Posts Tagged ‘Yale’

Yale adopts submissive posture in Title-IX-vs.-speech case

A fraternity has already apologized for its role in loutish public expressions, but that isn’t nearly enough for some complainants who’ve initiated an investigation by the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights that puts Yale at risk of losing its $500 million in federal funding if it isn’t sufficiently cooperative. Peter Berkowitz in the Wall Street Journal:

That Yale finds itself under pressure from the government, in the face of stupid frat-boy initiation rituals obviously designed to humiliate the pledges themselves, dramatizes how far government and higher education have drifted from the principles of freedom. … What is really at stake in the current investigation of Yale is the proper mission of the university. The complainants, not a few university administrators and faculty, and powerful forces at work in the Department of Education seem to think that one of a university’s top priorities is policing students’ opinions and utterances to ensure that they adopt government-approved ideas about sexual relations. That priority can’t be reconciled with the imperatives of a liberal education.

If a letter just sent to alumni by Yale President Richard Levin is any indication, the university may not intend to put up much of a public stand on behalf of its autonomy of governance, the toleration granted even some offensive utterances in a community of unbridled expression, or the importance of due process for students accused of wrongdoing. Indeed, Levin’s letter does not make even the tamest and most tentative attempt to argue that anything about the OCR complaint is legally erroneous or worth resisting. The full text of the letter follows: Read On…

Fred Rodell archive online

Few American critics of the legal profession have made as big an impression as Fred Rodell, perhaps best known as the author of Woe Unto You, Lawyers (1939, and reprinted since then) and of the funny and still much-read attack on the stylistic failings of law scholarship, “Goodbye to Law Reviews” (Virginia Law Review, 1936, published when he was just 29). Rodell went on to teach at Yale Law where he was one of the school’s best-liked teachers, noted especially for his course on persuasive legal writing, which trained many leading legal journalists; as Charles Alan Wright notes in his obituary appreciation, Rodell was never admitted to the bar and never practiced law.

Now the reform organization HALT has put up a site dedicated to Rodell and his work. Even if, like me, you find much to disagree with in his conclusions, you may be glad you discovered his writing.

Thanks to Australian journalist Evan Whitton for the tip.