- New Oxford vice chancellor speaks out against threats to free inquiry as well as overregulation of universities [Iain Martin, CapX]
- Feds: get in line on Title IX or we’ll yank your institutional science funding [Inside Higher Ed, background on Title IX]
- More on scheme proposing mandatory oppression studies for first-year students at American University [Robby Soave/The Daily Beast (and thanks for mention), earlier]
- Back to the days of Plessy v. Ferguson? Oregon State University holds racially segregated retreats [Peter Hasson, Daily Caller] More: University of Connecticut building segregated housing for (some) black male students [Campus Reform]
- Sometimes there really is a good case for taking the names of evil long-dead men off public university buildings, especially if the alternative is to throw a $700,000 subsidy at a murderer-themed café that can’t make it on food sale revenues [The College Fix; UCSD’s Che Guevara cafe]
- “Out in the real world, we have master electricians and mechanics, chess masters, masters of the universe, taskmasters of all kinds, and other such varieties of positions and titles connoting particular skill, knowledge or authority” [Harvey Silverglate, Minding the Campus, on Harvard College “masters” flap (citing “extraordinary recent expansion of the cadre of student life administrators … on virtually every campus throughout the nation”)]
- “Post-Protest Mizzou: Adverse Consequences of the Capitulation” [Thomas Lambert, Pope Center, earlier Lambert on Missouri]
Some Harvard researchers seek to redefine police shootings as a matter of public health [WBUR]
- As an experienced lawyer Hillary Clinton surely knows better than to say the things she’s saying about gun lawsuits. [Charles Cooke, thanks for citing my work]
- While we’re at it, Ms. Clinton, there is so much wrong with your contemplated business exit tax [Ira Stoll, New York Sun]
- Metallica vs. cover band cease/desist spat gets patched up quickly [Rockfeed, followup]
- Alas, RICO suits harassing Colorado legal-pot business appear to be prospering [Jacob Sullum/Reason, my Cato take]
- Judge tosses $21.5 million award in that colorful Holland America case we’ve covered [Seattle Times, earlier]
- Labor-rights case from Colombia causing further difficulty for Terry Collingsworth, attorney known for Alien Tort suits [Daniel Fisher, earlier]
- “Harvard Law Review Freaks Out, Sends Christmas Eve Threat Level Over Public Domain Citation Guide” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
The makers of the controversial advocacy film on sexual assault, “The Hunting Ground,” have suggested that by criticizing the film as unfair, Harvard law professors might be creating a hostile environment at their school, which itself might violate Title IX [Samantha Harris, FIRE; The Crimson; Paul Horwitz and Howard Wasserman, PrawfsBlawg; compare recent University of Mary Washington case, in which dean was said to violate Title IX by talking back publicly against accusations]
Jeannie Suk, one of the Harvard professors who has criticized the film, now has an important piece in the New Yorker. One reason we should pay attention to the piece is that its author might soon be silenced, depending on what her institution sees as its Title IX obligations:
This is a piece on a subject about which I may soon be prevented from publishing, depending on how events unfold….If, as the filmmakers suggest, the professors’ statement about the film has created a hostile environment at the school, then, under Title IX, the professors should be investigated and potentially disciplined.
At least for now, though, Professor Suk can speak out:
Fair process for investigating sexual-misconduct cases, for which I, along with many of my colleagues, have fought, in effect violates the tenet that you must always believe the accuser. Fair process must be open to the possibility that either side might turn out to be correct. If the process is not at least open to both possibilities, we might as well put sexual-misconduct cases through no process at all.
Moreover, she points out, an “always believe” premise in the end undercuts the cause of vindicating true accusations:
“always believe” unwittingly renders the stakes of each individual case impossibly high, by linking the veracity of any one claim to the veracity of all claims…. The imperative to act as though every accusation must be true—when we all know some number will not be—harms the over-all credibility of sexual assault claims….equating critique with a hostile environment is neither safe nor helpful for victims.
Delivering the 2015 Richard S. Salant Lecture on Freedom of the Press, former ACLU president Nadine Strossen voiced concerns that universities, prodded by the federal government’s Department of Education and its Office for Civil Rights, are become hostile to ideas and expressions that could make students uncomfortable. “Strossen listed numerous examples of repression of academic freedom that have resulted from university sexual harassment policies, including: a sexual harassment investigation against a Northwestern University professor for writing an article that criticized such sexual harassment policies; a U.S. Naval War College professor who was placed on administrative leave for quoting a Machiavelli comment that included the mention of rape; and an Appalachian State University sociology professor who was suspended for showing a documentary that critically examined the adult film industry. At Harvard, Strossen said, a chilling effect is also in place.” She said OCR has threatened to yank federal funding from schools that fail to “enact sexual misconduct policies that violate many civil liberties.” [Shorenstein Center; my 2013 piece]
Aside from Sandra Day O’Connor, “the swing justice of her day” and the first woman to sit on the Court, every Justice in recent times to be awarded an honorary Ivy degree has been from the Court’s left-liberal side. [John McGinnis, Law and Liberty; headline via @adamliptak]
- Alan Dershowitz, Harvard lawprof, suing TD Garden over slip and fall in bathroom three years back [Boston Globe]
- “Harsh Sanction Proposed For Attorney Who Blogged About Probate Case” [Mike Frisch, Legal Profession Blog]
- Maryland veto sets back reform: “Governor Hogan, Civil Asset Forfeiture Is Inherently Abusive” [Adam Bates, Cato]
- “‘Vape’ bans have little to do with public health” [Jacob Grier, Oregonian in February]
- Academics prosper through expert witness work, part one zillion [Ira Stoll]
- Sounds good: call for civil procedure reform includes fact-based pleading, strict discovery limits, case-specific rules, and more [Jordy Singer, Prawfs, on recommendations from American College of Trial Lawyers Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice and Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System]
- Draft plan would arm FTC with vast power over data practices [James C. Cooper, Morning Consult, via @geoffmanne]
- Following student complaints, Northwestern Prof. Laura Kipnis investigated by her university over an essay she wrote on campus sexual politics [Jonathan Adler and more, Chronicle of Higher Ed (Kipnis cleared amid nationwide furor), Glenn Reynolds] Flashback: How NPR, the Center for Public Integrity, and federal officials fueled the campus sex assault panic [Christina Hoff Sommers, The Daily Beast, January] Harvard lawprof Janet Halley, who battles for rights of Title IX accused, is anything but conservative [Harvard Crimson] “The pretense of ‘neutrality’ … has its roots in privilege.” Popehat’s wicked satire of academia looks so real;
- Throwing Skittles on a school bus = “interference with an educational facility” [Louisiana, Lowering the Bar]
- To reduce stigma, or so it’s said, Maryland will serve free school breakfast and summer meals to more children whether they’re poor or not. Why cook for your kids when the state will do it? [my Free State Notes post]
- Will high school football still be around in 2035? “Iowa Jury Awards Injured Ex-High School Football Player $1M” [Insurance Journal]
- “Maryland’s ‘free range’ parents cleared of neglect in one case” [Washington Post, earlier]
- St. Paul, MN schools in recent years embraced latest progressive nostrums on discipline, mainstreaming, cultural difference. Results have not been happy [Susan Du, City Pages]
- “Two-Thirds of Risk Managers Say Frats Are Major Liability” [Inside Higher Ed] California trend spreads as Connecticut Senate passes affirmative consent bill for college disciplinary policies [West Hartford News/CT News Junkie]
“A coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups filed a federal discrimination complaint against Harvard University, claiming racial bias in undergraduate admissions.” A chance to find out how serious the university establishment, federal agencies, and the courts are about norms of non-discrimination [Bloomberg, Eugene Volokh on Bill Clinton 1995 comment, Razib Khan/Unz]
And critics such as lawprof Tim Wu in the New Yorker aren’t ready to accept as an excuse the genuineness of Tribe’s belief in the argued-for positions [John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum] Perhaps the idea is that strong lawyers — like cartoonists? — have an obligation not to “punch down,” whether or not justice in a given case is on the side of the putatively less empowered party.
I’ve got an extensive discussion of law professors’ real-life litigation involvements in my book Schools for Misrule.