Jane Harris Aiken (clinical legal education, evidence, domestic violence, domestic law, child abuse), who is Director of the Civil Justice Clinic at Washington University, St. Louis, has accepted a senior offer from the law school at Georgetown University.
...who have emerged, as Professor Solum now reports: David Gamage has accepted a tenure-track job at the University of California at Berkeley, and Alvaro Santos has accepted a tenure-track job at Georgetown University. Both had multiple offers. The first graduate (last year) of our "emerging scholars program" Sam Buell is now on tenure-track at Washington University, St. Louis. All three are outstanding young scholars, and we have been delighted to have had a chance to work with them here at UT. The UT Emerging Scholars Program is relatively new, but we are off to a good start. Information on applications is available here.
Victoria Nourse (criminal law, legislation, constitutional law, feminist legal theory) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Teemu Ruskola (comparative law, law & humanities, Chinese law, feminist/queer theory) at American University have accepted senior offers from the law school at Emory University. Emory had already established itself as a major center for feminist legal theory when it recruited Martha Fineman from Cornell several years ago.
So wrote Dean Nell Newton of Hastings to me last night, noting that the "discussion" board notorious for its misogynistic, racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic abuse--as well as for the general unwillingness of its administrators Anthony Ciolli (a Penn law student) and Jarret Cohen (an insurance agent) to do anything about it, even when asked directly by victims--has now also become a forum for making jokes about the horrors at Virginia Tech and copycat threats, in this case against Hastings! Dean Newton's message to the law school community yesterday (Wednesday), which she forwarded to me, follows:
As you know, today someone posted on a law-related (sort of) bulletin board a statement that was either a sick joke or a threat related to Hastings, and someone who read the bulletin board called Hastings. Immediately after the post others also posted to the bulletin board condemning the action.
The problem for us, of course was trying to decide how to respond in light of Virginia Tech, the fact that the poster referred to Virginia Tech in the title of the post, and the frayed nerves at all schools in the country, including our own. After consulting with the local police and FBI we decided to cancel classes out of an excess of caution to protect our students, faculty, and staff.
The bulletin board, autoadmit, is controversial and, like many such fora, attracts a great deal of drivel, much of it incredibly offensive. The Washington Post ran a story on the bulletin board in March:
In light of the information we have learned since this afternoon from the police, the self-serving statement below by the bulletin board's administrator, and many other postings to autoadmit regarding the identity of the poster, I am confident that our decision to resume classes tomorrow is the right one. However, I believe it prudent to continue heightened security through the end of the week and ask that you be patient while we check ID's during this period.
Statement on U.C. Hastings Evacuation
by Jarret Cohen on behalf of AutoAdmit
This afternoon, the dean of the University of California, Hastings College of Law, acting on the advice of the FBI, cancelled classes and evacuated the building after becoming aware of a message posted on the AutoAdmit discussion board. An individual has come forward to claim responsibility for that message, and when the FBI special agent in charge of this matter contacted me I put him in touch with this person. My expectation is that this matter will, from this point on, be handled between the poster, the authorities, and the school.
Today someone yelled "Fire!" on AutoAdmit, and some people took his word for it. I don't blame them, given the horrible timing of the comment. Please understand that I run this place the way I do because I believe you deserve the chance to express yourselves openly and freely. But please, don't be stupid. Something said as a flame or a joke - as likely was the case here - may not be interpreted that way by college administrators, law enforcement, or those unfamiliar with the AutoAdmit community.
UPDATE: A Hastings faculty member tells me that the FBI has identified a Boalt student as responsible for the threat; his legal career is presumably finished. Here is the message Dean Newton has sent out to the community:
To the Hastings Community:
Thank you for your cooperation during what has
been a most trying timefor the law school, not made any easier by the
intense media coverage. I have emailed and spoken to many of our students and
want you all to feel comfortable calling or emailing me with your continued
The San Francisco Police Department and, in particular, the
Tenderloin district, under the capable leadership of Captain Gary Jimenez has
been extraoardinarily responsive. We have had increased police
protection, both undercover and uniformed. Our own campus security has also
gone the extra distance to ensure your safety.
As I told you last
night, I believe this incident is over. The FBI has identified the person
responsible and, earlier today, I spoke with Dean Christopher Edley of Boalt,
who has subsequently sent the letter of sympathy set forth below.
will continue heightened security through commencement. Please feel free to
contact me if you have any questions by email or calling
I write to express my deep regret and sympathy to you and the
Hastings community for the anxiety and upset created by the web posting
allegedly authored by a student here at Boalt Hall. Coming on the heels of
the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the posting was in my judgment at the
very best an astounding instance of immaturity, terrible judgment,
and reckless disregard for the welfare of others.
I understand that
federal and local law enforcement officials have completed their "threat
assessment", concluding that the posting was a hoax and that the alleged
author, whom they have identified, does not pose a risk to others. They
continue to investigate whether criminal charges are appropriate. Quickly on
the heels of their investigation, and regardless of its outcome, we at Boalt
will consider what disciplinary proceedings might be appropriate. Of course,
we are also consulting with mental health professionals.
on behalf of the Boalt community, please accept our sympathy and best wishes
as you work through this quickly and heal any wounds the incident has
Christopher Edley, Jr. Dean and
Professor of Law UC, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law
ANOTHER: A Boalt professor sent me Dean Edley's e-mail to the law school there, which correctly noted, that, "Coming on the heels of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the posting was an
astounding instance of immaturity, terrible judgment, and reckless disregard
for the welfare of others." That, of course, sums up the Autoadmit website.
AND ONE FINAL ONE: This is
both funny and apt. Regarding Ciolli and Cohen's standard dishonest
refrain--“We are very strong believers in the freedom of expression and
the marketplace of ideas . . . and almost never censor content, no
matter how abhorrent it may be...The only time you’ll see 20 or so
racist threads on the site is if you proactively search for them"--the
What separates this board from the rest of the usual racist and
sexist tripe that litters the internet is...the board's owners have
pretty much resolved to do nothing about it and even go out of their
way to defend legally dubious statements under the right of free
[T]he truth is that the board is quickly becoming a professional
liability for anyone who actively participates; it’s garnering a
negative reputation far beyond the “social experiment” frame that its
defenders purport. Further, a superficial glance over the topics on the
board show it’s only peripherally related to the law school experience,
as its defenders claim.
Way back when, when the site was “only” under attack for hosting threats of raping and skullfucking classmates, Cohen said:
want it to be a place where people can express themselves freely, just
as if they were to go to a town square and say whatever brilliant or
foolish thoughts they have.”
May he get what he wishes for.
There is a less humorous, but equally good, critique of Ciolli and Cohen's rationalizations here.
I post to ask a favor. I've heard from many readers that when you search Brian Leiter you don't in fact get my law school ranking site as one of the top results, even though you get myblogs, my homepages, and my philosophy ranking site. So, dear reader with a blog, please post a link to Brian Leiter with the hyper-link to www.leiterrankings.com, for the benefit of all those souls in Cyberspace in search of my law school ranking site. Indeed, you can simply copy this post and repost it at your site.
Professor Solum has begun collecting the information here. Please be sure to follow his format for reporting the data. Larry is a saint to do this each year, but make it easier on him by following the instructions! And note that this year he is asking for the hires to be reported in the comments section at his site.