Friday, June 22, 2018

The continuing University subsidy of the U of Minnesota Law School

This story is certainly indicative of the depths of the decline in law school applicants especially in the Midwest.  That the flagship law school, long one of the top twenty in the United States, should still be facing these difficulties is sobering.  And, of course, since USNews.com runs American legal education, the school faces a stark choice:  lower admissions standards (and scholarship offers) to take more paying students with lesser numerical credentials, and the school's USNews.com rank will drop; if the school's USNews.com rank drops, some number of out-of-state students who might have paid to go there, won't, and the cycle will continue.  Some clever state AG needs to find a way to take Bob Morse & co. to court for consumer fraud, and end this misery for everyone.

UPDATE:  There's a comment from Bill McGeveran over at the Blog Emperor's post about this story that deserves notice:

First, of the 11 public law schools in the top 30, the only ones to get a lower percentage of their revenue from state support are Berkeley, Michigan, and Virginia -- all with endowments 2 to 4 times larger than ours. The so-called "subsidy" is actually bringing us into line with our peers.

Second, our applicant numbers, yield, and class size have all increased significantly for the entering classes of 2017 and 2018, without any sacrifice in the credentials of our incoming students.

All law schools need to be conscious of costs today, and we're no exception. But there's no dire crisis at Minnesota, even if that's a less interesting news story.

June 22, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2017-18

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2018 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.   (Recent additions are in bold.)  Last year's list is here.  Feel free to e-mail me with news of additions to this list.

 

*Kerry Abrams (immigration law, family law) from the University of Virginia to Duke University (to become Dean).

 

*Robert Ahdieh (international trade, financial regulation, federalism) from Emory University to Texas A&M University (to become Dean).

 

*Richard Albert (constitutional law, comparative constitutional law) from Boston College to the University of Texas, Austin (effective January 2018).

 

*Hilary Allen (financial regulation, corporate) from Suffolk University to American University.

 

*Albertina Antognini (family law, property) from the University of Kentucky to the University of Arizona (untenured lateral).

 

*Olufunmilayo Arewa (intellectual property, international trade, entrepreneurship, law & technology) from the University of California, Irvine to Temple University.

 

*Lisa Avalos (criminal law) from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to Louisiana State University (untenured lateral)

 

*Mario Barnes (constitutional law, criminal law, national security law, race & the law) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of Washington (to become Dean).

 

*Joshua Blank (tax) from a professor of practice position at New York University to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Khaled A. Beydoun (constitutional law, civil rights, torts) from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law to the University of of Arkansas, Fayetteville.  

 

 *Binyamin Blum (legal history, evidence, criminal procedure) from Hebrew University, Jerusalem to the University of California Hastings (effective spring 2018) (untenured lateral). 

 

*Jeremy Bock (intellectual property, civil procedure) from the University of Memphis to Tulane University (untenured lateral).

 

*William Boyd (environmental law, energy law) from the University of Colorado, Boulder to the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

*Samuel Bray (remedies, property, constitutional law) from the University of California, Los Angeles to the University of Notre Dame.

 

*Emily Bremer (administrative law, legislation, civil procedure) from the University of Wyoming to the University of Notre Dame (untenured lateral).

 

*Jennifer Chacon (immimgration law, constitutional law, criminal law & procedure) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

*Anupam Chander (law & technology, international trade) from the University of California, Davis to Georgetown University.

 

*Stewart Chang (family law, comparative law) from Whittier Law School to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

 

*Jessica Clarke (sexual orientation, gender & law; employment discrimination; constitutional law) from the University of Minnesota to Vanderbilt University.

 

*Frank Rudy Cooper (criminal procedure, civil rights, race, gender & law) from Suffolk University to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

 

*Seth Davis (administrative law, federal courts, federal Indian law, fiduciary law) from the University of California, Irvine to the University of California, Berkeley.

 

*Diane Desierto (public and private international law) from the University of Hawaii to the University of Notre Dame (School of International Affairs).

 

*Melissa J. Durkee (international law, transnational law, corporate) from the University of Washington, Seattle to the University of Georgia.

 

*Atiba Ellis (election law, civil rights, race & the law) from West Virginia University to Marquette University.

 

 *Victor Fleischer (tax, corporate law) from the University of San Diego to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*David Franklyn (intellectual property, law & technology) from the University of San Francisco to Golden Gate University.

 

*Nuno Garoupa (law and economics, comparative law) from Texas A&M University to George Mason University.

 

*Brandon Garrett (criminal procedure, civil rights) from the University of Virginia to Duke University.

 

*Andrew Gold (private law theory, fiduciary law, corporate) from DePaul University to Brooklyn Law School.

 

*Philip Hackney (tax) from Louisiana State University to the University of Pittsburgh.

 

*Victoria Haneman (trusts & estates; tax) from Concordia University (Idaho) to Creighton University (untenured lateral).

 

*Christopher Holman (intellectual property, law & biotechnology) from the University of Missouri, Kansas City to Drake University.

 

*Robert Jackson, Jr. (corporate law) from Columbia University to New York University (though he will be on leave initially while serving on the SEC).

 

*Dalié Jiménez (bankruptcy, consumer law) from the University of Connecticut to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Kristin Johnson (financial markets, corporate) from Seton Hall University to Tulane University.

 

*Michael Kang (election law) from Emory University to Northwestern University.

  

*Orin Kerr (criminal procedure, computer crime law) from George Washington University to the University of Southern California (effective January 2018).  

 

*Robert Knowles (civil procedure, national security law) from Valparaiso University to the University of Baltimore (untenured lateral).

 

*Eugene Kontorovich (constitutional law, federal courts, public international law) from Northwestern University to George Mason University.

 

*Rebecca Kysar (tax) from Brooklyn Law School to Fordham University.

 

*Jill Wieber Lens (torts, products liability, remedies) from Baylor University to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (effective January 2018).

 

*Sheldon Bernard Lyke, (property, trusts & estates, critical race theory) from Whittier Law School to Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law (untenured lateral)

 

*Suzette Malveaux (civil procedure, civil rights, complex litigation) from Catholic University to the University of Colorado, Boulder.

 

*David Marcus (civil procedure, administrative law, complex litigation) from the University of Arizon to the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

*Margaret Sova McCabe (food & agriculture law) from the University of New Hampshire to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (to become Dean).

 

*Khrista McCarden (tax) from Pepperdine University to Tulane University (untenured lateral).

 

*Jeremy R. McClane (corporate, securities, commercial law) from the University of Connecticut to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (untenured lateral).

 

*Justin McCrary (law & economics, empirical legal studies, corporate) from the University of California, Berkeley to Columbia University.

 

*Agnieszka McPeak (torts, law & technology, privacy) from the University of Toledo to Duquesne University (untenured lateral).

 

*Curtis Milhaupt (Japanese law, East Asian legal system comparative corporate governance) from  Columbia University to Stanford University (effective January 2018). 

Continue reading

June 21, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Kozinski on Reinhardt...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Most legal employers (who responded so far) deny imposing mandatory arbitration agreements on summer associates/interns

The data so far.

June 12, 2018 in Legal Profession, Student Advice | Permalink

Monday, June 11, 2018

Have education advocates sold out students' and educators' privacy for money from technology firms? (Michael Simkovic)

The Department of Education's failures to safeguard student data against leaks have led to repeated Congressional hearings over the last few years. (see here, here, and here).  Even some of the best state education agencies have also suffered data breaches.

Privacy advocates, student and parent groups, and educators are therefore understandably concerned about sharing even more detailed and personal student information with government agencies that cannot adequately safeguard the information they already have.

A network of think tanks, advocacy groups, and media organizations with links to technology firms have been pushing for extremely intrusive and detailed collection of information about individual students.  Disclosures would no longer be limited to aggregated, anonymized data, but rather would include information about individual students.  Extant disclosures have already undermined student privacy far more than was anticipated.  Student contact lists are commercially available for purchase on the basis of ethnicity, affluence, religion, lifestyle, awkwardness, and even a perceived or predicted need for family planning services.  Disclosure of disciplinary records -- which occurs in spite of legal assurances that such data will remain confidential -- can put students at a disadvantage in the job market for a lifetime. (See also here).1

As one expert on technology explained:

"The bill proposes a new system to collect student-level data . . . . And that's where we all should feel a little queasy. Despite the obvious benefits of having access to data . . . the inherent security and privacy concerns of such a system are significant.

The definition of "data in scope" might change over time. And once the data is collected, there it sits, ready to be leaked, breached or worse. Without getting too deep into Big Brother conspiracy theory, there are so many ways for the system to go wrong."

Tech-backed groups want even more data collection mandated by the federal government.  Many of these groups are funded by the Gates Foundation and related groups with links to technology firms. 

Technology firms have a tendency to have faith in data-driven solutions to problems.  But technology firms would also benefit financially from more onerous reporting obligations because technology firms provide compliance and reporting services to education institutions.  Rising technology and compliance costs are among important reasons that higher education has become more expensive.  

The American Council on Education (ACE) has stopped defending student privacy against these demands after ACE received grants from the Gates Foundation (including one to promote online education) and after ACE was viciously attackedby Gates-funded journalists3 for opposing Gates-backed policies. 

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities also received a substantial grant from the Gates Foundation around the time it ceased defending student privacy (see also here).  So did the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (see also here, here, here, here, here) and the American Association of Community Colleges (here, here, here, here, here).  (While there may be innocent explanations, the optics are not great).

One of the few remaining defenders of student privacy is the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents private non-for-profit universities.  However, even NAICU appears increasingly likely to compromise and give the Gates-backed group much of what it wants. 

Technology firms might obtain access to extremely sensitive data through a revolving door between the Gates Foundation, the Department of Education, and Edu-Tech firms.  Such data could be advantageous when technology firms negotiate the price of technology servicing contracts or compete with education institutions through online offerings. 

One wonders if higher education "lobby groups", rather than educating policymakers about the needs of students and universities, have found it more advantageous to lobby higher education institutions on behalf of technology firms.  

Continue reading

June 11, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Congratulations to the University of Chicago Law School Class of 2018!

It's been a pleasure and a privilege to teach such talented young men and women, and I am sure I speak for all of my colleagues in wishing you much professional success and personal happiness in the years ahead!  You will be missed!

June 9, 2018 | Permalink

Friday, June 8, 2018

Apprenticeships and online education are not viable alternatives to ABA-approved law schools (Michael Simkovic)

Over the last several decades, both the cost and the quality of ABA approved law schools have increased. Faculty student ratios have fallen.  Completion rates have increased, even as diverse groups with historically lower completion rates have become a larger share of the student body.  Earnings premiums have increased, and racial disparities have narrowed.

Nevertheless, some critics of law school, concerned by the high cost, have suggested going back to the "good old days" of legal apprenticeships, or using technology to bring down costs.  The data does not support apprenticeships or less highly regulated (and less expensive) online or correspondence versions of law school as viable alternatives to ABA-approved law schools.

Several major legal markets (including New York and California) permit prospective lawyers to sit for the bar exam after 4 years of apprenticeship under a licensed lawyer (or 4 years combined law school and apprenticeship).  Very few people still try this approach. But for those who do, the bar passage rates are abysmal.

 

Continue reading

June 8, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Science, Student Advice, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Law firms increase starting salary for associates to $190K

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Should law schools pressure their students to go into low paid, thankless public service jobs? (Michael Simkovic)

A recent report by a Harvard law school alumnus, Pete Davis, points out that law schools like Harvard serve the interests of wealthy elites by training primarily future corporate lawyers. (See also here). This is consistent with the available evidence on graduates’ employment, notwithstanding widely publicized—and dubious—claims of law schools being liberal or left-leaning.  

Whether or not this is a problem, and whether schools like Harvard should try to do a better job of training future business lawyers or try to steer their students away from business law, is a matter for debate. Davis appears to believe that business lawyers are incapable of serving important collective interests of society—or at least do not do as good of a job as public sector lawyers. According to Davis, law schools therefore have an obligation to discourage students from pursuing careers in business law.

My view is that the path toward resuscitating the public sector will entail convincing the American people to collectively share the burdens of civilization by voting for higher taxes and higher pay for public servants. Until public servants are paid fairly, no one but the very wealthy should feel any obligation to work in the public sector or encourage their students to do so.

I would argue that business lawyers facilitate incredibly important functions in the service of society. Business lawyers help businesses raise the capital they need so that they can serve the basic needs of hundreds of millions or even billions of people. Lawyers also help firms mitigate risks, comply with government regulations and organize tens or even hundreds of thousands employees and suppliers to work together toward a common goal. That is remarkable, and the economic progress that has resulted clearly is in the public interest.

Continue reading

June 5, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink

Monday, June 4, 2018

Congratulations to the Chicago Alumni and Fellows on the teaching market who accepted tenure-track jobs

MOVING TO FRONT FROM MAY 10--UPDATED WITH FULL LIST

It was a good year to be looking for a tenure-track teaching job, and almost all our candidates had multiple tenure-track offers this year.  Here are the two JD alums and the various  Fellows we were working with this year, all of whom got tenure-track positions; they are: 

Deepa Das Acevedo ’16 who will join the faculty at the University of Alabama.   She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2013 and her J.D. cum laude, also from Chicago, in 2016, where she was Articles Editor of the University of Chicago Legal Forum. Most recently, she was a Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.   Her teaching and research interests include labor and employment law, ERISA, torts, and comparative law (especially Indian).

 

LaToya Baldwin Clark who will join the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She is presently the Dickerson Fellow at the Law School.   She received her M.A. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, her Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University in 2014, and her J.D., also from Stanford, that same year.  She clerked for Judge Claudia Wilken on the Northern District of California and for Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court, before coming to Chicago in 2016.  Her teaching and research interests include civil rights, family law, employment discrimination, criminal law, and property.

 

Sheldon A. Evans ’12 who will join the faculty at St. John's University.  At the Law School, he was a member of the University of Chicago Legal Forum and joined Gibson Dunn as a litigation associate in Los Angeles upon graduation.  He subsequently clerked for Judge Lavenski Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit before returning to Gibson Dunn.   His teaching and research interests include criminal law & procedure, immigration law, professional responsibility, contracts, and civil procedure. 

 

Brian D. Feinstein who will join the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2009 and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2012, where he was Articles Editor of the Harvard Law & Policy Review.  He clerked for Judge John Tinder on the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and was an associate for three years with Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, where he served as outside counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, among other matters. His teaching and research interests include administrative law, legislation, financial regulation, property, civil procedure, and empirical legal studies.

 

Hiba Hafiz who will join the faculty at Boston College.  She is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  She received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2007 and a J.D. from Columbia University in 2010, where she was the Notes & Submissions Editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.  She clerked for Judge José Linares on the U.S. District Court for New Jersey and then for Judge Juan Torruella on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  She was a litigation associate, focusing on antitrust, with Cohen Milstein in Washington DC for three years before coming to Chicago.  Her teaching and research interests include labor and employment law, antitrust, business associations, contracts, and administrative law. 

 

Dorothy Shapiro Lund who will join the faculty at the University of Southern California. She is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  She received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard in 2013.  She practiced with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, and then clerked for Judge Leo Strine on the Delaware Supreme Court and Judge Joel Flaum on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh  Circuit before coming to the Law School.  Her teaching and research interests include corporate law, securities regulation, contracts, financial regulation, and corporate finance.

 

Diego A. Zambrano who will join the faculty at Stanford University.  He is presently a Bigelow Fellow at the Law School.  He received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2013, and then joined Clearly Gottlieb in New York as a litigation associate, where he had extensive experience in complex commercial litigation, especially transnational.   His teaching and research interests include civil procedure, complex litigation, international business transactions, business associations, conflicts and alternative dispute resolution.   

June 4, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

Stanford's Michele Dauber's assault on the rule of law

I have followed this case only slightly until recently.  Briefly:   Brock Turner, a Stanford undergraduate, was convicted of digital rape of a woman after a fraternity party; the judge in the case, Judge Persky, gave him a relatively lenient sentence (i.e., little jail time, but a lifetime scartlet letter as a "sex offender") given that he was a first offender, that he was young, and intoxicated (as was the victim).  The sentence imposed had actually been recommended by the probation officer who evaluated the case. 

Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford, whose own child was friends with the victim, took a strong interest in the case, and has since launched a disgraceful jihad against the judge, well beyond Donald Trump's racist insults at a judge in California overseeing the "Trump University" fraud case.  Professor Dauber launched a recall petition against a judge whose sentencing decision she disliked, and whose record she then misrepresented.  A lengthy story has now appeared about her jihad.  One of the most important facts is that Judge Persky is a liberal, who tries to find ways to avoid jail time for criminal offenders.   If I believed in gods, I would say, "God bless him."

Academic freedom protects Professor Dauber's right to undermine the rule of law.   It does not protect her from the opinion of others members of her profession. 

Fortunately, and as I would have expected, the vast majority of the Stanford Law faculty opposes her recall effort.  I quote the letter in part, since it makes clear how outrageous Professor Dauber's behavior is: 

We the undersigned are part of a broad diversity of law professors from California universities; among our relevant fields of specialization are criminal law, gender and law, and constitutional law. We write in strong opposition to the campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. We do so because this recall campaign, which just now is beginning the formal process of gathering signatures, threatens the fundamental principles of judicial independence and fairness that we all embed in the education of our students.

 

The mechanism of recall was designed for and must be limited to cases where judges are corrupt or incompetent or exhibit bias that leads to systematic injustice in their courtrooms. None of these criteria applies to Judge Persky. The recall campaign was instigated in response to a sentencing decision in the case of Brock Turner, where the judge followed a probation report recommendation and exercised discretion towards a lenient sentence, in accordance with the California Penal Code. We appreciate that some people (indeed including some of the signers of this letter) might have chosen a different result, but the core values of judicial independence and integrity require the judge to make a decision based on the record (including, in this case, the recommendation of a skilled professional, a probation officer) -- not on public outcry about a controversial case. Judge Persky's decision was controversial, but it was a lawful decision. Other sentencing decisions by Judge Persky that have been challenged by the recall movement have followed the equally common and legitimate practice of accepting a recommendation agreed on by the prosecution and defense.

 

Continue reading

June 4, 2018 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Which schools stopped hiring 2011-2018?

An interesting chart from Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern), though it was misleading to treat t14 and t20 as separate categories here--resource-rich schools like Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt and  USC, which were in the t20 category, did fairly regular hiring during this period, just like the t14 category.  But it's clear, and not surprising, that lower ranked schools, which no doubt faced more financial pressures due to the decline in applications, accounted for most of the hiring drop.  Many of those schools are now coming back into the market for new law teachers.

May 29, 2018 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Monday, May 28, 2018

Anti-university “free speech” legislation will divert education funds to demagogues and facilitate monitoring, intimidation, and harassment of academic communities (Michael Simkovic)

Part I: After demagogues hijack higher education funding and disrupt learning and research, Berkeley responds 

In the wake of disruptions surrounding the invitation to campus of provocative right wing speakers, the University of California at Berkeley recently released the Report of the Chancellor’s Commission on Free Speech. The members of the commission include the Chief of Police and the Law School Dean and constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky.[1]

The report notes that U.C. Berkeley “spent nearly $4 million—during a time of severe fiscal duress—on security costs for [disruptive speeches by far-right provocateurs in] September 2017 alone. . . . This is not sustainable [given Berkeley’s] $150+ million deficit.”

At current tuition prices, $4 million is the equivalent of more than 280 1-year full-tuition scholarships (or 70 four-year bachelor’s degrees). Given the tone and substance of the talks, it seems unlikely that California taxpayers or the Berkeley community got good value for their money. For example, that money could have been used to train engineers, scientists, and other educated professionals. The report included several sensible recommendations to try to contain costs and limit disruptions.

Unfortunately, many of these recommendations would be difficult—perhaps impossible—to implement if legislation backed by the Koch family, the Goldwater Institute, and some law professors goes into effect. (More on this in Part II below).

The report notes that a single speech by right wing culture-warrior Ben Shapiro cost U.C. Berkeley and California taxpayers $600,000 in security costs.[2]

Mr. Shapiro is known for comparing “debate” to a “bloodsport.” In “How to Debate a Leftist and Destroy Them,” Shapiro advises conservatives to “Hit first. Hit hard. Hit where it counts . . . convince [the audience] that your opposition is a liar and a hater.” Shapiro advises being even more aggressive when dealing with a liberal family member at family gatherings such as Thanksgiving. Shapiro advises conservatives to call a family member who does not share conservative political views a “jackass,” “ridiculous,” “irrational,” “buffoon,” “loser,” “fascist,” and a would-be baby-killer (for supporting abortion rights).  Shaprio’s speech at Berkeley was reportedly similarly “strong on insults . . . and light on [substance].”[3]

The Commission was even less impressed with other speakers:

“Many Commission members are skeptical of [Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter]’s commitment to anything other than the pursuit of wealth and fame through the instigation of anger, fear, and vengefulness in their hard-right constituency. Speech of this kind is hard to defend, especially in light of the acute distress it caused (and was intended to cause) to staff and students, many of whom felt threatened and targeted by the speakers and by the outside groups financing their appearances.”

The Commission concluded that excessive financial costs were imposed on U.C. Berkeley and the taxpayers of California by “very small groups of students working closely with outside organizations” as “part of a coordinated campaign to organize appearances on American campuses likely to incite a violent reaction, in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.”

This is consistent with my own findings about conservative provocateurs’ efforts on campus, although I focused on professors serving as speakers rather than the student groups that invited them.[4]

The Commission suggested that if the citizens of California are unwilling to pay higher taxes to sponsor events that enrich the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos, then U.C. Berkeley should consider capping the amount it will spend on security for speakers:[5]

“[T]he campus should not have to expend scarce resources to protect celebrity provocateurs seeking to promote their brand (and, in some cases, to cast aspersions on higher education) when so many essential needs go unfunded or underfunded.”

The report also recommends centralizing event planning, limiting disruptive events to locations where individuals who would rather focus on their studies or their work can more easily avoid being affected by them, and encouraging “constructive and thoughtful debate between passionate advocates for opposing points of view” on campus including conservatives, rather than “shock jock performance art.”

However, many of the Commission’s perfectly sensible recommendations would be outlawed by model legislation pushed by the Koch-funded Goldwater Institute and some allied law professors.[6]

 

Part II:  Anti-university “free speech” legislation will divert funds to demagogues and will facilitate monitoring, intimidation, and harassment of academic communities

The so-called “Campus Free Speech Act” prohibits universities from charging more for security for events that are likely to incite violence and that lack substance.[7] The Goldwater legislation requires universities to host any speaker, regardless of intellectual rigor or academic merit (even if quality standards are applied in a non-partisan manner), as long as a single student, student group, or faculty member has invited the speaker.[8] It denies universities control over which space is made available to which speakers.[9]  The Goldwater Legislation places burdens on public universities that its most ardent supporters would never place on businesses which own other platforms for speech such as newspapers or venues for conferences such as hotels.[10] There is a difference between protecting the academic freedom of highly-trained and carefully vetted faculty and transforming universities into dumping grounds for outside speakers of low-quality and high-cost.[11]

While universities would be denied editorial discretion, student groups could be as discriminatory or exclusionary as they please without losing any privileges.[12] Thus, a neo-Nazi student group could refuse to admit blacks, Jews, gays, Catholics, liberals, moderates, or conservatives who don’t subscribe to White Supremacy—or even those who do but refuse to march around wearing Swastikas—without losing any privileges, such as the right to bring speakers or host a rally on campus.

Continue reading

May 28, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice, Television, Weblogs | Permalink

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Extremely conservative Stanford graduate complains that there aren’t enough extreme conservatives on campus (Michael Simkovic)

Few would consider Stanford University left-wing.

Stanford University hosts the controversial, conservative Hoover Institution.[1] Stanford has raised more than $40 million from conservative donors. Stanford is a major military contractor.  Stanford’s last acting president (and long-time provost) argued for affirmative action in hiring in favor of conservative faculty, deploying barely coded, neo-McCarthyist phrases like “the threat from within” to describe liberals on campus.  One very prominent Hoover Institution faculty member took the suggestion to heart, asking students affiliated with the College Republicans and Turning Point USA (which maintains "watchlists" of liberal faculty) to help him dig up dirt on a 20 year old Stanford student who the Professor thought was too liberal.  (The Professor wanted help "grinding [leftists] down" and wished to "intimidate them.")  (See also here, here, here, and here).[2] 

Some conservatives want more.

A recent Stanford law graduate and self-described “hard man,” Martin J. Salvucci, writing in the National Review, recently compared Stanford to Czechoslovakia under Soviet domination. Czechoslovakia was invaded by 650,000 heavily armed soldiers from the Soviet Union and other Warsaw pact states in 1968 when Czechoslovakia sought to become Social Democratic rather than Communist (i.e., leftist, but not authoritarian).

The Stanford graduate—who recently worked at Skadden and Klee Tuchin—explains that from his perspective, attending Stanford entailed a level of suffering just like living in a totalitarian satellite state, except that he has “nicer stuff.”

The problem, apparently, is that there are not enough committed right wing ideologues on campus:

"An almost unspoken agreement seems to exist among many students that all of us will soon be fabulously successful, so long as everyone remains a “team player” and nobody rocks the boat too earnestly. Political, moral, and religious convictions are, for the most part, accessories best deployed for instrumental purposes, rather than values to be espoused or explored for their own sake."

If this description is accurate, then it sounds like Stanford law students are well prepared for the restraint and decorum that will be expected of them at the elite law firms, banks, and corporations where many of them aspire to work.

The recent graduate also complains that the Dean of Stanford, M. Elizabeth Magill, has not endorsed his view that there should be an increase in official efforts to promote conservative views on campus.  Because of this, he accuses her of being a “gutless bureaucrat.”

Mr. Salvucci’s views highlight that ideology is a matter of perspective. For those who are sufficiently extreme, even a conservative, corporate institution in Silicon Valley, like Stanford, can seem as oppressive as life under Soviet rule.

Given the timing of Mr. Salvucci’s post—after graduation but before admission to the bar—Mr. Salvucci may be attempting to set up a test case to challenge California’s Bar’s character and fitness requirement, which mandates “fairness . . . and respect . . .”

I doubt that the bar will take the bait.

But Mr. Salvucci’s classmates and colleagues may enjoy ribbing him about this for years to come.

 

[1] Hoover is a think tank which selects and funds its research fellows based on their ideology and political experience. This is routine in the think tank world, but is widely condemned within academic institutions, which are supposed to select scholars based solely on the merits, regardless of politics.

[2] The Stanford professor rationalizes these activities by arguing that he was concerned about efforts to schedule counter-programming to compete with controversial political scientist Charles Murray's talk, which resulted in the talk being lightly attended.  He goes on to argue that he was defending "free speech"--which to him apparently means shielding conservative speakers from competition for students' attention.

UPDATED 7/2/2018 to include Hoover faculty member Niall Ferguson's efforts to dig up opposition research on liberal students.

May 26, 2018 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Humor, Legal Profession, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice, Weblogs | Permalink

Friday, May 25, 2018

Berkeley's Angela Onwuachi-Willig named Dean at BU

The Boston University press release is here.  A big catch for BU!

May 25, 2018 in Faculty News | Permalink

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Skeptical academics and journalists reject Koch-Brothers-backed claims of "free speech crisis" on campus (Michael Simkovic)

Following up on my previous post, 

A well-organized campaign to bait, discredit, and take over universities is exploiting students and manipulating the public

"The purpose of media exaggeration of incidents at universities appears to be to discredit universities in the eyes of conservatives, libertarians, and moderates.  The anti-university campaign is working. . . . Republican resentment toward universities is evident at the national level.  Recent legislation increased taxes on universities while leaving other 501(c)(3) educational organizations such as think tanks unscathed.  

The anti-university campaign appears to be supported by a network of organizations funded by wealthy conservatives and libertarians including the Koch Brothers. [At Koch-network funded events for conservative and libertarian professors and graduate students across the country] UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, encouraged attendees to push the envelope in expressing controversial conservative and libertarian views on campus, draw the ire of their university administrations and progressive students, and document the incidents for him so that he could publicize them . . . .  Volokh has publicly advocated video surveillance of hecklers (“never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake … but always videotape him”) and using internet publicity to inflict “libertarian-approved-pain [on] university administrators.”  Volokh also advocated suing universities.  . . .

The Koch Brothers’ funded Goldwater Institute, seized on the non-event at CUNY to push legislation to turn state universities into passive distribution channels for propaganda, expel protestors (and perhaps people who simply ask pointed questions), centralize control in the hands of political appointees, strip financial resources, encourage frivolous lawsuits, and monitor and intimidate university officials, professors, and students.  . . . Versions of Goldwater’s proposal have already been enacted in Wisconsin—where Republicans effectively eliminated tenure protections for professors at the state university—and in North Carolina, where Republican political appointees shuttered a law school center dedicated to studying poverty (see also here) and crippled the Civil Rights Center (here and here)." 

Erwin Chemerinsky and co-authors of the Report of the Chancellor’s Commission on Free Speech at U.C. Berkely wrote:

U.C. Berkeley “spent nearly $4 million—during a time of severe fiscal duress—on security costs for [disruptive speeches by far-right provocateurs in] September 2017 alone. . . . This is not sustainable [given Berkeley’s] $150+ million deficit. . .

Many Commission members are skeptical of [Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter]’s commitment to anything other than the pursuit of wealth and fame through the instigation of anger, fear, and vengefulness in their hard-right constituency. Speech of this kind is hard to defend, especially in light of the acute distress it caused (and was intended to cause) to staff and students, many of whom felt threatened and targeted by the speakers and by the outside groups financing their appearances.”

[Excessive financial costs were imposed on U.C. Berkeley and the taxpayers of California] by “very small groups of students working closely with outside organizations” as “part of a coordinated campaign to organize appearances on American campuses likely to incite a violent reaction, in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.” 

Continue reading

May 24, 2018 in Faculty News, Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Weblogs | Permalink

18% jump in LSATs taken during 2017-18...

...and an 11% increase in students registered with LSAC to send their credentials to law schools.  It's clear the bottom of the application pool is now a couple of years past, how much larger the pool will grow remains to be seen.

May 24, 2018 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A slightly odd request: recommendation of an Austrian defamation lawyer?

The lawyer has to be able to read English because, even though the possible defamer is in Vienna, the defamation is in English.  Recommendations gratefully received:  bleiter-at-uchicago-dot-edu.

May 23, 2018 | Permalink