The Blah Blahg Blawg Blog

Monday, March 28, 2005

Latest on Academic Freedom

Sorry I haven't posted all month. I've been working on a project and it's attendant blog. Hasn't left much time to write for this one.

However... I saw Churchill today when he spoke on the Cal campus.

FYI... the CU investigative committee, who never one officially notified Churchill of the investigation nor asked him a single question, decided there were no legal grounds for firing Churchill. Nuff said.

Not quite...

FYFI, apparently the tax payers of Colorado have never paid Ward Churchill's salary. In fact, he has an endowed professorship. I guess that makes him a revenue generator for CU and the people of Colorado.

Latest on Academic Freedom

Sorry I haven't posted all month. I've been working on a project and it's attendant blog. Hasn't left much time to write for this one.

However... I saw Churchill today when he spoke on the Cal campus.

FYI... the CU investigative committee, who never one officially notified Churchill of the investigation nor asked him a single question, decided there were no legal grounds for firing Churchill. Nuff said.

Not quite...

FYFI, apparently the tax payers of Colorado have never paid Ward Churchill's salary. In fact, he has an endowed professorship. I guess that makes him a revenue generator for CU and the people of Colorado.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The First Amendment and partisan politics

I wrote in comment that the protections of the First Amendment transcend partisan politics and partisan ideologies. Just a spot of evidence for my claim: Genya and I actually agree about what constitutes a violation of the First Amendment.

Ideological witch-hunts aren't good for the country, for citizens or for the principles and values upon which our government was founded. I don't care if the hunters come from the right or from the left or from those self-proclaimed "centrists."

Regarding Newt's comments about state subsidies of speech (that I refuse to link to because they are SO ignorant), please see:

Robert C. Post, "Racist Speech, Democracy, and the First Amendment" 32 Wm.& Mary L. Rev. 267, 318 (1990) (analyzing instrumental regulation of speech within universities)

See also:Robert C. Post, "Subsidized Speech" 106 Yale L. Journal 151-195, (Oct. 1996)

EVENT: Revisiting 209

Revisiting 209: A Case for Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Monday, February 28, 2005
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM


Location:
UC Hastings College of the Law
Alumni Reception Center
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102


Contact:
Barbra L. Williams
Co-President, Black Law Students Association
(510) 238-9096
bwmseduc@aol.com

Agenda:
5:00 PM
Opening Remarks/Introduction of Moderator(1 min.)
Barbra Williams, Co-President, UC Hastings Black LawStudents Association

Panel Introductions

Prof. C. Keith Wingate, - Panel Discussion

Bob Laird, Author, The Case for Affirmative Actionin University Admissions
Mr. Laird is a past director of UndergraduateAdmission at the University of California, Berkeley. His book explains the critical role of affirmativeaction in creating diverse public institutions,describes the turbulent debates regarding suchprograms, and explains the guidelines that will governaffirmative action policies in education in theimmediate future.

Vikram Amar, UC Hastings Professor of Law
Prof. Amar will discuss the William Henderson,Texas Law Review article entitled, The LSAT, LawSchool Exams, and Meritocracy: The Surprising andUnder theorized Role of Test-taking Speed.

The major implication of this study is that the current emphasison time pressured law school exams increases therelative importance of the LSAT as an admissioncriterion. The current emphasis on time-pressured lawschool exams, may skew measures of merit in ways thathave little theoretical connection to the actualpractice of law. The study also found somepreliminary evidence that the performance gap betweenwhite and minority students may be smaller on lesstime-pressured testing methods, includingblind-graded, take-home exams.

William Kidder, Equal Justice Society
Kidder co-authored a rebuttal to Richard Sander's study in the Stanford Law Review, in which he argues that affirmative action decreases the number ofAfrican American attorneys nationwide. Kidder' s article shows that available data on law school admissions, law school performance, and bar exam performance indicate that Sander's article is premised upon a series of statistical errors, oversights, and implausible assumptions. The EJS concludes that if affirmative action in law school admissions were eliminated tomorrow, there would probably be a 30-40 percent decline in the numbers of African Americansentering the legal profession, not the rosy 7.9percent improvement that Sander forecasts.

Michael Harris, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of SF Bay Area
In 2004, LCCR worked together with the MexicanAmerican Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) to sponsor state bill AB2387, which would have allowed public universities in California to consider race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, geography, and income in admissions decisions to obtain a diversestudent body. The bill was vetoed by GovernorSchwarzenegger. Harris will discuss the goals of thebill and prospective strategies to combat the effectsof Proposition 209.

6:01 PM - 6:15 PM Questions & Answers

6:15 PM - 6:25 PM Break

6:30 PM Keynote Address Dean Christopher Edley, Jr.,
Universityof California School of Law (Boalt Hall)

7:00 JamesFinberg, President, Bar Association of San Francisco
Partner, Co-Sponsors, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP

Finberg will comment on the Bar Association of SanFrancisco's efforts to increase minority enrollment.

Closing Remarks/Acknowledgments
Barbra Williams, Co-President, UC Hastings BLSA

7:00 PM - 7:30 PM - Refreshments

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Pitchers and Catchers Report!

Thank god for A'sball!

See the A's 2005 roster. It's a virtual "Who?... Who?" of baseball. Hopefully, a bunch of soon-to-bes... and Barry Zito.

I'm officially announcing, ladies and men-loving-men, the team is better good looking than last year. :-) Join me, won't you, in the right field bleachers, where the views are best.

By the way... May 13- 22 is going to be a great week. First NYY comes to town. Then the defending World Champions. Then, three games at Mayes Field across the Bay.

Yeah Baby! Got to go email my boss about scheduling my vacation during that week...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Presidents' Day

I'm off for Presidents' Day weekend. I'll be on an island in Puget Sound with no cell-phone reception, no cable tv and no access to the Internet. (Unless you count dial-up. I don't.) I will have my PDA and keyboard with me, so I might draft some posts. But I won't be back until Wednesday, February 23.

In case you are wondering just how big of a nerd I am... Let me give you a small idea.

Last night, I had tickets for a concert in the South Bay. I left with time to spare because rain just makes Bay Area traffic totally unreasonable. But, by some miracle, there was no traffic and the rain didn't start until I was already in the South Bay. I found myself with an entire hour before the concert started.

So what did I do? I pulled into the well lit parking lot of one of their ugly strip malls and parked. Next, I busted out my PDA, wedging it in my steering wheel. I unfolded my portable bluetooth keyboard (with full size keys; it's sooooo dreamy!), and Voila! I started a post I hope to finish this weekend.

TMI? Probably. Have a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Churchill and Academic Freedom

I'm feeling pretty vindicated in my understanding of academic freedom as it relates to Ward Churchill. (woo hoo permalinks!) "Everyone's a Judge" Feb. 14, 2005

See this thoughtful thread in the Leiter Reports. Leiter, by the way, no fan of Churchill or of Ethnic Studies as a discipline.

Leiter missed the Federal Indian law issues. Go figure considering related Indian law issues are rarely, if ever (pretty close to never) taught in doctrinal courses. Leiter is likely missing a lot about Indian issues though, considering he doesn't think much of Ethnic Studies as a rigorous course of study.

I missed the defamation issue. While we didn't cover "intentionals" in my first year Torts class, I have little excuse because we definitely covered it in Post's 1A course. Alas. Cast no reflection upon Prof. Post. He tried.

See the American Association of Professors POV here.

Re: "How Indian is Churchill?" see CU student description of Chruchill's Feb. 8th (?) comments and reception in a CU forum. For those too lazy to link, let's just say, you're missing out on a bit of a history lesson. Oh, and AIM was in the house.

Finally, who the hell at The Rocky Mountain News is writing this crap? And why won't the paper attribute it to someone?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Diversity in Action Forum

Yesterday, I RSVPed (iwan@berkeley.edu) for the Diversity in Action Forum on March 3, 2005.

I received the following, informative, email in response. Sharing it here to encourage others to RSVP and attend.

"DIVERSITY IN ACTION: LEADING THE NATION THROUGH RESEARCH AND PRACTICE."

The forum will take place on March 3, 2005 from 10:00AM-5:00PM in the Pauley Ballroom of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union.

The forum is organized into two parts: morning and afternoon sessions.
The morning session, which will take place from 10:00am-12:30pm, consists of a panel of well-known academics from colleges and universities around the country who will speak about their successes in creating and sustaining diversity projects on their campuses.

In the afternoon, we will host two breakout sessions: the first will focus on creating a research agenda on diversity for Cal and how each campus population (students, staff, faculty) plays an important role in that task; the second breakout session will focus on building alliances through interaction with other members on the Berkeley campus in order to create a diverse and inclusive community.

The final events of the afternoon will be a keynote address by Dean Christopher Edley of Boalt Hall School of Law, and remarks by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Academic Senate Chair Robert Knapp.

Please note that we have not yet finalized the exact schedule. We will send a finalized schedule to participants closer to the date of the event.

If you have any additional questions before then, please contact me at iwan@berkeley.edu or by phone at (510) 642-6621. We greatly value your commitment to diversity and excellence, and look forward to seeing you at the Diversity Forum!

With Warm Regards,Irene Wan
Campus Community Initiative
2222 Bancroft WayBerkeley, CA 94720-4300

Monday, February 14, 2005

Update: Diversity in Higher Education

FIRST:
This article in The Chronicle today gives an brief, narrative overview of diversity at UC in the past 10 years.

IMPORTANT NOTE: An all-day UCB campus event on March 3, 2005 "Diversity In Action" RSVP to iwan@berkeley.edu.

SECOND:
New data refuting Richard Sander's study in the Stanfurd Law Review, in which he argues that affirmative action decreases the number of African American attorneys nationwide.

Equal Justice Society's research page says "... available data on law school admissions, law school performance, and bar exam performance indicate that sanders article is premised upon a series of statistical errors, oversights, and implausible assumptions. We conclude that if affirmative action in law school admissions were eliminated tomorrow, there would probably be a 30-40 percent decline in the numbers of African Americans entering the legal profession, not the rosy 7.9 percent improvement that Sander forecasts." Read it for yourself here.

Everyone's a Judge

After a debate between Boalt Professor, John Yoo (some Yoo's controversial publications here) and Brosnahan was cancelled at Boalt last week, due to UCPD's security concerns, Armen's Boalt blog lit up with quite a bit of discussion about the role of the 1st Amendment at public universities.

An anonymous poster pointed out that public universities can limit speech on their campuses and cited two excellent law review articles on point by Robert C. Post. I followed up in comment by suggesting discussion of the similarities and differences between Yoo's situation and Ward Churchill's case at CU. After that, the comments heated up. When Armen chimed in with an eager defense for protecting free expression, particularly on public university campuses because they are public, I busted out my tired 1A memories (for I had the inestimable Robert C. Post for First Amendment). I sited the SCotUS opinion written by Sacramento's own Justice Kennedy (a Stanfurd product) for the proposition that public universities are "limited public forums" and can exercise content-based limits on speech, but not viewpoint limits, that are consistent with the public university's educational mission. I didn't say the university's mission is education, Kennedy did. No sooner do I post Kennedy's own words than I see this article, in the Desert Sun Times, reporting that Kennedy was in-state recently. According to this unattributed piece, Kennedy opined that education's loftier and most significant role (is) promoting liberty and democracy.

Taking that "loftier goal" seriously, I'm thinkin you might need to conceive of the public university as an even less "limited" public forum if you believe, to paraphrase Post's words, "Public discourse is a site for forging an independent public opinion and legitimacy of democratic government requires that the government be responsive to public opinion." Other than the media, what public forum, however "limited", contributes so significantly to "the forging of independent public opinion"? I tend to think you better have really, sincerely strong (strict scrutiny-level) justifications for limiting speech on a public university campus. I tend not to trust managerial justifications like security issues, particularly if those security issues are raised by "web-chatter." One can see why Yoo didn't show up to the debate after being warned-off by UCPD, the man is serious about self-defense.

I also tend not to trust inquiries by the state or media into the sources of Churchill's identity. The timing of CU's interrogation is suspect, suggesting any "identity fraud" perpetrated by Churchill is, at best, a pretext for the real reason CU and the Governor of CO want Churchill fired. I suspect the "real reason" is they don't like the stances he takes in his scholarship, which sounds peculiarly like view-point discrimination. As to the particular article and book that fanned the embers of the Churchill fire, I strongly suggest people read the article and foundational materials to which Churchill refers when he alleges the people in the WTC were not innocents but, rather, were complicit "technocrats." Further, its important to note that Churchill includes himself, and all Americans, in the allegation of complicity. None of us, he asserts, is innocent. I can't agree more.

The questions surrounding the legitimacy of Churchill's genetic and cultural claims has been long and on-going in Indian community, and the debate properly belongs in Indian community. It is fundamental to sovereignty that the sovereign determine who is and who is not a member of its polity, and the standards of the sovereign should be used to make the determination. Simply, being American Indian is a matter of community recognition and "recognition" can manifest in many ways, only one (a very important one) of which is official tribal enrollment. Therefore, I don't believe Churchill's identity is an issue on which non-Indian public comment has much persuasive force or value.

Whether Churchill fabricated evidence (alleged here, among other allegations, by Berny Morson, Charlie Brennan and John Ensslin of the Rocky Mountain News) and in and for some of his scholarship or not is ethically and legally a matter for his peers to decide, according to doctrine of Academic Freedom. The principle of academic freedom (see in relevant part, element #3 with amendments and commentary at note 4) is founded upon the First Amendment, as necessary to a robust public discourse, particularly on matters political. The only people ethically and legally qualified to judge the quality of Churchill's scholarship, for the purposes of tenure or dismissal, are his academic peers.

Further, it's irresponsible of professional journalists to report allegations and innuendo as if they are fact. See this UNattributed webpiece. The non-professional-reporters can blog all they want about it (I can even support your figurative "lynch blog" in the name of the First Amendment). But given recent events blurring the line between commenter and journalist (too many to link to), "columns" appearing in printed media, or on official newspaper websites, should be clearly marked as "commentary" so as not to be confused by readers with news-reporting.

So... First Amendment and public university PROUD people! If Boalt Hall and UC has a place in its discourse for John Yoo, then barring a finding of fabrication of scholarly evidence, certainly CU ought to have a place for Ward Churchill.

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