September 08, 2021
September 01, 2021
So this news story announces, but when you look at the details, all you find is reference to "students of color," which presumably includes students of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Bengali, South American, and Cuban descent, as well as African-Americans; and it probably also includes non-American students from China, Japan, India etc.. That the actual representation of African-Americans is now rendered invisible by the triumph of "diversity" (thanks to a mistaken SCOTUS opinion by a Southern corporate lawyer!) tells us how much we have betrayed affirmative action's original goal: namely, as remediation (indeed, reparations) for the world-historic injustice and cruelty visited upon African-Americans for hundreds of years in the United States, from slavery to de jure apartheid in the South and de facto apartheid in much of the North. Compensating the victims and their descendants for this grotesque history was the real purpose of affirmative action, not "diversifying" schools with anyone non-white to allegedly improve the educational experience of everyone else. Of course, the current SCOTUS is unlikely to restore affirmative action's original purpose, let alone follow Bakke and Grutter. Yet another reason to rein in the super-legislature known as the Supreme Court!
August 17, 2021
What an embarrassment. (Criticisms of the proposed changes available here including from all the Sterling Professors at Yale Law School, as well as David Bernstein [George Mason], Eric Biber [Berkeley], Thomas Gallanis [Iowa], Alan Z. Rozenshtein [Minnesota], and Steven Davidsoff Solomon [Berkeley], among others--direct link to all comments here.) The Committee has obviously been captured by special interests, who are more concerned with posturing than the costs it is imposing on law schools. If this wasteful and ill-considered proposal is to be stopped, it will have to be at the next stages.
ADDENDUM: Twitter commentary from Professors Jonathan Adler (Case Western) and David Hoffman (Penn). (UPDATE: Prof. Hoffman emails to tell me his tweets auto-delete after only a day, so his comment is no longer there. My tweets auto-delete after a couple of months [2 or 3 months, I can't now remember how I set it], but after 24 hours is a new record!)
ANOTHER: Everyone's favorite Twitter buffoon thinks that anyone skeptical about the ABA proposals must not be serious about "racism in legal education." I hope the Sterling Professors at Yale will take note, not to mention his colleague Professor Rozenshtein!
June 25, 2021
Monday is the last day for submitting comments regarding the proposed changes to the ABA standards regarding diversity and curriculum
Many interesting comments have already been submitted, some echoing concerns raised here. The lengthy analysis by current or emeritus "Sterling Professors" at Yale Law School may be of particular interest. ("Sterling Professor" is the most distinguished professorial rank at Yale, and includes such well-known scholars as Bruce Ackerman, Owen Fiss, John Langbein, Roberta Romano, and Alan Schwartz.) Professor Romano tells me they learned of the proposals from my earlier blog post, and I am glad she and her colleagues weighed in with a careful assessment.
June 18, 2021
June 16, 2021
June 14, 2021
Call by ABA for comments on significant proposed changes to standards pertaining to "non-discrimination and equal opportunity" and "curriculum"
MOVING TO FRONT FROM JUNE 1--TWO MORE WEEKS TO SUBMIT COMMENTS TO THE ABA!
The proposed changes are available here. Written comments on the proposals should be addressed to: Scott Bales, Council Chair. Please send comments to Fernando Mariduena (Fernando.Mariduena@americanbar.org) by June 28, 2021.
I am going to offer a few observations of my own on some of these proposals, which readers are free to incorporate into any comments they wish to send to Mr. Bales (with or without attribution to this blog). Some of the proposed changes are minor, but many are not. As a threshold matter, the ABA should have to explain why the existing standards were not more than adequate, especially since some of the proposed changes will impose substantial costs on schools and seem ill-supported by evidence.
(1) Proposed changes would replace previous language requiring "concrete action" and "reasonable efforts" related to diversity, to a standard that demands "demonstrat[ing] progress." What does "progress" mean? If a very diverse law school becomes slightly less diverse after a few years (but is still extremely diverse), does that mean it is in violation of the standard? That would seem bizarre. Suppose a law school becomes more diverse by enrolling more Asian-American students, but fewer African-American students. Is that "progress" within the meaning of the Standard? What if it enrolls more students with disabilities, but fewer Hispanic students? How is "progress" to be measured? Why is it a preferable standard?
(2) The proposals impose a substantial new burden on schools to collect and maintain data that will be both costly and time-consuming, and will almost certainly require schools to hire additional administrative staff (see esp. 206-3 and 206-4). This includes publishing "threshold data disaggregated by race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, or military status" (several of these categories are new), plus requiring "quantitative and qualitative measures of campus climate and academic outcomes disaggregated" again by all the preceding demographic categories. Wouldn't the money spent on these reporting requirements be better spent on financial aid, for example, that increased diversity?
(3) Recommended actions that would demonstrate "progress...under the Standard" would include (206-5) "Diversity, equity, and inclusion training." This raises two concerns. First, there is evidence that such "training" is not effective, and can even be counter-productive. Second, and even more seriously, such training will almost certainly violate the academic freedom rights of faculty at many (probably most) schools by demanding conformity to a particular ideology about "diversity," its meaning, and its value. The ABA should not even be suggesting that schools violate the contractual and/or constitutional rights of faculty to academic freedom. (There is a related problem with the mandatory "diversity statements" at certain public universities.)
May 21, 2021
MOVING TO FRONT FROM MAY 19--AFTER I POSTED THIS ORIGINALLY, YALE REMOVED THE REPORT; A YALE LAW STUDENT KINDLY SUPPLIED AN ALTERNATIVE LINK FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO READ THE REPORT
...and the effect of class background on the student experience. As the report notes near the start, during the 2018-19 academic year,
"Students called out the 'whisper networks' and gamesmanship that funnel prized opportunities, like clerkships and Coker Fellowships, to those under the wings of a few connected faculty. Those networks were exposed for what they truly reward: savvy over skill, and privilege over equity."
May 03, 2021
Cardozo Law faculty protest Yeshiva University's continued discrimination against LGBT student groups
April 29, 2021
Texas House authorizes public universities in Rio Grande Valley and El Paso to establish up to two new law schools
The bill still has to get through the state Senate. Texas established a new public law school at the University of North Texas (near Dallas), which began admitting students in 2014, but is only still provisionally accredited by the ABA. Texas acquired an additional public law school when Texas A&M University acquired the former Texas Wesleyan law school (in the Dallas-Fort Worth area). The only law school in West Texas is at Texas Tech University, so the case for a law school in El Paso is probably a good one.