December 02, 2021
Mr. Lazarus (whose earlier and widely noted remarks on the "Trap House Affair" are here) kindly shared his recent assessment of developments since (including the lawsuit noted previously): Download 12.1.2021 Trap House update (003). An excerpt:
I write this update to assess several significant new developments. Of these, the most noted but not necessarily the most significant is Dean Heather Gerken’s Statement of November 17, her third formal pronouncement on the affair. While she broke new ground in publicly admitting serious errors that did not adequately “conform to our values,” she did not resolve the most critical issue, namely, whether she will remove the two Law School administrators who committed the egregious violations of due process and academic freedom acknowledged in the statement. Only with that further step will Dean Gerken’s mea culpas lead to meaningful change in the life of the Law School....
December 01, 2021
Academic Freedom Alliance weighs in on case of Professor Kilborn at Illinois/Chicago John Marshall Law School
UPDATE: Keith Whittington (Princeton) points out to me that the Administration has "stepped in," to defend the witch hunt! The statement simply repeats the allegations that were dispatched by Professor Koppelman in his CHE article. The chilling effect of all this at the University of Illinois at Chicago (not just the law school) will be immense, now that the Administration has put faculty on notice that any stray remarks that are plainly neither harasasing nor discriminatory can trigger official investigations and sanctions.
Former Temple Business School Dean convicted of wire fraud for "cooking the books" in data reported to USNews.com
Story here. I was struck by this quote from the prosecutor:
“The hope is that this case sends a message to other college and university administrators that there are real consequences to making representations that students and applicants rely on,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark B. Dubnoff said. “So many people turn to these rankings … to help them make informed decisions of where to go to college, graduate school, and it’s important that people are honest and fully truthful with the representations they make.”
You'll note who is missing in this sermon from the prosecutor: the editors of USNews.com, who don't audit the self-reported data, and who then stir it into a stew of arbitrarily weighted factors to produce a ranking that misleads students and applicants, leading them to make misinformed decisions. I guess the wire fraud statutes don't cover this kind of "fraud" on the public.
November 30, 2021
Blog Emperor Caron reports on the state of the law school application season about one-third of the way through. Given how strong last year's applicant pool was, this slightly downturn (if it holds) should not be of great concern to the vast majority of law schools.
November 18, 2021
UIC's John Marshall Law School should lose its accreditation if it continues with this "witch hunt" against a faculty member
Professor Andy Koppelman (Northwestern) comments at CHE (do read the full account):
In January the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Law disgraced itself with its foolish persecution of Jason Kilborn, a professor who was accused of racism for asking students to address an ordinary hypothetical, of a kind they are likely to encounter in normal legal practice. That episode has now ballooned into calls for his firing, with an ill-informed Rev. Jesse Jackson leading protests against him. And the university, while it refuses to fire Kilborn, is continuing to punish him for things it knows he didn’t do.
The trouble started when, in a “Civil Procedure” exam, Kilborn asked whether a hypothetical company, sued for discrimination, must disclose evidence to the plaintiff. In the test’s scenario, a former employee told the company’s lawyer “that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a ‘n____’ and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women) and vowed to get rid of her.” The exam did not spell out those words, which appeared exactly as you just read them. (This was just one of the test’s 50 questions.)
November 16, 2021
...for their actions during L'Affaire Chua. The full complaint is here. As paragraph 21 notes, the absence of grades at Yale "means that Yale Law School students are in high competition over non-grade signifiers of merit." How much this competition has to do with "merit" is questionable, of course. Coming on the heels of the "Trap House Affair" (and the earlier expose of the class divide), this has not been a good year for Yale Law School.
ADDENDUM: A comparison of allegations about administrator conduct in the two cases.
November 11, 2021
Simon Lazarus YLS '67 on "Where Yale Law School Has Gone Off the Rails, and What is Needed to Get It Back on Track"
Mr. Lazarus is a 1967 graduate of Yale Law School and a distinguished lawyer who served as associate director of President Jimmy Carter’s White House Domestic Policy Staff, and since then with private and public-interest law firms in Washington, D.C. He kindly gave permission to share with readers his penetrating analysis of Yale's mishandling of the "Trap House Affair" and how to now make things right: Download 11.9.2021 memo on the Trap House Affair. Do read the whole memo, but here is an excerpt to give the flavor:
What now is most baffling is the YLS administration’s defiant, defensive crouch response to the widening public criticism – batting away the smoking-gun-studded factual record, as “partial facts” in a “charged media environment,” and attempting to deflect criticism by announcing an “assessment” by Deputy Dean Ian Ayres, “to help us move forward.” Refusing to address publicly available facts, and trivializing, as media hype, outrage from a Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist, a Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor, and distinguished academics – will not stem this tide. Nor will Dean Gerken’s passing the buck to a subordinate.