As Al mentions below, Carolina Law's dean Jack Boger circulated word of the death of our colleague Julius Chambers this morning. With Jack's permission, I reprint here his brief account of Julius's remarkable, courageous, inspiring life.
As Al mentions below, Carolina Law's dean Jack Boger circulated word of the death of our colleague Julius Chambers this morning. With Jack's permission, I reprint here his brief account of Julius's remarkable, courageous, inspiring life.
I have just received an email from my dean, Jack Boger, delivering the sad news that civil rights hero Julius Chambers has passed away. I want to present just a few of the highlights of his extraordinary career.
Chambers graduated first in his class from UNC in 1962, where he was also editor-in-chief of the North Carolina Law Review. He went on to study and teach at Columbia Law School, then began working for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In 1964 he returned to Charlotte where he founded what became the first integrated law firm in the south. He litigated major cases including Swann v. Charlotte‑Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971), Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) and Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody (1974). In 1984, Chambers became Director - Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City. During his time at the NAACP he had argued and won a unanimous decision in a key Voting Rights Act case, Thornberg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30 (1986).
Almost a decade later, Julius Chambers returned to North Carolina to become Chancellor of his alma mater, North Carolina Central University. In 1995 he was one of three lawyers who argued Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899 (1996). In 2001 Julius retired as Chancellor of North Carolina Central University and shortly thereafter become the inaugural director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights. He was a real hero and role model for faculty and students and I am very sorry to hear about his passing.
Hardly a week seems to go by without a gloom and doom story about the status of legal education in America.
Crippling student debt, a poor job market, and graduates (and employers) claiming that new lawyers have inadequate practical training are among the allegations. It certainly didn’t help that certain institutional members of the academy were caught cheating in their data reporting on entering student qualifications and graduate employment data.
Protectors of the realm (of legal education) have responded in the media and across the blogosphere to argue that this phase is nothing more than media hype, statistical anomaly, or a few misinformed and disgruntled graduates with good websites and social media expertise. However, as I reflect back on my undergraduate economics lessons, it appears that regardless of the cause, the national drop in law school applicants during the current 2013-admission cycle represents the market responding to “new” information and “voting” with their feet and checkbook. Law schools (including deans and faculty) that hide from, or ignore, this response choose to do so at great peril.
Over the next month, as a guest blogger here on The Faculty Lounge, I would like to share some of my law school’s experiences in facing the changes in legal education. I also hope that others will share their ideas and experiences as well.
Perhaps it is best to start the conversation knowing a little more about why my law school is different than yours. Understanding our differences will be an important element of determining whether ideas that have worked at a small, private, non-profit community law can be effectively scaled to work at larger traditional ABA law schools. I think that in many cases the answer is “yes” . . . but of course that is what we will discuss over the course of this month.
Monterey College of Law was founded in 1972 as a community law school accredited by the State Bar of California Committee of Bar Examiners. Although the state accreditation rules mirror many of the ABA requirements, there are significant differences that provide greater flexibility in our faculty selection, curriculum design, admission standards, and finances.
Each of these issues will be discussed, but perhaps the best to generate initial conversation with a board directed at law school faculty . . . is law school faculty.
Here is where my Dean colleagues get envious . . . for 40+ years, MCL has operated with a 100% adjunct faculty and no faculty tenure. Our faculty members are practicing lawyers and judges who teach evening courses in their area of expertise. Despite the fact that faculty are hired each year on one-year contracts, over one-third have taught at MCL for more than 20 years. Approximately one-third have served on the faculty between 5-20 years, and the final third have served on the faculty for less than five years.
I have often said that MCL has the most egalitarian law faculty in the country, because by faculty decision, every professor, regardless of seniority, topic, or course delivery method is paid exactly the same rate.
. . . Nothing like jumping right into the hornet’s nest of questioning whether legal education requires faculty tenure to survive. What I can say is that for more than 40+ years, MCL has provided a quality legal education that has produced local judges, DAs, Public Defenders, and private practitioners who are considered among the most respected in the local legal community. Of course, a 100% non-tenured, adjunct law faculty would not work in a traditional university setting. But doesn’t our experience at least raise a serious question about whether broadly utilizing more adjunct practitioner faculty . . . and recognizing them as academic equals would provide a more cost-effective . . . and perhaps a more substantively effective educational environment for our students?
In this series of posts, I’ve been detailing some of the ways in which the gender undertones of the Yellen-versus-Summers-for-fed-chair debate resemble discussions we've heard about corporate board diversity. In my last post, I noted that a common rationale put forward in favor of corporate board diversity is the avoidance of groupthink and an ability to facilitate board independence through countering the insularity and “sameness” that can characterize some boardrooms. Yet, this supposed role of diverse directors is in some tension with two other strong narratives that emerge from our interviews: (1) the importance of collegiality and getting along in the boardroom and (2) the efforts undertaken by female and minority directors to fit in and conform to the prevailing boardroom culture – in short, to behave like, and be accepted on the same terms as, any other board member.
In today’s post, I want to elaborate on those efforts. Recall, first, the statements by Christina Romer, former chief of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under Obama, on the difference between formal inclusion and real influence:
“I was always officially where I should be,” Ms. Romer said of her White House experience. “When there was a quick meeting on the phone, or the side meeting, that’s when you felt like maybe business was being done or maybe I was being left out of things.”
Recall also that some of the concerns about Yellen (expressed through what Ezra Klein has labeled a “sexist whispering campaign against Janet Yellen”), have to do with her style, which has been labeled not “tough,” lacking “gravitas,” too “soft-spoken,” and “passive.” There is concern that she may not be able to handle the inevitable tough fights with Congress.
In our recent article, The Danger of Difference: Tensions in Directors’ Views of Corporate Board Diversity, Lissa Broome, John Conley, and I discuss the efforts of our respondents to look, speak, and behave like a director. All directors, regardless of race or gender, take pains to “perform” the social role of director, in the sense of presenting oneself in a way that is appropriate to time, place, and audience. Directors thus give careful thought to the way in which their questions, comments, behavior, and even their dress are perceived by other board members.
Though all directors gave some thought to the performance of their social role of director (especially when new to board service), female and minority directors were especially likely to report working hard at managing the impressions of other board members, putting colleagues at ease, and fitting into the boardroom environment. (In fact, our forthcoming book on this topic dedicates an entire chapter to the use by female directors of sports –playing, watching, and discussing – as a means to build rapport with board colleagues).
To illustrate, one white female director spent years adjusting to the male-dominated culture of one boardroom:
A: Right. But I’ll tell you something else. It took me several years to be comfortable at this board, partly because it was—the culture was so male—not just male dominated, but a particular kind of culture, and because I didn’t know it.
An African American female director gave a particularly detailed account of her successful efforts to gain the trust and acceptance of her new board colleagues:
A: [I]n being on the board at [company name], I’ve consciously forced myself out of my comfort zone because I knew I had to know these people and learn who they are and interact with them and so after the conclusion of the board meetings, I found myself looking around and I was saying, why am I always the last person here and that was a conscious decision that I had made. I hung around and I talked to people and got to know them, and that paid off because they felt comfortable with me. They felt comfortable calling me up and saying, “let me bounce something off of you.” They felt comfortable saying, “I’m going to sit beside [name of respondent] at the meeting today,” and so that may be my biggest success on that board, was letting them know who I was and letting them know we’re all on the same team, and I wasn’t that student who always raised my hand. I knew the answer. . . .
I would get there early because I realized that some of them got there early. If the meeting started at two, they were there at twelve. So I started coming early and have lunch with them in the cafeteria, so I kind of developed my little group. I knew they were going to be there, and I would sit at the table and talk with them and understood what the rituals were. Then they would all go to another little area and read the papers and sit and talk. And so you talk about— you have a board meeting, but then they go out to the parking lot and talk. I began to understand that decisions were not only made in the board room, but they’re made somewhere else, and so if I hadn’t stepped outside of my comfort zone, I would never have known that. (emphasis mine)
Notice, however, that this acceptance as part of the group came only with time, and only after continued efforts from our respondent. Though the other directors made no overt attempts to exclude her, neither did they inform her of unofficial group norms, such as arriving early to lunch together, despite the fact that informal board business sometimes occurred during these gatherings:
Q: But nobody came up to you and said, “Hey, [identifying director information], come a little early next time because we have lunch in the [company cafeteria]?”
A: Uh-uh. They didn’t. . . . Then after a couple of times they began to look for me, and we’re going to lunch, and so we had our table that we sat at and so I just kind of learned how to click with the group.
Q: Have you done that your whole life, worked hard to fit in to whatever group you’re in?
A: I have.
I’ll be back with some final thoughts in my next post.
From the folks at Tulane:
Tulane University School of Law Tulane Law School invites applications for an entry level faculty member who would hold a joint appointment with the Law School and the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, a highly regarded interdisciplinary unit specializing in political economy and ethics. The position is designed for scholars focusing on the regulation of the economy broadly construed, including but not limited to law and economics, taxation, commercial law, securities regulation, regulation of financial institutions, consumer law, bankruptcy, and similar fields.
We especially invite applications from candidates who will enhance the diversity of the law faculty. Applications should be sent to: Professor Stephen M. Griffin Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee Tulane University School of Law 6329 Freret Street New Orleans, LA 70118 email@example.com.
From the editors at the Pitt Law Review:
The University of Pittsburgh Law Review is seeking submissions for a symposium in honor of the late Derrick A. Bell, to be hosted on March 27-28, 2014. The focus of the symposium is to honor the memory of Professor Bell through the exchange of ideas on the future of critical race theory in legal scholarship. Authors and presenters are invited to submit proposals on topics relating to this theme, such as the following:
Contemporary Issues in Critical Race Theory Critical analyses of current issues in race and the law, including examinations of how contemporary legal issues may have unnoticed racial effects.
Critical Race Theory & Methodology Explorations of new methods for critical race scholarship, including interdisciplinary methods or the repurposing of older methods. We welcome scholarship on methodology as well as scholarship resulting from the use of new methods.
Critical Intersections Investigations into how race intersects with other categories of human existence (e.g. gender, sexuality, class) and how the law affects persons who inhabit these intersecting categories.
Critical Pedagogy Professor Bell considered teaching to be an essential part of his legacy, and so we welcome submissions that discuss a critical approach to legal pedagogy.
Conor Friedersdorf, a writer at The Atlantic, has been digging around in some opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel in the '30s and '40s and today publishes a memo from May of 1942 in which Oscar Cox opines on whether the Executive has the authority to declare a targeted sort of martial law that would allow the removal of American citizens of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii to the mainland and, once on the mainland, their imprisonment.
In the memo, Cox hedges quite a bit, advises against even deciding the question, floats less damaging ideas, and ultimately concludes only that it's "possible" that the Executive has the power under discussion.
Friedersdorf characterizes the memo as "chilling" evidence that "[w]ar footing has warped our thinking for too long."
I see it pretty differently. (To be clear: I don't quibble with Friedersdorf's normative claim; I just don't think this memo is very good evidence of it.)
It should be noted up front that the legal theory under discussion in the memo is not the theory used to evict Japanese Americans from their homes along the West Coast and to detain them in camps in the interior. What's under discussion here is the creation of a new and specific kind of martial law targeting American citizens in Hawaii.
Martial law was never the basis for what we have come to know as the "Japanese American internment." So the memo Friedersdorf has found doesn't really have anything to do with the reality of the episode that Friedersdorf says it illuminates.
Friedersdorf (kind of) acknowledges this, but suggests that the memo is somehow revealing of the overall mindset of government lawyers at the time.
If it does reveal such an overall mindset, I find that mindset more refreshing than chilling.
This is not the memo of a lawyer eager to do what he imagines to be the President's bidding, or looking to use the label of "war" to support an executive power grab. (Cf. Yoo, John.)
Cox begins by urging that the legal question need not even be decided because the military is not acting in a way that implicates it. More importantly, he cites as a reason for avoiding decision the risk that the legal principle, once established, "might be extended or abused." (Cf. Justice Jackson, dissenting in Korematsu: "The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need. Every repetition imbeds that principle more deeply in our law and thinking and expands it to new purposes.") I say "bravo" to Cox for his caution.
Cox then moves on to address head-on the legality of an order declaring martial law specifically as to a group of people defined racially -- and he comes down against it.
He then addresses the legality of suspending the writ of habeas corpus against a racially defined group -- and while acknoweldging the President's power to do this, he advises against it.
Finally, he ranges far beyond the question he's been asked to volunteer that if someone makes the decision that Japanese Americans from Hawaii must be removed to the mainland, they should not be confined in camps but instead simply excluded from coastal zones where acts of subversion would be most damaging.
I rather like this memorandum. I would hold it up as an example of creative lawyering against the excesses of war, not in support of them. I would like to think that if I'd been in OLC in 1942, I would have had the courage to draft this memorandum in this way.
Michael Simkovic has it up here. People who interested in the issue, but have not been keeping up, should probably read the article here then kick up their feet, relax, and read the stream of explanatory posts Michael has put up recently at Leiter.
Sure. The study could be wrong. Quantitative research is not, after all, truth-finding, but rather highly educated guessing, the quality of which depends on assumptions and data. Sure. The future of the legal profession, as compared to other fields, may bear no resemeblance to the past. Maybe this is just a history study. Sure. Some law schools may oversell this study in an effort to recruit students. We can grant all of these things.
Looking both at the paper itself, and the sustained, thoughtful responses to criticism, my sense is that this research is serious scholarship done by serious scholars who tried extremely hard to produce an accurate account of an issue under study. Perhaps other labor economists will definitively shred this paper - though I think such an outcome is unlikely.
But I think that people who care about legal education owe these guys a meed of gratitude for taking on an important question in such a radioactive environment; being willing to engage critics very publicly; and being both thorough and respectful scholars. The students at Seton Hall are fortunate to have somebody like Simkovic in the building.
From an email message I received earlier today:
Texas Tech University School of Law invites applications from exceptional individuals for two positions, a tenured or tenure-track position teaching Water Law, and a full-time Legal Practice lecturer.
For the first position (Requisition Number 88012), we are seeking a professor who, if a tenured candidate, also will serve as Director for the Law School’s Center for Water Law and Policy and the George W. McCleskey Professor of Water Law (a tenure-track candidate would be able to serve as Acting Director). The Center's mission is to contribute to the understanding, development, teaching, and study of water law and policy. The Center is part of the Texas Tech University’s interdisciplinary water initiative, which involves faculty and students representing the disciplines of law, public policy, economics, agriculture, geosciences, engineering, biological sciences, and health sciences. In addition to serving as the Center’s Director, responsibilities would include teaching Water Rights and related courses.
Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and have relevant experience such as teaching, legal practice, or a judicial clerkship. Entry-level candidates must show scholarly promise, as evidenced by publications in scholarly journals, scholarly works in progress, or a scholarly agenda. For any lateral applicant with tenure, a distinguished record of teaching and scholarship is required. Once hired, faculty members are evaluated and advancement is determined by contributions in teaching, research, and service.
The second position (Requisition Number 89239) is for an individual to teach in our exceptional Legal Practice Program (which includes legal writing and various other skills). Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and have relevant experience such as teaching, legal practice, or a judicial clerkship. Legal Practice Faculty Members are appointed under one-year contracts subject to reappointment annually based upon annual reviews, programmatic and budgetary needs. Appointment beyond the fifth year must be approved by a majority vote of the tenured faculty, the Law School Dean and the University Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Under Texas Tech University policy, those in the Legal Practice program do not acquire tenure but enjoy academic freedom, have significant governance rights and if reappointed after six years can only be dismissed for adequate cause. University OP 32.34.
Texas Tech University, located in Lubbock, Texas, is a state-supported National Research University with an enrollment that exceeds 32,000 students. The law school has approximately 660 students and 40 full-time faculty members. The law school is an integral part of the University and offers 12 dual-degree programs with other Texas Tech schools and colleges. The Lubbock metropolitan area is home to 250,000 people, enjoys affordable housing, abundant sunshine, friendly people, and offers easy access to other parts of the country. For more information, visit our website at http://www.law.ttu.edu/.
As an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, Texas Tech University is dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse faculty committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment. We actively encourage applications from all those who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community at Texas Tech University. The university welcomes applications from minorities, women, veterans, persons with disabilities, and dual-career couples. Please submit your cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references electronically to the attention of Professor John L. Watts, Chair, Personnel Committee, at the Texas Tech Jobs website https://jobs.texastech.edu or www.workattexastech.com. You can contact Professor Watts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Resume review will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled.
An 18 member ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education posted an extensive working paper today. It is not a final document, but rather - as the Task Force put it - a "field manual for people of good faith who wish to improve legal education as a public and private good." Here are the points the group highlighted:
- Law school education is funded through a complex system of tuition, discounting, and loans. Schools announce standard tuition rates, and then chase students with high LSAT scores by offering substantial discounts without much regard to financial need. Other students receive little if any benefit from discounting and must rely mainly on borrowing to finance their education. The net result is that students whose credentials (and likely job prospects) are the weakest incur large debt to sustain the school budget and enable highercredentialed students to attend at little cost. These practices drive up both tuition and debt, and they are in need of serious re-engineering.
- The system of accreditation administered by the ABA Section of Legal Education has served the profession and the nation well. But it has come to sustain a far higher level of standardization in legal education than may be necessary to turn out capable lawyers. The ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools also impose requirements that add expense without conferring commensurate benefits. We conclude that the section would serve the public interest by enabling more heterogeneity among law schools. The Task Force recommends that a number of the Standards be either dramatically revised or repealed.
-The ABA’s accreditation system should facilitate substantial innovations in law school programs better than it does today. The current procedures under which schools can seek to vary from ABA Standards in order to pursue experiments are completely confidential and fairly narrow in practice. The Task Force recommends that the ABA Section open its variance processes to full public view and use the variance system energetically as an avenue to foster experimentation by law schools.
- The profession’s calls for more attention to skills training and experiential learning have been well-taken, and law schools have done much to expand such opportunities for students. There is need to do more. The balance between doctrinal instruction and hands-on training needs to shift still further toward the core competencies needed by people who will deliver legal services to clients.
- State supreme courts, state bar associations, and admitting authorities should devise additional frameworks for licensing providers of legal services, such as licensing limited practitioners or authorizing bar admission for people whose preparation is not in the traditional three-year classroom mold.
It's my pleasure to introduce Mitchel Winick, the dean and president of Monterey College of Law, to the faculty lounge. He's going to be sitting with us for a spell. Mitch has served as dean of Monterey since 2005. Prior to moving to Monterey, Mitch served as the Assistant Dean for Texas Tech University School of Law and as the Executive Director and Education Director for the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism. He also served as an adjunct law professor at University of Houston, University of New Mexico, Southern Methodist University, and Texas Wesleyan University. He was educated at the University of the Pacific and the University of Houston School of Law. In addition to his administrative duties, he teaches in the areas of professional ethics and international law and his scholarship on ethics has appeared in the Texas Tech Law Review and the Texas Wesleyan Law Review.
Monterey College of Law is an independent, non-profit evening law school accredited by the State Bar of California Committee of Bar Examiners. Thus, Dean Winick has a different perspective from a lot of the voices we usually hear in the lounge. I'm looking forward to his thoughts about their curriculum, faculty, the goals for the education of their students, and what practices of non-traditional law schools might be used to change more traditional schools. I'm looking forward to the conversation. Welcome, Dean Winick.
Our friends at Ole Miss inform me that they are reopening the search for the following position:
University of Mississippi School of Law announces the creation of the
MacArthur Justice Clinic, the law school's ninth clinical program. The
Clinic will undertake impact litigation on civil rights/human rights matters
and criminal justice issues in Mississippi. The law school seeks a
tenure-track (or long-term appointment ) clinical faculty member to lead and
teach in the clinic. With the generous support of the J. Roderick
MacArthur Foundation, the law school will receive funding for the Clinic’s
litigation efforts, and will also create an endowment to provide loan repayment
and fellowships for recent graduates who pursue public interest law in
Mississippi. The School of Law looks forward not only to the work of the
MacArthur Justice Clinic, but also to the connection the Clinic will build with
the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University School of
Law. The Chair of the Search Committee is Professor Ben Cooper email@example.com. For more
information about the position and to apply, please visit https://jobs.olemiss.edu/postings.
For more information on the establishment of the Clinic, please
With the recent news of historian Edmund Morgan’s passing at age 97 I was inspired to thumb through one of my favorite books, Inventing the People. One of the things I love generally about Morgan’s work is the ease with which he wrote. Morgan wrote simply, gracefully, and efficiently. This has been a major theme in his obituaries and memorials. Perhaps one of the best memorials I’ve read so far is a piece of advice Morgan passed on to Honor Sachs (and to most of his students I’m sure): “Put an actor in every sentence.”
Morgan’s books were also conceptually rich without being theoretically exhausting. His goal was not to weigh readers down, but to open them to new worlds of ideas. He did that with the skill of a master historian. For those who have never read Inventing the People, just read the preface (3 whole pages!), and you’ll get a taste of Morgan in high form.
Inventing the People remains relevant in many ways, as does most of Morgan’s scholarship. But for legal scholars the book is of most importance to those writing within the popular constitutionalism turn in constitutional theory and history. This turn has generated new interest and new directions in constitutional history. For example, popular constitutionalism’s focus on the constitutional ideas and practices of ordinary people has intersected nicely with the training in social history that most of us with Ph.D.’s in history receive.
One of popular constitutionalism’s limitations, though, is that exactly who constitutes “the people” remains under-explored. For most popular constitutionalists, “the people” are assumed to be actual people. Certainly, there have to be actual people in order for the people to make sense. But the people is something more than a collection or aggregation of individuals.
Morgan makes this clear by referring to “the people” as, simply, a “fiction” or “make-believe.” (Note that he did not use the terms “ideology” or “discourse.” Just “make-believe.” So delightful!) Of course, Morgan understood that “fiction” (his preferred term) was problematic, as he explained in the preface. But his emphasis was not on the fiction’s untrueness; it was on its believability. Or perhaps we might say more accurately that Morgan was interested in the connection between the untrueness and its believability. This could have led Morgan down a critical, dare I say Gramscian, path. But that was not Morgan. “I can only hope that readers who perservere to the end of the book will recognize that the fictional qualities of popular sovereignty sustain rather than threaten the human values associated with it,” he wrote (p. 15). (I just love his humble invitation to read further.) This is not to say that there isn’t a critical approach to be explored, though.
It could serve popular constitutionalists well to spend some extended time with Morgan’s book, and in particular to consider the fictional dimensions of the people. How the work of actual people becomes the work of the people is a complex historical process, and I’m not convinced that popular constitutionalists have answered that question definitively. But figuring out how the ideas and practices of groups of ordinary people becomes authoritative expression of “the people” is the next move that popular constitutionalists need to make. Fortunately, there is already some movement in that direction.
More importantly, though, I just want to remember Morgan, one of my favorite historians. I’d also like to point out that the good folks over at The Junto will be hosting a roundtable on Morgan’s work this month. So read yourself some Edmund Morgan, and go check it out!
In the first few days of the protests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to the protestors as “capulcu”s (pronounced cha-pool-joo) or looters. He had used the term before about other dissenters, but his reference to the protestors as capulcus brought about various creative subversions of the term. The protestors started to refer to themselves as capulcus and even used English-adaptations of the term, such as chapuller and chappulling. Since I arrived in Istanbul last Friday, I have met quite a few chapullers of various ages, genders, ethnicities and religions, as well as citizens who support the current Turkish government and think the protests were unnecessary and harmful to the country. Although I will discuss some of my meetings and interviews in further detail in later posts, here I want to highlight vulnerability - the feeling every person with whom I have spoken in Istanbul expressed regardless of their political views and long-term political objectives.
So far, I have had in depth conversations with approximately 30 people who joined the protests in various neighborhoods around Istanbul from various backgrounds- from young people in their early 20’s to a grandparent in her late 60’s, including a parliamentarian, publishers, doctors, homeless people and professors. I have also met people who did not join the protests but strongly support them. For instance, I met a taxi driver whose son was on the front lines during the protests, and a couple in their 60’s who opened their apartment building’s doors to protestors escaping the police. From the youngest to the oldest, they all expressed that prior to the protests, they felt vulnerable in Turkey, where Prime Minister Erdogan’s Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP) (or Justice and Development Party) has governed the country for the last ten years, and has continued to pass laws that my interviewees find contrary to democratic governance. In the past, Erdogan has made numerous absurd comments about gender and sexuality (this news story reports Erdogan encouraging women to have at least 5 babies, 2 more than his usual call for at least 3). However, there have been other regulations and restrictions that have caused great controversy. A law limiting alcohol sales from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. met harsh criticism from citizens. For many citizens, certainly many protestors, this law is only one of many upcoming restrictions on individual liberties. Even before the protests began, many felt a sense of helplessness about the changes in the landscape of individual liberties in Turkey. Since the start of excessive police brutality during the Gezi protests, this vulnerability is even more pronounced with the recognition that the police can cause great harm with impunity.
Vulnerability to state oppression might be familiar to some in every country under any type of government and under any rule. For instance, racial minorities in the United States are well familiar with this kind of vulnerability (see this for a discussion of how race may be a determinant of premature death in the United States). Covert patterns of subjugation (such as covert and entrenched racism impacting death rates) are well known by those who live with the effects daily, but ruptures in status quo are necessary to awaken the masses. I think Gezi protests have constituted this rupture for many minds in Turkey.
In later posts, I will discuss earlier periods where the Turkish military did not hesitate to intervene in Turkish politics, during which times, those of us in older Turkish generations witnessed much police and military brutality. Prior to the Gezi protests, many among younger generations and those who live outside of Kurdish areas in Eastern Turkey did not really think that their government could hide obvious truths or harm them individually in the name of a law-and-order myth or the security state. The frequency and the intensity of police violence since the beginning of the Gezi protests prove that Noam Chomsky is correct when he argues that increasingly states are obsessed with protecting themselves from their own citizens, and excusing their responses to this fear as maintaining “national security.” A fresh example of this in the U.S. context is Bradley Manning's persecution, prosecution and conviction.
Among other traumatic experiences, having run away from tear gas and police batons, and witnessed their friends beaten, bleeding and wounded as a result of police violence, Gezi protestors now know vulnerability in a very real and physical sense of the word. A businessman in his 40’s was teary-eyed more than once when he told me his recollection of the protests. As he told me that the police did not discriminate between men and women (his phrasing) or young and old, that they deliberately hit people with gas canisters and pressurized water, that he shared camaraderie with every other protestor indiscriminately, he choked up on his tears a few times. He repeated occasionally, “everything has changed, nothing will be the same again. We are awake now.” He also emphasized multiple times that he felt deeply fearful about what the police would do to him. Every protestor with whom I spoke agreed that every time they were on the streets, they feared the police and knew that they could be seriously injured and possibly die. The younger protestors said they did not know they could be so courageous to confront the police even as they felt such fear. Everyone repeatedly shared at least one version of “let me tell you how much gas I swallowed.” Two psychology professors told me that they were writing chapters in edited volumes about the lasting effects of trauma from the protests.
Yet despite these admitted feelings of fear and vulnerability, masses were on the streets almost continuously for weeks. The police did not become kinder or gentler with time, rather police brutality intensified (for instance, see here). The protestors are still on the streets, albeit periodically and in smaller numbers. Earlier tonight, the police once again used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons against a peaceful gathering in Taksim Square. The gathering was to show support for Berkin Elvan, a 14 year-old boy who was hit by a gas canister in mid-June and has been in a coma since. Berkin’s parents announced earlier this week that they would read a press announcement about their son and that the gathering would start at 7 p.m. I arrived at Taksim Square a little after 7 p.m. The police had already cordoned off the entry to the main street, Istiklal, with many people (who may or may not be protestors) trapped in the street. Even on a calm day, I have occasionally spotted water cannons on the small side streets off of Istiklal, and the large police busses with additional attack equipment are ever-present at both ends of this main street. As I stood with the crowd in front of a line of police, we saw water cannons move towards the inner areas of Istiklal, and after a while we knew that the police was using tear gas and pressurized water nearby. I started to walk closer to Gezi Park minutes before the police sprayed the crowd with water. I recorded the below video right before I left the crowd:
This is the entrance of Istiklal, the main street of Taksim Square, with many shops and restaurants. Some of the chants in the video are “shoulder to shoulder against fascism,” “everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance.” You can see the police barricade (which is a relatively small one) and the white vehicles behind the police are the water cannons moving towards the inner parts of Istiklal Street.
Berkin’s parents did not get a chance to read their press statement. Police continued to attack people and ended the evening with at least one arrest (CNN news story is here). As I made my way back, I stopped at one of the tables set up at the other end of Taksim Square. During the month of Ramadan, the municipality offers free iftar dinners where the public can communally break their fast. Because the municipality’s dinner tables were at the other end of Taksim Square, police kept away from that area. I sat down at the first empty seat I saw and found myself chatting with a group of homeless gay men. Even in the security of the iftar table, I listened to stories of vulnerability from my tablemates. They asked that I not use their names or pictures. As I stood up to offer my seat to a homeless child, an English-speaking man (British, judging by his accent) approached me and said in visible fear “I am so scared something really bad is about to happen.” I noticed that the last squadron of police was marching right behind us towards Istiklal, where they would presumably join other police to continue their attack on the demonstrators.
Compared to some of the horrifying ongoing developments elsewhere in the region (from Syria to Egypt) perhaps the ongoing casulties of the Turkish protests are not the most significant. Yet, as a Turkish proverb says: ateş düştüğü yeri yakar or fire burns where it falls, meaning tragedy is felt most potently where it occurs. Wishing for a tomorrow with less fire no matter where you are.
From an email message that I received earlier today:
The University of Akron School of Law invites applications for the position of Director of Legal Clinics, a 12-month or 9-month tenured or tenure-track faculty position, to begin in Summer 2014. The Law School seeks a Director who possesses an energetic and entrepreneurial nature to serve as a strong advocate for clinical programs both internally and externally.
The Director will work with the two other clinical faculty members to implement current clinical programs, which include: Civil Litigation Clinic (cases referred from Community Legal Aid, primarily landlord-tenant), Prisoner Legal Assistance Clinic, Jail Inmate Assistance Legal Clinic, Appellate Review, Reentry Clinics (Expungement, Clemency, Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE)), and SEED Legal Clinic (services for small businesses). The Director will be expected to stay current with respect to the types and nature of clinical offerings and to lead the clinic to state-of-the-art offerings appropriate to the Law School’s strategic goals and the particular needs of the community. Responsibilities will include training and supervising students, being a spokesperson for the work of the clinical programs, overseeing administration of clinic staff, and seeking funding sources for new programs.
The University of Akron School of Law is a public, mid-size law school of 500 students located in the Cleveland/Akron metropolitan area. Akron Law is a “best value” law school offering excellent teaching, relatively low tuition and a commitment to student success.
Required Qualifications: Requires a J.D. degree and a license to practice law.
Preferred Qualifications: Professional practice experience, a demonstrated record of effective clinical teaching, a demonstrated record of effective supervision of students or others, and successful prior experience in either grant-writing efforts or publicity initiatives.
For complete details and to apply for this position, visit: http://www.uakron.edu/jobs/. Job #8040. While all candidates are required to submit their applications via this centralized system, please feel free to direct any inquiries to Professor Kalyani Robbins, Chair of the search committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will begin immediately. Anticipated start date: July 1, 2014. The University of Akron is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity and to the principles of affirmative action in accordance with state and federal laws.
In my last post, I discussed the Yellen-Summers Fed Chair debate and noted that the discussion bore many similarities to the corporate board diversity debate. Let me outline just a few of those similarities here. For example, many critics point to the “insular” and “clubby” nature of the Obama White House and to its economic policy positions, in particular, which are held by “a small, close-knit group of men who have known one another since the Clinton administration, if not before.” This, according to sources quoted in the New York Times leaves Janet Yellen (along with other women) “on the outside looking in.”
It probably will not surprise most readers to learn that the corporate boardroom is frequently described in similar terms, even by those who are a part of the club. Indeed, countering this very insularity is a common rationale put forward in favor of boardroom diversity. As Lissa Broome, John Conley, and I discuss in our article recently posted to SSRN -- The Danger of Difference: Tensions in Directors’ Views of Corporate Board Diversity -- our respondents frequently asserted both the avoidance of group- think and an ability to facilitate board independence as rationales in favor of race and gender diversity. Yet, as we note in the article, these rationales are in some tension with our respondents’ even more frequently asserted contentions that boards must get along with both each other and senior management, be collegial, and avoid confrontation.
For example, one respondent, a proxy advisor with substantial experience in board and corporate governance issues, told us that most of the investors whom his company advised did not take board diversity seriously, as they did not believe it improved shareholder value. Among those that did, however, the most important reason was likely the avoidance of groupthink:
A: I think people know especially on the risk side that whenever you get anything involving sort of groupthink, everybody in the room having the same background, group of experiences and so forth that that is an absolute breeding ground for risk, for problems to occur. . . . and I think by and large the folks that believe that diversity is important put a very high value on it for that exact reason that they think this creates greater, frankly, psychological independence in the board room. It creates more viewpoints in the board room and that leads to better decision making I think, and I think that’s a change from certainly fifteen or twenty years ago— when I think it was purely viewed in terms of sort of social equity issues about increasing participation by women and minority group members on boards of directors—and I don’t see that as much today.
I think the arguments in favor of board diversity are much more sophisticated today, and that we’re really talking about trying to help boards to provide stronger oversight. We’re trying to help boards to eliminate the possibility of groupthink I think.
Yet, this supposed role of diverse directors is in some tension with two other strong narratives that emerge from our interviews: (1) the importance of collegiality and getting along in the boardroom and (2) the efforts undertaken by female and minority directors to fit in and conform to the prevailing boardroom culture – in short, to behave like, and be accepted on the same terms as, any other board member. This “fitting in” is a task on which many of our respondents report spending substantial time and effort.
In my next post, I’ll describe those efforts in more detail.
Update: Kyle McEntee from LST responds on the issue of angel funding:
We are not seeking angel funding from a VC or anybody else who would take a stake in LST. We are a nonprofit. Nonprofits cannot sell equity because nonprofits have no equity to sell. The ABA Journal was interested in our vision for LST beyond what people knew through the press. Our vision required a full-time staff, and one way would have been through an angel donor.
As part of working on the Nat Turner rebellion and the trials afterward I wondered a lot about how to interpret Turner. There was a lot of discussion in the white community about the role of abolitionist literature in spurring the rebellion. Virginia's governor collected several recent pamphlets as evidence of the ideas that were being discussed in the north -- the pamphlets included David Walker's Appeal, William Garrison’s An Address Delivered Before the Free People of Color in Philadelphia, New York, and other Cities (1831), and the Minutes and Proceedings of the First Annual Convention of the People of Colour (1831). Turner may not have read much beyond the Bible, and perhaps never read David Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens, but he inhabited a world of ideas and possibilities that set loose ideas about freedom. This is a key question of the history of the book project -- to try to trace out whether ideas are propagated by print or by other means.
That invites a further question about how to interpret Turner's motivations. One of my favorite letters that emerged from the rebellion was written by Rachel Lazarus to her relatives in Raleigh. She asked whether the impetus was the desire for freedom or blood lust: “I know not whether to ascribe [Turner’s rebellion] to the evil inherent in man, or the powerful influence [of] that noble principle the love of freedom." Historians have been asking the same question ever since.
I have used a photograph of Rebecca Vaughan's house in Southampton, which is the last home where rebels killed anyone. I took this last spring when I was passing through Courtland. They've done a great job of restoring the house since I first visited Southampton back in 2009.