December 09, 2019

Wealthy Penn Law alumnus protests treatment of Amy Wax

He's partly right, and partly very wrong and confused about academic freedom.  He's correct that it is part of the Kalven Report's vision of the university that it is not the job of administrators to take sides on substantive questions addressed by faculty; this is why I objected to Dean Ruger's criticism of Professor Wax's (admittedly idiotic and insulting) statements about immigration.   (I get to express my opinion because I'm not her Dean or Provost etc.)    However, it's absurd to think that "academic freedom" protects a faculty member's right to denigrate the competence of an identifiable segment of the student body at her school, as Professor Wax did.  Professor Wax, like any faculty member, is free to dispute the merits of affirmative action in admissions; she is not free, however, to disclose the academic performance of her students.  As I noted at the time, Dean Ruger's sanction (removing Professor Wax from a mandatory 1L course) was a mild one; he would have been justified in adopting more severe sanctions.  Given this alum's confused understanding of academic freedom (not to mention student privacy), it is probably just as well he is no longer involved in university governance.


December 9, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

December 04, 2019

Jonathan Turley (George Washington) is not "the second-most cited law professor in the country"...

as The New York Times misleadingly reports today; indeed, he's not even one of the ten-most cited members of the GW law faculty.   On Professor Turley's website (the source for the NYT claim), the context was clearer:  in Judge Posner's 2003 book Public Intellectuals, Turley was the second-most cited law professor due almost entirely to references to him in the media.  On the other hand, he is poised to soon displace Alan Dershowitz as the "most-cited law professor by Donald Trump"!

UPDATE:  This is not atypical of the reception accorded Professor Turley's performance today.


December 4, 2019 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

November 22, 2019

Another academic administrator who doesn't understand her job

Eric Rasmusen is a business professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, who has been a well-known "right-wing nut" (to use the techincal term) on social media for many years.  One of his recent tweets (less obnoxious than some of his others, actually) attracted a lot of attention, leading Provost Lauren Robel to issue this statement.  (Professor Rasmusen's response is here.)   Provost Robel is a lawyer, indeed, the former Dean of the Law School.   Her job is not to attack members of her faculty, however stupid or foolish they may be; her job is to uphold the constitutional rights of faculty (which she professes she will do) and insure compliance with anti-discrimination laws, among other tasks.  We've seen these kinds of mistakes by administrators before, but it's especially disappointing when a lawyer and law professor make them.   For an extended discussion, see this CHE column of mine from a few years ago.

ADDENDUM:  What should Provost Robel have said in response to the media outcry?   This would have sufficed:   "Professor Eric Rasmussen of the Business School speaks only for himself, not for the University.  The First Amendment protects his speech, whether or not the University or members of the public agree with it.  The University will continue to insure that all faculty comply with anti-discrimination laws in the classroom."  It would have taken more courage, and more commitment to the ideal of a university, for Provost Robel to have kept it this brief, but that would have made all the relevant points.

 


November 22, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

November 18, 2019

More on Poland's persecution of Sydney law professor Wojciech Sadurski...

November 12, 2019

Northwestern's Steven Calabresi has not covered himself in glory...

...with this bizarre opinion pieceThese twitter responses are representative, and his colleague Steven Lubet has written at greater length about this.


November 12, 2019 in Faculty News, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things | Permalink

October 28, 2019

Law blogging with impact: the case of voting rights

Our current Bigelow Fellow Travis Crum blogged about how to protect voting rights after SCOTUS's decision in Shelby County (the Wall Street Journal even noted his contributions in 2014).  Now the House Judiciary Committee has voted out a law essentially adopting Crum's proposals!  Impressive!

 


October 28, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 14, 2019

Accused Dan Markel hitman convicted...

...but jury deadlocks on his ex-girlfriend and accused intermediary in the murder-for-hire plot.   One interesting detail reported here is that Mr. Garcia, convicted of the murder, had a run-in with Charlie Adelson about two weeks before the murder over Adelson's involvement with his ex-girlfriend.


October 14, 2019 in Faculty News | Permalink

October 08, 2019

Was Wendi Adelson, Dan Markel's ex-wife, involved in the murder-for-hire plot?

Last week, we noted Jason Solomon's view that Ms. Adelson was not involved, but others increasingly disagree I've learned.  The Blog Emperor has a useful account of the evidence adduced so far at trial (with links), and a law professor elsewhere wrote to me the other day summarizing the circumstantial case against Ms. Adelson as follows:

Lacasse [Adelson's ex-boyfriend] testified this week that five days before the murder Wendi was acting very strange, she asked if she can share something confidential with him, he said sure and she told him about Charlie [her brother] looking into a hit man. Then they had a fight he went home and she asked him not to contact her for exactly a week. Five days later Dan was murdered. The day he was murdered, and she testified on that on Friday, she had a flurry of phone calls with the family and contacted Dan right before the murder, I guess to verify his plans. Then her mom set up a tv repair guy to come to Wendi’s house the exact time of the murder, presumably as an alibi. TV was also the code name used in the taped discussions between Donna [Wendi's mother] and Charlie on the hit and how Wendi presented to the investigators her brother’s repeated ‘joke’ about a tv being cheaper than a hit.

 

And then, Wendi admits, she drove just after the murder by the crime scene (which was far from her house) and purchased a “buliet” vodka for a party. Lacasse also testified that she told him she and Charlie went on a celebration dinner after the murder. She herself lied on the stand on several things and the prosecution was able to demonstrate those lies. On top of all this, Luis Rivera, the hit man who confessed, was on the stand this week saying that he and the other hitman saw Wendi in talahassee and his partner in crime told him it’s her for whom they are committing the crime. Not sure how believable that exact statement is but there were pictures presented by the prosecution of Katie [girlfriend of the other hitman, and ex-girlfriend of Charlie Adelson] and Wendi at the beach together, and timeline of Wendi spending a lot of time in Miami just before the murder.

This is all info publicly gained from the trial and I think the sentiment in the blogosphere/sites following the case that there is mounting evidence at this point.

I have not been following the trial, or the evidence, carefully enough to have an opinion of my own, but readers can follow the links at the Blog Emperor's site for more information.

 


October 8, 2019 in Faculty News | Permalink

September 25, 2019

Danielle Citron (Boston University) is a 2019 MacArthur Foundation Fellow...

...along with 25 others.   Congratulations Danielle!


September 25, 2019 in Faculty News | Permalink

September 23, 2019

Trial of two of the suspects in the Dan Markel murder begins today, and a remarkably forthright critique of Wendi Adelson and her family (UPDATED)

As Blog Emperor Caron reports, the trial of the suspected hitman and middlewoman in the Markel murder begins today, but even more remarkable is this piece by Professor Markel's friend Jason Solomon, titled "What Should Happen When Your Mom and Brother Murder Your Ex?," which, rightly indicts the awful behavior of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson; an excerpt:

Since Dan’s death, his friends and family have watched and supported the prosecution of his killers, anxiously awaiting one of the conspirators to flip on Wendi’s mother Donna and brother Charlie so that justice can be done....

 

But there is another grave injustice in this tragic story. For the past three years, Dan’s ex-wife Wendi has denied Dan’s parents, Ruth and Phil Markel, the opportunity to visit and otherwise communicate with their grandkids. She has also changed their last names from Markel to her name, Adelson....

 

Wendi and Dan’s boys were robbed of the ability to grow up with a loving father. They deserve to know their paternal grandparents while they still can, to understand who they are and where they came from, to know they were not abandoned. We have seen in the immigration context the devastation that results when kids suddenly lose close family members without any explanation. Surely Wendi — an immigration advocate — knows this as well as anyone, and yet she separates families in her own life.

 

In the months ahead, Wendi and Dan’s boys — now 10 and 9 — are going to suffer a horrible tragedy all over again. They’re going to learn that Grandma Donna and Uncle Charlie — no doubt a big part of their lives right now — murdered their father. And when that happens, they’re going to need family: grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who they know love them and would never do anything to hurt them. They have such family on their father’s side — and even Wendi’s older brother Rob’s family on their mother’s — but they never see them.

 

When Ben and Lincoln find out about what Grandma Donna and Uncle Charlie did, they will no doubt cut them off, likely for the rest of their lives. Will they turn on their mother too? Trust me, teenage boys do that to parents in the best of circumstances. They’ll read and watch everything there is, and question whether Wendi was part of the murder plot too.

 

I personally believe that Wendi had nothing to do with Dan’s death, as explained here....

Continue reading


September 23, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink