March 14, 2016
Berkeley law grads, apparently having learned nothing about due process during their legal education, call for ex-Dean Choudhry to be fired from his tenured faculty position
This is really disgraceful for a bunch of alleged adults and lawyers, to call for the firing of a tenured faculty member based on a university investigation and a complaint, the latter of which is obviously not an adequate basis on which to base any conclusions. I agree that the university investigation should have been sufficient to remove him from his role as the Dean, but the demand that he be fired from Berkeley "in any capacity" is shocking. (The letter states: "As long as Choudhry remains at Boalt or the University of California in any capacity, we cannot in good conscience contribute financially to Berkeley Law or to the University." Ordinarily, everyone would recognize the inappropriateness of alumni making financial threats unless tenured faculty are fired.)
As a law professor in the UC system wrote to me:
Keep in mind we do not know what actually happened. The Title IX proceeding gives the respondent no procedural rights. He is not allowed to examine witnesses or to hear their testimony. Sujit's admission is to violating a policy that did not require a finding that he knew or should have known his conduct was offensive. The process and findings are confidential because the process is intended to err on the side of the complainant, and to permit quick remediation of the situation.
Was there an offense adequate for the revocation of tenure? Perhaps, but right now, we have no idea, and the Berkeley law graduates should be embarrassed by their contempt for process and fairness.
ANOTHER: And now the Chancellor of the UC System, a politician not an academic, has ordered Berkeley to begin proceedings that could lead to dismissal of the former Dean from his tenured faculty position. At least there will be a process of some kind.
March 10, 2016
Via Twitter (this is about 1:30 pm CST)--a formal announcement is expected later today.
UPDATE: This news clip includes an interview with the victim of the sexual harassment.
ANOTHER: This announcement has gone out to faculty and staff at Berkeley:
UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has accepted the resignation of Sujit Choudhry, as dean of the university’s School of Law, effective immediately.
Under the University of California’s tenure policy, Choudhry remains a member of the school’s faculty at present.
Chancellor Dirks and Provost Steele said:
"We believe the dean’s resignation is an outcome in the best interests of Berkeley Law and the university as a whole. At the same time we are under no illusion that a resignation could or even should bring this matter and broader, related issues to a close. It is clear, as we heard during our meeting with law school faculty this morning, that the initial decision not to remove the dean from his position is the subject of legitimate criticism.
We can and must do better as a campus administration. We must move in the direction of stronger sanctions, and in doing this we want and need the broad input of the campus community.
We are sharply focused on this issue and committed to ensuring a supportive and safe environment for every single person on this campus. We will act quickly to generate action that will produce lasting change in our culture and practices.
Tomorrow we will be reaching out to faculty leaders for their help in quickly putting all of these commitments into motion.
The statement that "Choudhry remains a member of the school's faculty at present" (emphasis added) is a bit ominous. While the finding of a violation of the sexual harassment policy seems warranted, and should have been sufficient to have removed him from the Deanship, is the Administration implying that this might constitute a firing offense from a tenured position?
March 09, 2016
I'm going to start adding untenured laterals--i.e., those moving from one tenure-track position to another at a different school--to my list. The reason I had excluded them in the past was a carry-over from the academic philosophy context: junior laterals rarely matter for prospective PhD students. But the audience for the laterals list in law is largely faculty, rather than prospective students, so I might as well include them too. Please feel free to e-mail me about such moves.
UPDATE (3/9/16, 4:30 pm CST): A San Francisco reporter tweets that Dean Choudhry will take "an indefinite leave of absence."
ANOTHER: Now confirmed by the Berkeley student paper. (Thanks to Kevin Gerson for the pointer.)
AND ANOTHER: Berkeley's report on Dean Choudhry.
February 29, 2016
February 25, 2016
His diatribe is amusing, though for the record I think that anyone who runs a regression on what Rawls thinks should be fired! (Also, Steve, no one is interested anymore in what
Dworkin said--that's just a UCLA thing!)
February 22, 2016
Provocative piece from Bloomberg News, prompted by a recent paper by Lynn LoPucki (UCLA). We've certainly seen this already in some sub-fields: e.g., first-generation law & economics scholars were almost all JDs, while the current generation are almost all JD/PhDs. The rise in expectations for scholarly writing from junior faculty candidates over the last twenty years has strongly favored those with PhDs, who, of course, have a lot of writing in hand. And some of this is simply attributable to the revolution in legal scholarship wrought by Richard Posner in the 1970s, which finally finished off the Langedellian paradigm of legal scholarship.
Although I'm quoted saying that the rise of JD/PhDs will continue, that's a descriptive not normative statement. I think different schools have different missions. And the relevance of the JD/PhD varies by field. We have ten current junior faculty, only four of whom are JD/PhDs. Our Dean is a JD/PhD, our two most recent tenures were one JD/PhD and one JD (who had even been a partner in a major law firm). We placed three Chicago candidates at "top" law schools this year, two were JD/PhDs, one a "mere" JD. I think my prediction is an accurate one--and at other top schools it's already come true--but it will be another twenty-five years before it is realized at the top law schools generally.
February 13, 2016
Justice Scalia has passed away unexpectedly; there's a brief NY Times notice here. [ed.--it was originally brief, now much expanded]. Prior to his appointment to the DC Circuit, and then the Supreme Court, he was a law professor, first at the University of Virginia, then at the University of Chicago. I will add links in due course as more becomes known.
ADDENDUM: Predictably, the debate has already turned to the politics of Justice Scalia's replacement, and for obvious reasons. But will anyone dare say openly why this is such a contested issue?
ANOTHER: A remembrance from my colleague Geoffrey Stone.
AND MORE: A longer memorial notice from Chicago.