fire for appointing Illinois Judge Warren Wolfson as interim dean without faculty consultation, is at it again. This time, Epp has appointed Judge/Dean Wolfson to a three-year term, again without faculty consultation.
This is a violation of ABA rule 205[b]:
"The dean and faculty shall formulate and administer the educational program of the law school, including curriculum; methods of instruction; admissions; and academic standards for retention, advancement, and graduation of students; and shall recommend the selection, retention, promotion, and tenure (or granting of security of position) of the faculty."
Prof. Leiter also notes that he has been told that this new development "also violates the internal rules of the law school and all historical practice at the school."
In other news of law schools possibly flagrantly violating ABA regulations, Above the Law reported that a Michigan Law grad has issued a complaint to the ABA regarding Michigan's Wolverine Scholars program, which gives any Michigan undegrad with a 3.8 GPA automatic admission to the law school so long as they don't take the LSAT. US News padding, much?
The Chicago Tribune reports that the American Bar Association has dismissed a complaint against DePaul university that resulted from concerns about the school's financial affairs, which were first raised by now-fired Dean Glen Weissenberger.
The ousting of Dean Weissenberger resulted in some pretty serious backlash from both students and faculty, who hit Facebook to organize campaigns on his behalf. These campaigns included the publication of minutes from faculty meetings on the issue.
From the Chicago Tribune story:
"The university released a report Monday from the American Bar Association, the accreditation agency for law schools, that concluded the central administration provides sufficient funds to the law school.
The funding of the law school became controversial in June when the school’s dean, Glen Weissenberger, complained to the ABA that the university had breached a 2004 agreement that guaranteed the college of law 75 percent of the “net tuition” in any given year. His memo also charged that the administration had provided inaccurate information about the revenue-sharing agreement to the ABA’s accreditation committee.
On June 18, two days after Weissenberger sent the letter to the ABA, the university fired him. The administration appointed Illinois Appellate Judge Warren Wolfson as interim dean."
"Today, with state revenues having plummeted faster and further ... we simply can't afford
Irvine's law school.
Odds are, with the California economy doing even worse than the nation as a whole, we have
even less need for extra lawyers than we did when the (California Postsecondary Education Commission)
rejected the Irvine proposal back in 2006.
convinced that UC Berkeley and UCLA will come out of the current
troubles in excellent shape. We have great alumni whose support
continues to grow despite the economy. But I see no reason
for the state to spend a dime on Irvine.
Kill it now and put the money
to better use, such as helping reverse some of the cuts to
While the justice department is still trying to figure what to do with John Yoo - the UC Berkeley law professor and former Bush administration lawyer who drafted memos that endorsed torture - "The Chaser's War on Everything" took a less veiled approach ... by donning hoods.
The Australian comedy show sent an actor to one of Yoo's law classes wearing a black robe and hood reminiscent of the hoods worn by prisoners in the Abu Ghraib scandal photos and videotaped Yoo's reaction to the hooded figure.
John Yoo: Talk about, um, constitutionality. Any questions on how this works?
Hooded figure (standing on table with arms held out to his sides as in the Abu Ghraib photos): Actually, professor, I’ve got one question. Um, how long can I be required to stand here ’til it counts as torture?”
Yoo - who moves to end the class early - is made visibly uncomfortable by the presence of the figure. I imagine it was something like ol' Ebenzer Scrooge getting a visit from the ghost of Christmas past.
Unlike Scrooge, who was moved by images of his youthful folly, however, Yoo dismisses the actor and threatens to have him removed from the classroom.
The actor's response?
Hooded figure: OK. I’ll just go to the human rights class down the road, professor. I think you probably won’t be teaching there.
"It struck me as a heinous violation of the sanctity of a classroom and
a hostile invasion of a place I consider home. It felt more like an
attack than a joke. More than that, I felt bad for Y*o. I don't agree
with his opinions on executive authority, but all he was trying to do
that day was teach. I could sense his shame at being forced to end the
course over something that had so little to do with his job at Boalt.
It seemed like his sins were being visited upon his students, which
strikes me as unfair no matter how terrible the sin. For lack of a more
eloquent term, the whole thing just seemed gross."
I'm not sure I agree with the whole "sanctity of the classroom" bit. The classroom is where you should be free to give birth to muck: the still-gestating, half-formed bits of opinion that may or may not survive out in the "real world". (I know you're thinking it so I'll say it: It's kind of like a blog).
In the classroom, one should have those opinions confronted and attacked by forces inside and outside the classroom; whatever doesn't kill them, should makes them stronger. In the classroom, one should be exposed to ideas, both agreeable and disagreeable, with one's world view, which I think the hooded dude represented.
Rather than call it an "attack" or even a "joke," to use an overused phrase in child development books, it could have been but was a wasted "teaching moment".
The news isn't new (full tuition scholarships for the inaugural class, traditional grades but no class rankings) and overall the video is pretty promotional in nature. It is interesting, however, to see Chemerinsky's enthusiasm despite criticism over the funding poured into the new school, and 1L Luke Boughen's exclamations that he applied to UCI because he thought it would be "the perfect place."
One of the things I'm most excited about for the new school year is how UCI and Chemerinsky will play innovation against a down market and low student morale. Can he keep his kids enrolled and trucking?
With pay cuts on the way, most University of California law professors won’t be happy puppies come fall.
But to hear two law deans tell it, students will hardly notice a thing (unless, we’re guessing, the professor ranks start thinning).
The UC Regents voted today to endorse UC President Mark Yudof’s proposal to cut all UC staff and faculty salaries by 4 to 10 percent and force them to take furlough days for the next academic year.
Two Boalt faculty have said that smart organizations choose layoffs over across-the-board pay cuts. Robert Cooter and Aaron Edlin propose in an L.A. Times opinion piece today that layoffs can help a bloated organization get rid of deadwood, while salary cuts encourage the best to leave.
Dean Michael Schill at UCLA's law school admits that no one is excited about these developments. Most of its professors will see a reduction in their pay ranging from 8 percent to 9 percent. According to tables from the UC finance committee, salaries in that range fall between $90,000 and $240,000. [Salary tables can be viewed here (.pdf)]
Asked whether he worried this will make some bolt to better-paying jobs, Schill said he’ll do whatever it takes to hang on to professors and attract new ones. “They know that I’m committed to competitive salaries,” he said. “I am committed that this will just be a blip.”
As the entire UC system deals with an $813 million hole in state funding, Schill and Boalt Dean Chris Edley maintain that students' services and programs will be spared.
Both say alumni have stepped up. Schill said UCLA law has just wrapped up its second most successful fundraising year. “Alumni understand that the only way we will be competitive with our peer institutions will be through philanthropy,” he said.
Edley says Boalt’s also in better shape than other Berkeley schools because the school’s in the fourth year of raising tuition to be closer to market.
“Our $120 million construction project, with no state support, continues apace, but in other respects we are tightening our belts in ways that will protect the student experience and sustain our competitiveness,” Edley wrote in an e-mail yesterday. “This is tough, but not frightening.”
When the U.C. Irvine School of Law opens its doors to its inaugural class this August, it will duke it out with the Chapman University School of Law for the title of Orange County's top law school.
And while it may take time to see who comes out victorious in the law school rankings battle, the schools have already gained experience fighting it out through their respective deans.
That's because U.C. Irvine School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Chapman School of Law dean John Eastman are frequent guests -- dubbed the "Smart Guys" -- who engage on lively discussion on the syndicated radio show of Hugh Hewitt, who is also a constitutional law professor at Chapman.
You can listen to their discussion over the wisdom of the Obama administration prosecuting former Bush officials over the torture memos here.
If live debate is more your cup of tea, you can see Chemerinsky and Eastman in August reenact the historic 1944 Korematsu v. United States case, which upheld placing Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II.
"The Aug. 13 event is the first in a series to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the creation of California's Court of Appeal, and has been named the John G. Gabbert Historic Oral Argument and Lecture series. A retired appellate justice and key figure in Riverside's development in the 20th and 21st centuries, Gabbert recently celebrated his 100th birthday. He is expected to join the 4th District, Division Two justices as they hear the arguments.
... 'Revisiting the oral argument in Korematsu is a sensitive undertaking, but one with an important purpose,' Presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez of the 4th District, Division Two, said in a statement.
Many court rulings 'have been good, even great decisions progressively realizing the founding fathers' ideals of due process, equal protection and liberty. But there also have been bad decisions, decisions that in retrospect represent retreats in the overall advance toward these goals,' Ramirez said in the statement."
After the arguments, Chemerinsky and Eastman are set to discuss the case and the War Powers Acts.
Today, more than 1,000 legal brains from law schools across the country sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing their support for the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor to the highest court in the land, according to the SCOTUS Blog.
In the letter, Sotomayor is lauded for her work as a federal judge and certain soft factors she brings to the table, which are best summed up by UC Irvine School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky in an opinion published in the LA Times in May:
"Sotomayor has a life story unlike anyone who ever has sat on the
Supreme Court. She will be a wonderful role model for girls, Latinos,
those with lifelong serious illnesses and children being raised by
families of modest means. She will bring all of this to the bench, and
the Supreme Court will be much better off for it."
Other law deans and professors agreed. Here's a bit from the letter, which was signed by - in addition to Chemerinsky - professors and deans at the University of Berkeley School of Law, Yale Law School, Stanford Law School and Harvard Law School, among others.
"As a federal judge at both the trial and appellate levels, Judge Sotomayor has distinguished herself as a brilliant, careful, fair-minded jurist whose rulings exhibit unfailing adherence to the rule of law. Her opinions reflect careful attention to the facts of each case and a reading of the law that demonstrates fidelity to the text of statutes and the Constitution. She pays close attention to precedent and has proper respect for the role of courts and the other branches of government in our society. She has not been reluctant to protect core constitutional values and has shown a commitment to providing equal justice for all who come before her.
... Judge Sotomayor will bring to the Supreme Court an extraordinary personal story, academic qualifications, remarkable professional accomplishments and much needed ethnic and gender diversity. We are confident that Judge Sotomayor’s intelligence, her character forged by her extraordinary background and experience, and her profound respect for the law and the craft of judging make her an exceptionally well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court and we urge her speedy confirmation."
I have considered your oral and written requests that I resign my appointment as Interim Dean of the College of Law. I respectfully decline. You said in your letter that harm has been done to the law school's good name. If so, the best way to repair the damage is to let go of whatever has occurred and work with me to enhance the school's future. I assure you my first and only priority as interim dean will be to build on the accomplishments I inherit and to work to elevate the law school's standing in the national legal community. I will need the wholehearted cooperation, advice, and support of the faculty. All of it. When it comes time to sleect a permanent dean the faculty will, as President Holtschneider has promised, "play a full and traditional role in the search for a new dean." I made only one commitment when I accepted the appointment. I said I would do my best to make this a law school the students and alumni can be proud of. With your help, I will keep that promise.
No movement yet on the various Facebook groups created to support ousted Dean Weissenberger.
The faculty over at University of Illinois has been busy with a letter-writing campaign, as well. A three-page letter to the Chicago Tribune, criticizing the paper for, er, over-criticizing the school made its way onto the paper's opinion pages. U of I recently made news when its law school's admissions office was revealed (by the Tribune) to be engaging in preferential admissions policies that resulted in the admission of underqualifed politically-connected students.
The letter insists that preferential admissions happen at many public universities (stating that none of the signers had ever worked at a university where they didn't happen), and even charges the Chicago Tribune to deny that its senior staff has never used the paper's reputation to assist in gaining a golden ticket to a university.
The letter is co-signed by 16 faculty and staff, and has been identified (by me) as an "angry missive."