Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Three Finalists for Wisconsin Deanship...

...described here on a blog by Wisconsin LawProf Ann Althouse, who asks for "comments" from her readers, who then proceed to trash and insult the candidates for Dean of her school!  Wow!   

(Thanks to a colleague at Wisconsin for the pointer.)

UPDATE:  A colleague elsewhere writes:

[A] quick thought on Althouse’s post on the Wisconsin Dean finalists: the comments not only were negative on the candidates (as you note), but degenerated into a cesspool of vile misogyny and homophobia (not only multiple calling Margaret Raymond a token “diversity” candidate, but multiple posts opining that she should get the job only if she has “big tits” and speculating that she’s a lesbian).  Isn’t Althouse at risk of letting her blog turn into AutoAdmit?  She has the free speech right to run whatever cesspool she wants, but is she prioritizing her desire for a widely read blog over her obligation to be a responsible member of academia? I’d prefer not to say this for attribution...only because I’m a prof at [another law school] where Margaret Raymond was named a Dean finalist too – but that’s part of why I’m so offended on her behalf; she’s a fantastic and impressive woman who deserves far better than a professor (Althouse) at a school where she’s a finalist (Wisconsin) hosting this sort of festival of misogyny and homophobia.

ANOTHER (5/14):   Apparently the Althouse blog site has been down, for reasons unknown, though the link will presumably come back to life.  In any case, my correspondent, above, gives the flavor of the comments.  Meanwhile, the current Wisconsin Dean did send out the following e-mail to the law school community:

At today’s faculty meeting, the faculty expressed concerns with the derogatory comments about the three dean finalists recently posted on a blog. In response to our discussion, I wish to share the following statement:

Like the rest of the Law School community, I was extremely impressed with the caliber of the applicants to be the next Dean of our school, and believe that each of the three finalists would be an outstanding Dean.

That makes it all the more unfortunate that a few individuals have used a blog maintained by one of our own faculty members to post scurrilous comments about the finalists. To the best of my knowledge, none of the individuals posting these comments claims to have any connection to our school or university. We are appalled by these remarks. Kathie Hendley and I have communicated this to each of the finalists.

Given the tenor and nature of the blog comments, I believe that a public response is inappropriate and might give the comments more weight than is warranted.

Please continue to share your thoughts and concerns with me. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the law school community.

AND YET ANOTHER:   Google's Blogger service apparently went beserk yesterday, and is still not fully back in service, but the original thread from the Althouse blog is here.   It turns out that Professor Althouse apparently believes the Blogger crash is part of a plot!

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2011/05/three-finalists-for-wisconsin-deanship.html

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