Friday, May 25, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Skeptical academics and journalists reject Koch-Brothers-backed claims of "free speech crisis" on campus (Michael Simkovic)
Following up on my previous post,
"The purpose of media exaggeration of incidents at universities appears to be to discredit universities in the eyes of conservatives, libertarians, and moderates. The anti-university campaign is working. . . . Republican resentment toward universities is evident at the national level. Recent legislation increased taxes on universities while leaving other 501(c)(3) educational organizations such as think tanks unscathed.
The anti-university campaign appears to be supported by a network of organizations funded by wealthy conservatives and libertarians including the Koch Brothers. [At Koch-network funded events for conservative and libertarian professors and graduate students across the country] UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, encouraged attendees to push the envelope in expressing controversial conservative and libertarian views on campus, draw the ire of their university administrations and progressive students, and document the incidents for him so that he could publicize them . . . . Volokh has publicly advocated video surveillance of hecklers (“never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake … but always videotape him”) and using internet publicity to inflict “libertarian-approved-pain [on] university administrators.” Volokh also advocated suing universities. . . .
The Koch Brothers’ funded Goldwater Institute, seized on the non-event at CUNY to push legislation to turn state universities into passive distribution channels for propaganda, expel protestors (and perhaps people who simply ask pointed questions), centralize control in the hands of political appointees, strip financial resources, encourage frivolous lawsuits, and monitor and intimidate university officials, professors, and students. . . . Versions of Goldwater’s proposal have already been enacted in Wisconsin—where Republicans effectively eliminated tenure protections for professors at the state university—and in North Carolina, where Republican political appointees shuttered a law school center dedicated to studying poverty (see also here) and crippled the Civil Rights Center (here and here)."
Erwin Chemerinsky and co-authors of the Report of the Chancellor’s Commission on Free Speech at U.C. Berkely wrote:
U.C. Berkeley “spent nearly $4 million—during a time of severe fiscal duress—on security costs for [disruptive speeches by far-right provocateurs in] September 2017 alone. . . . This is not sustainable [given Berkeley’s] $150+ million deficit. . .
Many Commission members are skeptical of [Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter]’s commitment to anything other than the pursuit of wealth and fame through the instigation of anger, fear, and vengefulness in their hard-right constituency. Speech of this kind is hard to defend, especially in light of the acute distress it caused (and was intended to cause) to staff and students, many of whom felt threatened and targeted by the speakers and by the outside groups financing their appearances.”
[Excessive financial costs were imposed on U.C. Berkeley and the taxpayers of California] by “very small groups of students working closely with outside organizations” as “part of a coordinated campaign to organize appearances on American campuses likely to incite a violent reaction, in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.”
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
The lawyer has to be able to read English because, even though the possible defamer is in Vienna, the defamation is in English. Recommendations gratefully received: bleiter-at-uchicago-dot-edu.
May 23, 2018 | Permalink
These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2018 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in. (Recent additions are in bold.) Last year's list is here. Feel free to e-mail me with news of additions to this list.
*Kerry Abrams (immigration law, family law) from the University of Virginia to Duke University (to become Dean).
*Richard Albert (constitutional law, comparative constitutional law) from Boston College to the University of Texas, Austin (effective January 2018).
*Hilary Allen (financial regulation, corporate) from Suffolk University to American University.
*Albertina Antognini (family law, property) from the University of Kentucky to the University of Arizona (untenured lateral).
*Olufunmilayo Arewa (intellectual property, international trade, entrepreneurship, law & technology) from the University of California, Irvine to Temple University.
*Mario Barnes (constitutional law, criminal law, national security law, race & the law) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of Washington (to become Dean).
*Joshua Blank (tax) from a professor of practice position at New York University to the University of California, Irvine.
*Khaled A. Beydoun (constitutional law, civil rights, torts) from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law to the University of of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
*Binyamin Blum (legal history, evidence, criminal procedure) from Hebrew University, Jerusalem to the University of California Hastings (effective spring 2018) (untenured lateral).
*Jeremy Bock (intellectual property, civil procedure) from the University of Memphis to Tulane University (untenured lateral).
*William Boyd (environmental law, energy law) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of California, Los Angeles.
*Samuel Bray (remedies, property, constitutional law) from the University of California, Los Angeles to the University of Notre Dame.
*Emily Bremer (administrative law, legislation, civil procedure) from the University of Wyoming to the University of Notre Dame (untenured lateral).
*Jennifer Chacon (immimgration law, constitutional law, criminal law & procedure) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Los Angeles.
*Anupam Chander (law & technology, international trade) from the University of California, Davis to Georgetown University.
*Stewart Chang (family law, comparative law) from Whittier Law School to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
*Jessica Clarke (sexual orientation, gender & law; employment discrimination; constitutional law) from the University of Minnesota to Vanderbilt University.
*Frank Rudy Cooper (criminal procedure, civil rights, race, gender & law) from Suffolk University to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
*Seth Davis (administrative law, federal courts, federal Indian law, fiduciary law) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Berkeley.
*Diane Desierto (public and private international law) from the University of Hawaii to the University of Notre Dame (School of International Affairs).
*Melissa J. Durkee (international law, transnational law, corporate) from the University of Washington, Seattle to the University of Georgia.
*Atiba Ellis (election law, civil rights, race & the law) from West Virginia University to Marquette University.
*Victor Fleischer (tax, corporate law) from the University of San Diego to the University of California, Irvine.
*David Franklyn (intellectual property, law & technology) from the University of San Francisco to Golden Gate University.
*Nuno Garoupa (law and economics, comparative law) from Texas A&M University to George Mason University.
*Brandon Garrett (criminal procedure, civil rights) from the University of Virginia to Duke University.
*Andrew Gold (private law theory, fiduciary law, corporate) from DePaul University to Brooklyn Law School.
*Philip Hackney (tax) from Louisiana State University to the University of Pittsburgh.
*Victoria Haneman (trusts & estates; tax) from Concordia University (Idaho) to Creighton University (untenured lateral).
*Christopher Holman (intellectual property, law & biotechnology) from the University of Missouri, Kansas City to Drake University.
*Robert Jackson, Jr. (corporate law) from Columbia University to New York University (though he will be on leave initially while serving on the SEC).
*Dalié Jiménez (bankruptcy, consumer law) from the University of Connecticut to the University of California, Irvine.
*Kristin Johnson (financial markets, corporate) from Seton Hall University to Tulane University.
*Michael Kang (election law) from Emory University to Northwestern University.
*Orin Kerr (criminal procedure, computer crime law) from George Washington University to the University of Southern California (effective January 2018).
*Robert Knowles (civil procedure, national security law) from Valparaiso University to the University of Baltimore (untenured lateral).
*Eugene Kontorovich (constitutional law, federal courts, public international law) from Northwestern University to George Mason University.
*Rebecca Kysar (tax) from Brooklyn Law School to Fordham University.
*Jill Wieber Lens (torts, products liability, remedies) from Baylor University to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (effective January 2018).
*Sheldon Bernard Lyke, (property, trusts & estates, critical race theory) from Whittier Law School to Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law (untenured lateral)
*Suzette Malveaux (civil procedure, civil rights, complex litigation) from Catholic University to the University of Colorado, Boulder.
*David Marcus (civil procedure, administrative law, complex litigation) from the University of Arizon to the University of California, Los Angeles.
*Margaret Sova McCabe (food & agriculture law) from the University of New Hampshire to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (to become Dean).
*Khrista McCarden (tax) from Pepperdine University to Tulane University (untenured lateral).
*Jeremy R. McClane (corporate, securities, commercial law) from the University of Connecticut to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (untenured lateral).
*Justin McCrary (law & economics, empirical legal studies, corporate) from the University of California, Berkeley to Columbia University.
*Agnieszka McPeak (torts, law & technology, privacy) from the University of Toledo to Duquesne University (untenured lateral).
*Curtis Milhaupt (Japanese law, East Asian legal system comparative corporate governance) from Columbia University to Stanford University (effective January 2018).
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
We are indebted, as always, to Professor Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) for compiling it yet again. A few striking data points: total rookie hires increased from 62 last year to 75 this year; I was expecting more like 80, but perhaps the small pool of candidates led some schools not to hire at the end of the day. 56 schools did hire, up from 42 last year. Barring a war or economic catastrophe, I expect the upward trend in both total hires and the number of schools hiring to continue, given the stabilization, indeed, increase, in the applicant pool. (You can see details about the Chicago placements this year here.)
Friday, May 18, 2018
I recently wrote about the evolution of economics--and law & economics--from fields that focused on assumptions and priors to fields that emphasizes data, causal inference, and scientific objectivity. Many law professors and aspiring academics share my enthusiasm for Albert Einstein's vision of universities as “Temples of Science”, but are unsure of how to acquire or sharpen the technical skills that will make them effective empiricists.
Bernard Black at Northwestern runs extremely helpful and practical summer workshops that I highly recommend. The quality of Professor Black's workshops easily justifies the cost. (There are free law & economics workshops--and some that will even pay you a stipend to attend--but from what I have seen, these tend to present non-empirical methods and political view points).
Details about Professor Black's workshop are available below the break.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Following up on my previous post, When do donor influence and ideology undermine academic integrity?
The progressive activist group whose efforts forced George Mason to disclose some old grant agreements has created a petition asking George Mason to disclose all of its grant agreements. This echoes recommendations made by the Faculty Senate at George Mason following revelations of improprieties in grant funding, such as politically discriminatory compensation supplements for economics and law faculty who promoted an economically conservative agenda, consistent with the views of wealthy donors.
There are numerous other examples of improprieties, such as university based researchers working to advance the interests of the sugar industry or certain tech companies without proper disclosures.
Should George Mason disclose all of its grant agreements? Should universities more generally? Should think tanks and news organizations be held to the same standards of transparency?
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
NYT columnist Roger Cohen has the details. Columbia faculty are calling on President Bollinger not to open a Columbia affiliated Center in Israel, given uncertainty about which Columbia faculty will actually be permitted to travel there. American law professors have signed an open letter condemning the deportation of Professor Franke.
ADDENDUM: Here is a letter from Israeli law professors and the list of signatories: Download Franke letter English final
UPDATE: Columbia's Dean, Gillian Lester, kindly wrote to me and invited me to share the following:
Monday, May 14, 2018
- Universities face serious threats to academic freedom from outside pressure groups
- Some Donors have made demands that can undermine university provision of unbiased, high-quality research
- Accommodating ethically questionable Donor demands can undermine public confidence not only in individual researchers, but in entire institutions and even in the broader academic enterprise
- Stronger, more secure, and more stable funding for universities—without strings attached—would help insulate universities from undue pressure by outside groups
- Universities should work together to secure their financial and intellectual independence, articulate clear ethical standards, and enforce those standards
I recently documented efforts by a well-organized network of libertarian and conservative academics, advocacy groups, and media organizations to foster resentment toward universities and then gain control over them, under the pretense of supporting free speech. These efforts continue a decades-long assault on higher education, and have been remarkably effective at tarnishing universities’ reputations. This has paved the way for legislation that further undermines universities’ intellectual and financial independence.
A complementary threat to academic integrity comes from powerful outsiders exploiting universities’ financial needs to leverage relatively small donations into enduring influence over faculty, curriculum and student life. Such money-for-influence arrangements could alter what research gets produced, and by whom.
Outside funding can increase research output and impact in media and policy circles. It can fund great research that might not have been produced otherwise. But funding under inappropriate terms risks undermining the central and unique role that universities play in society as providers of high quality, reliable, and unbiased information. This could quickly destroy the goodwill and trust that universities painstakingly cultivated over decades (in some cases, for centuries).
This issue has come to a head recently with press coverage of some financial relationships and recently disclosed contracts between conservative and libertarian donors (including foundations and re-granting organizations funded by the prominent Koch family) and George Mason University. Much of the controversy relates to a libertarian / free-market embedded think tank at George Mason, The Mercatus Center, which provides supplemental compensation and resources to GMU’s economics faculty and some law faculty members, as well as opportunities to produce commissioned research on timely policy issues. Through Mercatus, the university has received tens of millions of dollars in donations.
GMU faculty members’ chances of obtaining funding and resources apparently did not depend exclusively on an unbiased assessment of their intellectual rigor and academic contributions, but rather appear to have depended at least in part on the political implications of their research. In contravention of academic ethical norms, donors had substantial influence over which faculty members would receive compensation supplements known as “chairs” or “professorships.” Donors maintained control through representation on selection committees, evaluation committees, rights to recommend removal of chair holders, gift rescission rights, and key-man clauses for senior executives, including the dean of the law school.
“The objective of the Professorship is to advance the . . . acceptance and practice of . . . free market processes and principles [as] promot[ing] individual freedom, opportunity, and prosperity . . . The occupant of the Professorship (“Professor”) shall . . . be qualified and committed to the forgoing principles.”
Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors said “When you start getting into a study of free enterprise then you’re really, I think, stepping into a territory where you’re promoting a political agenda.” Donors may specify a topic of study or type of expertise for a holder of a chair; but they should not specify the chair-holder’s politics.
Critics say Mercatus’s ideologically based funding tips the playing field at GMU in favor of the production of economically right-wing scholarship and the retention of economically right-wing scholars and instructors. Neither Mercatus nor GMU appear to have imposed any limits on the fraction of a faculty member’s total annual compensation that could come from non-state sources such as Mercatus. This is unusual—many funders and universities worry that too much outside funding creates the appearance of impropriety. At least one prominent member of the GMU faculty with a Mercatus affiliation derived over 40 percent of his compensation in 2016 from “non-state” sources, according to public records.
Without supplemental compensation from Mercatus, GMU faculty compensation appears to be uncompetitive with comparable institutions. Thus, working at GMU may not have made sense financially for economists or law professors who were unlikely to obtain Mercatus compensation supplements—i.e., those whose scholarship might support increases in taxes, an expansion of public investment or social insurance, or more stringent regulations of business. At least one moderate economics faculty member says that she “carefully chose [her] research so it wouldn’t be objectionable” to her more conservative colleagues.
Friday, May 11, 2018
$25 million from one alumni couple and another $18.9 million in matching gifts in their honor. UVA Law already has the fifth largest (gross) endowment among U.S. law schools.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Congratulations to the Chicago Alumni and Fellows on the teaching market who accepted tenure-track jobs
It was a good year to be looking for a tenure-track teaching job, and almost all our candidates had multiple tenure-track offers this year. Here are the two JD alums and the various Fellows we were working with this year, all of whom got tenure-track positions; they are:
Deepa Das Acevedo ’16 who will join the faculty at the University of Alabama. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2013 and her J.D. cum laude, also from Chicago, in 2016, where she was Articles Editor of the University of Chicago Legal Forum. Most recently, she was a Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Her teaching and research interests include labor and employment law, ERISA, torts, and comparative law (especially Indian).
LaToya Baldwin Clark who will join the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is presently the Dickerson Fellow at the Law School. She received her M.A. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, her Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University in 2014, and her J.D., also from Stanford, that same year. She clerked for Judge Claudia Wilken on the Northern District of California and for Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court, before coming to Chicago in 2016. Her teaching and research interests include civil rights, family law, employment discrimination, criminal law, and property.
Sheldon A. Evans ’12 who will join the faculty at St. John's University. At the Law School, he was a member of the University of Chicago Legal Forum and joined Gibson Dunn as a litigation associate in Los Angeles upon graduation. He subsequently clerked for Judge Lavenski Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit before returning to Gibson Dunn. His teaching and research interests include criminal law & procedure, immigration law, professional responsibility, contracts, and civil procedure.
Brian D. Feinstein who will join the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School. He received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2009 and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2012, where he was Articles Editor of the Harvard Law & Policy Review. He clerked for Judge John Tinder on the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and was an associate for three years with Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, where he served as outside counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, among other matters. His teaching and research interests include administrative law, legislation, financial regulation, property, civil procedure, and empirical legal studies.
Hiba Hafiz who will join the faculty at Boston College. She is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School. She received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2007 and a J.D. from Columbia University in 2010, where she was the Notes & Submissions Editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. She clerked for Judge José Linares on the U.S. District Court for New Jersey and then for Judge Juan Torruella on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She was a litigation associate, focusing on antitrust, with Cohen Milstein in Washington DC for three years before coming to Chicago. Her teaching and research interests include labor and employment law, antitrust, business associations, contracts, and administrative law.
Dorothy Shapiro Lund who will join the faculty at the University of Southern California. She is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School. She received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard in 2013. She practiced with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, and then clerked for Judge Leo Strine on the Delaware Supreme Court and Judge Joel Flaum on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit before coming to the Law School. Her teaching and research interests include corporate law, securities regulation, contracts, financial regulation, and corporate finance.
One additional Fellow is still weighing some excellent offers; I'll update this list when that decision is made.
Monday, May 7, 2018
University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter joins the long list of people to be defamed by Alan Dershowitz
Friday, May 4, 2018
The recent tax records show that school’s 88-year-old founder, Thomas Brennan, a former Michigan state Supreme Court justice who stepped down as Cooley’s president in 2002, has continued to be paid more than $329,000 a year as an emeritus professor even though he works only five hours a week. An audit released last year revealed that under his contract, Brennan is entitled to receive a salary “based on two times the salary of a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, plus certain other benefits, until his death.”
The school said Brennan was also unavailable for an interview. He has continued to speak out publicly, however, through his “Old Judge Says” blog, in which he offers commentary that might easily be perceived as anti-Islamic, homophobic and radically insensitive. In a 2016 post, he remembered with affection the blackface minstrel shows of his youth. He recalled how he and his brother performed in local minstrel shows in the Detroit area, “our faces blacked to the teeth.”
“In these days of political correctness, the whole idea of minstrelsy seems preposterous,” he wrote. “But the truth is that minstrelsy was fun.”
Other blog posts have criticized the move in Southern states to remove the statues of Confederate Army generals from public spaces. “Political correctness is running amuck,” he wrote. “The Civil War did in fact occur. And there were good people on both sides.” He has labeled Islam “a primitive belief system which comingles [sic] religious doctrine with civil law.” He described the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage as “evil.” The decision, he said, meant that “our beloved nation will slide further toward Armageddon.”
Quite a racket the old parochial bigot has going!
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Monday, April 30, 2018
A well-organized campaign to bait, discredit, and take over universities is exploiting students and manipulating the public (Michael Simkovic)
- Many lectures about “free speech” are not really about “free speech,” but rather are intended to provoke a reaction that will discredit universities.
- When such reactions occur, many news stories about them are created, shaped, and disseminated by a well-funded network that wants to transform and take over universities.
- Students, professors, administrators should not take the bait; nor should journalists.
After a violent attack on civil rights protestors that left three dead and more than a dozen injured at the University of Virginia, students and administrators at Vassar became concerned when they learned that William Jacobson was coming to defend racism. Jacobson’s libertarian hosts advertised his lecture as “‘Hate Speech’ is Free Speech, Even After Charlottesville.” Jacobson’s previous racially charged comments and dubious assertions earned Jacobson the admiration of White-nationalist websites such as V-Dare (see also here), the John Birch Society’s New American, and Breitbart news.
But Jacobson’s much-hyped lecture turned out to be a superficial and innocuous discussion of free speech, at the level of a high school civics class. Jacobson’s prosaic lecture was not news worthy. Instead, the press focused on student and university officials’ purported over-reactions to a talk about “free speech.”
Similar stories abound. Recently, the Federalist Society invited Josh Blackman, a tenured professor at South Texas College of Law Houston’s, to lecture at CUNY law school. Professor Blackman’s sparsely attended lecture drew protestors because of Blackman’s previous criticism of an amnesty program for undocumented immigrants and his use of language the protestors interpreted as racial dog whistling.
A university official asked the students to be respectful, defended Blackman’s right to speak, and admonished the students “please don’t take the bait.” One student noticed Blackman recording himself and asked Blackman, “You chose CUNY didn't you? Because you knew what would happen if you came here." (CUNY, like Vassar, has a reputation for left-wing student activism). Blackman deflected the question. One protestor used an expletive, which Blackman repeated.
According to both Blackman and CUNY, the protestors were non-violent. Security was present to maintain order. Blackman—tall and muscular—towered over the students and appeared calm throughout the exchange.
Right-wing journalists hyped up the incident, labelling the largely minority protestors a “mob” and “hoodlums.” A law professor writing for the Volokh Conspiracy blog at Reason Magazine argued that the CUNY Dean should be fired. White Nationalist websites such as Breitbart, New American (the John Birch Society), and VDare lionized Blackman as a hero. Blackman seized the opportunities that resulted, scoring an Op Ed in the New York Daily News.
Professor Blackman’s claim that student protestors at CUNY denied him a platform is ironic. It is precisely because of Blackman’s right-wing connections and the brief protests they engendered that Blackman was given a platform at the National Review, Fox News, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Reason, Inside Higher Ed, FIRE, Campus Reform, Cato.org, Commentary, First Amendment Watch, The College Fix, and The Global Dispatch, SeeThruEdu (The Texas Public Policy Foundation) among others. Many of these organizations are part of the Koch Brothers’ backed State Policy Network.
The purpose of media exaggeration of incidents at universities appears to be to discredit universities in the eyes of conservatives, libertarians, and moderates.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
It's striking that the Deans of the very top law schools (there are 18 for those keeping count, not 14 as the dumb-dumbs indoctrinated by USNews.com believe) are now almost 50% female: Yale (Gerken), Stanford (Magill), Columbia (Lester), Virginia (Goluboff), Duke (incoming, Abrams), Northwestern (incoming, Yuracko), UCLA (Mnookin). Just on the cusp of the top 18 schools, you find three more female Deans (Richardson at Irvine, Staudt at Wash U/St. Louis, O'Rourke at BU).