March 03, 2021
February 11, 2021
January 15, 2021
IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW: PROFESSOR KILBORN WAS NOT SUSPENDED BECAUSE OF THE EXAM QUESTION
Last month, we noted UIC John Marshall Dean Darby Dickerson's suggestion "that law schools should be 'transformed' into 'anti-racist institutions' [as distinct from being non-racist ones that comply with equal opportunity laws]," observing that it "would portend a massive violation of the academic freedom of all faculty (for example)." Alas, this proved more prophetic than we realized.
Professor Jason Kilborn gave a civil procedure exam last month involving an employment discrimination hypothetical, in which one worker used racist and sexist epithets. As the petition denouncing Professor Kilborn reports:
The question at-issue contained a racial pejorative summarized as follows: “‘n____’and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women).” The fact pattern involved an employment discrimination case where the call of the question was whether or not the information found was work product.
Just to be clear: the exam neither used nor mentioned the actual offending words, just the first letters of those words followed by the underline, as quoted above. Professor Kilborn has actually used variations on this hypothetical, with the n- and b-words (as above), for a decade without any incident!
January 12, 2021
January 11, 2021
January 04, 2021
December 23, 2020
Derek Muller (Iowa) documents the trend. Non-JD students (mostly LLM students, but also some undergradutes [especially at Arizona], as well as non-degree candidates) have the virtue of generating revenue while being invisible in the U.S. News rankings.
December 07, 2020
...or there would be reasons to be quite worried about some parts of the recent missives from current AALS President Darby Dickerson (who is also Dean at UIC John Marshall Law School). In the past, I have commended to the attention of readers some of Dean Dickerson's advice, so these recent statements come as a surprise to me.
To be clear: there is much that Dean Dickerson says that is sensible and decent, and it's shocking to learn, e.g., that some doctrinal faculty do not treat their clinical or legal writing colleagues with appropriate respect and courtesy. So, too, greater job security is a good in any line of work, academic or otherwise; no doubt so many academic or "doctrinal" faculty enjoy it only because the ABA mandates it.
But to refer to the existence of different jobs and positions, with different qualifications and expectations, as a "caste" system is just a rhetorical trick, harnessing the pejorative connotation of "caste" to raise doubts about a system of differing qualifications, expectations and authority. Is it a "caste" system that in a hospital the doctors have different professional status, differential educationl and professional attainments, and different responsibilities and authority than nurse's aides? Is it a "caste" system that PhDs in chemistry with tenure have different responsibilities and authority than the post-docs or research technicians in their labs? Unlike real caste systems, a chnage in status is possible with a change in education, experience, and accomplishments. The only real question is whether the differing qualifications, responsibilities and authority are justified, not whether they are a "caste." But there is not even the pretense of a substantive analysis and critique of the division of labor and responsibility in Dean Dickerson's letter. (Surely it is not mysterious, for example, why clinical and doctrinal faculty should have more responsibility and control over the school and its curriculum than, e.g., adjuncts or staff who are not lawyers?)
(I'll just note, as an aside, that the idea at the conclusion of Dean Dickerson's letter that law schools should be "transformed" into "anti-racist institutions" [as distinct from being non-racist ones that comply with equal opportunity laws] would portend a massive violation of the academic freedom of all faculty (for example)-- just as transforming law schools into "anti-communist" or "anti-capitalist" institutions would. Law schools exist to train lawyers and produce knowledge about the law, not to promote extraneous social goals, even meritorious ones.)