Texas exists so I don’t have to make up headlines like the one above. Khou.com reports:
Simkins Residence Hall is the last all-male dormitory at the University of Texas. Tucked into a quiet corner of campus along Waller Creek, it was the first men’s dorm with air conditioning.
It is notable for another reason as well: Simkins is named for a UT law professor who was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Yeah, no average Klan sympathizer can get his name on a dorm in Texas. You’ve got to be a Klan leader for that kind of recognition.
Administration officials claim they only recently became aware of the Simkins’s supremacist background. That’s probably true. But something tells me that 55 years ago, when the dorm opened, somebody at UT damn well knew that this law prof was a Klansman…
If you’re tired of reading about the Harvard Law School email controversy — judging from our traffic and comment levels, most of you aren’t, but maybe some of you are — we have some good news. Our coverage is winding down. (We do have a few loose ends to tie up, though, which may take us into the weekend or early next week.)
Before we conclude, we’d like to hear from you, our readers. We’ve heard from the commenters, of course — but many readers never comment, so the commenters aren’t representative of everyone.
Reader polls, which draw much larger participation than the comments, offer a better gauge of audience sentiment. We’d like to poll you on two questions:
(1) Was Crimson DNA’s email racist?
(2) Was Crimson DNA’s email offensive?
Please vote in our two reader polls, after the jump.
Harvard BLSA denounces racially inflammatory language – The Harvard Black Law Students Association (HBLSA) strongly condemns the racially inflammatory email that was circulated among the entire Harvard Law School community. Like many individuals who read its content, we find the message to be deplorable and offensive. We are open to thoughtful discourse on even the most controversial of views, and yet we categorically reject the archaic notion that African-Americans are genetically inferior to white people. We recognize, however, that this issue is much larger than any single email or any particular student.
Was that so hard? The foregoing paragraph is a pitch-perfect assessment of the situation and an effective response.
The BLSA letter goes on to say that HBLSA should not (and apparently does not) want to be the focus of attention here…
Every time you put something into an email, please remember that someone you send it to may hit Forward. If your email makes the case for a biological reason for racial disparities in intelligence, someone might hit Forward and send it to Black Law Student Associations across the nation.
That’s what happened to a Harvard 3L yesterday. We’ll call this 3L CRIMSON DNA. According to our sources, DNA made some controversial comments about race at a dinner held by the school’s Federalist Society.
CORRECTION: This dinner was not a Fed Soc dinner. [FN1]
After the dinner, DNA felt the need to send an email to a few friends clarifying those views. Here’s an excerpt:
I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair.
One of the 3Ls to receive that email, available in full after the jump, was very upset by it. We’ll call this student CRIMSON OUTRAGE. OUTRAGE arranged for the email to be sent out to the Harvard Black Law Student Association list-serv, including DNA’s name and the fact that after graduation, the author will be doing a federal clerkship.
CORRECTION: It now appears that OUTRAGE disseminated the email, several months after the email was originally sent, because she got into a fight with DNA — not because she (OUTRAGE) was offended by the email.
After that, the email went viral, apparently circulating to BLSAs across the country. There are now plans to try to go after DNA’s clerkship….
We reported that Bristow was no longer a member of YAF. Over the weekend, the current leadership of the YAF reached out to us to clarify its relationship with Bristow. The leadership also defends the group’s conservative beliefs…
A first-year law student at the University of Toledo College of Law is apparently causing concern among some of his fellow students — not because of anything he has done on campus, but because of his past.
Before he was a 1L at the University of Toledo College of Law, Kyle Bristow was the chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom student chapter at Michigan State University. During his leadership, the MSU-YAF chapter became the first student organization designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A 2007 report by SPLC outlines the alleged actions that triggered the designation:
Acting in collusion with elder white supremacists like [Neo-Nazi Preston Wiginton], and with the financial and logistical support of a major conservative foundation, Bristow and a handful of cronies have roiled their campus and the surrounding community by hosting speakers like [British Holocaust denier Nick] Griffin, issuing vicious homophobic and racist insults, and staging publicity stunts masked as political demonstrations that seem inspired in equal parts by the movie “Animal House” and the Hitler Youth.
“He’s become a divisive force,” former MSU-YAF member Kari Lynn Jaksa, an MSU junior who describes herself as a Republican with strong libertarian leanings, says of Bristow. “Frankly, he’s embarrassing.”
You can see more allegations from the SPLC about Bristow and the MSU-YAF here, here, and here.
Of course, one man’s hate speech is another man’s conservative belief. It’s no surprise that Bristow feels unfairly persecuted by some of the Toledo law students asking questions about his past….
Today Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer made a rare appearance on Capitol Hill to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, regarding the Court’s budget. It started out jovially, with Justice Thomas poking fun at Justice Breyer for agreeing with him for the very first time (at the 15 minute mark, regarding taking questions from the committee).
But an hour in, things got testy between the congressmen and the justices. Josh Blackman brought to our attention that the issue of Supreme Court clerk diversity came up. Congressman Ander Crenshaw asked the Justices why the members of the Elect are overwhelmingly graduates from Yale and Harvard. He delicately asked if they’re more qualified or if there are a disproportionate number of them applying for clerkships.
This led to a fifteen-minute discussion about clerkship diversity that started with alma maters, then moved to ethnic diversity. In response, Thomas threw the other SCOTUS justices under the bus (e.g., “MY clerks are diverse”), then threw feeder judges under the bus, and then threw law schools under the bus (e.g., “that pool comes from the law schools”).
But then Congresswoman Barbara Lee hit him with the bus…
There is a growing awareness on just how much the U.S. News law school rankings affect legal education in this country. Last fall, the Government Accounting Office reported that the rankings were a significant factor in the rising cost of legal education. Many have argued that the rankings create perverse incentives for law school deans. Now, some are arguing that the rankings have a negative effect on law school diversity:
U.S. News rankings guru Bob Morse lays out the argument against the rankings:
[Michael Sauder of the University of Iowa and Wendy Nelson Espeland of Northwestern University] also comment on the impact that the U.S. News law school rankings have had on law school diversity, and they give their views on the annual U.S. News law school diversity index. They say that “because rankings include selectivity statistics (LSAT scores, undergraduate grade point averages, and acceptance rates account for 25% of a school’s overall rank) that reflect racial, gender, economic and geographical differences, and because the ability to perform well under duress on a timed, standardized test is a highly restrictive form of merit, efforts to improve these statistics can threaten various forms of diversity. Notably, U.S. News’s diversity index is not factored into the overall rankings given to law schools but is presented separately, which hugely undercuts its impact.”
Of course, Morse doesn’t think the rankings negatively impact law school diversity.
As we mentioned in Morning Docket, American Lawyer today released diversity numbers that confirm what many expected; minority associates bore a disproportionate brunt of law firm layoffs. Am Law Daily reports:
The drop in law firm diversity may be small, but it’s important. Overall, big firms shed 6 percent of their attorneys between 2008 and 2009–and, amid the bloodletting, lost 9 percent of their minority lawyers. (Here and elsewhere in this story, we’ve calculated such percentages only for the 191 firms that provided numbers in both years, in order to have a consistent basis for comparison.) Diversity advocates call the drop a warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored. “I think [that] when you’re looking at any numbers of a population you’re trying to increase, and you see a decrease, that’s significant,” says Venu Gupta, executive director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. “I guess I hoped we wouldn’t be going backward,” echoes Fred Alvarez, chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and a Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner.
We’ve heard many reports about layoffs, especially stealth layoffs, disproportionately affecting minority associates. Now we’ve got additional numbers.
But going inside the numbers, the recession helps us clarify the Biglaw firms that really care about diversity and the firms that were willing to sacrifice those goals when times got tough.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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