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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

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» Mad ashell from tomemos
In what can only be described as an act of humiliating cowardice, UCIs chancellor, Michael Drake, fired Erwin Chemerinsky, the head of UCIs new law school, out of concern that Chemerinskys left-wing views would cause too much contr... [Read More]

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tomemos

Not good enough, Scott, especially after you made a point of e-mailing your entire graduate cohort after you found people having sex in your office.

SEK

Well, that was in an advisory capacity. (And, also, funny.)

And HEY! You were the one who emailed everyone about this ... so everyone, please consult this blog for all your Chemerinsky needs.

Ha! I, um, win?

tomemos

Cheers! In fact, I am in the process of writing something, so give me a few minutes, everybody.

SEK

Didn't mean to force you into it, but when you get something up, trackback here and I'll add a link in the main post. By rights, those are your angered emails. Maybe I'll just forward them ...

Rich Puchalsky

I would bet that conservatives would have ginned up some kind of outrage campaign, at least locally, if he had been hired. They are just as happy to attack academia for him being fired, and use it to reinforce the trope of "academics are improperly making decisions because of politics." Basically, I don't trust anything they write about this.

Meanwhile, I see a lot of high-minded stuff about how the school did more damage by firing him clumsily than it would have by keeping him on. Really? The whole new law school is apparently being bankrolled by an O.C. conservative, with primary possible donors other O.C. conservatives. They want to get what they've paid for. So the university can either fire the guy clumsily, or not have a new law school; I think that it's naive to think that academics who want jobs are really going to remember this five years from now. As long as universities depend on business and on business boosters as much as they do, this kind of thing is going to happen.

And, by the way, I think that it's significant that it happened in law. Think of the prominent law prof bloggers -- they are mostly not too bright, distinguished only by their wingnuttery. I'm not surprised that American law, which has brought us so many new developments in the area of executive power, is losing any pretension towards impartiality that it ever had.

Tomemos

Hey, it's up. Not sure if the trackback worked. Please delete this comment once it's served its purpose.

Sisyphus

"UC Irvine has disgraced itself, and it will be hard-pressed to hire any Dean for the new law school at this point. (As one of my colleagues put it, what self-respecting law professor, let alone one with any scholarly stature, wants to go be an apparatchik answering to unknown political and/or monied interests behind the scenes?)"

Two words: John Yoo.

Ahistoricality

Are you the highest ranked UCI blogger? If so, you clearly have an obligation to either defend your institution to the death, or lead the charge. Standing by the sidelines blogging about Darwinism and Religion, however amusingly, is an abdication of your God-Given-Duty-To-Blog.

Seriously, though, I don't see how a Lit student is supposed to influence the Law school..... or the Regents, which is where the problem seems to lie. Berekely and UCLA grad students would have more luck, I imagine, so we should be harassing them.

todd.

Wow, check out some of the other crazy shit that's happened at UCI in the past. It's hard to choose a favorite scandal; mine is either the embryo stealing or the cadaver-part-selling.

SEK

This strikes me as a very, very sound thought:

I would bet that conservatives would have ginned up some kind of outrage campaign, at least locally, if he had been hired. They are just as happy to attack academia for him being fired, and use it to reinforce the trope of "academics are improperly making decisions because of politics." Basically, I don't trust anything they write about this.

Ahistoricality, I'm fairly visible to anyone who wants to read bloggers at UCI. The only more visible would be The Disgruntled Chemist and Liz Losh, both of whom have also probably received numerous emails about this.

Todd., what's really amusing about that list is what isn't on it. As a friend of mine commented on the Facebook iteration of this post, your link overlooked l'affaire Derrida and the cyclical Muslim-Jewish student fracas. For such a small place, we certainly stir up trouble.

Kevin Andre Elliott
They are just as happy to attack academia for him being fired, and use it to reinforce the trope of "academics are improperly making decisions because of politics." Basically, I don't trust anything they write about this.

That's exactly what I thought. That doesn't make what happened any less wrong, of course, but I don't trust their motives, especially when their outrage is often coupled with the "I bet liberals wouldn't be as outraged as we are had he been a conservative" line.

tomemos

Personally I'm in favor of giving credit where credit is due. Hewitt, Instapundit, and others have said exactly the right thing here, and since they're commentators saying the right thing the most important thing. If we get into speculation about what they would have said in a different set of circumstances, we're playing some pretty fringeworthy games.

The Disgruntled Chemist

Ahistoricality, I'm fairly visible to anyone who wants to read bloggers at UCI. The only more visible would be The Disgruntled Chemist and Liz Losh, both of whom have also probably received numerous emails about this.

Ha! Nobody cares what I think!

My email counter re: this affair stands at zero. Really, the only reason anyone knows I'm at UCI is that Jeff Goldstein and Charles Johnson got so mad at me over the Muslim cartoon thing.

The Disgruntled Chemist

I actually only ever get two kinds of emails due to my blogging. They can be summarized as "does Dr. Frank's No Pain Spray work?" (no), and "does that Diet Coke and Mentos thing work?" (yes).

Clearly there is much deep thinking going on over at my blog.

Comandante Agi

I've been receiving numerous emails from the history department on this matter. The outrage has filled up my inbox. But then again, I'm a grad student - and a defeatist - so I'll sit this one out on the sideline.

AMac

Chemerinsky seems to have accrued a profile in cowardice when it came to the defining scandal of his home institution, the Duke Lacrosse Rape case. Try Googling his name along with those terms and reading the top results. For an extremely unflattering contrast, substitute Chemerinsky's Duke Law School colleague James Coleman's surname, then repeat the search.

For further insight on how centrists (extremist wingnuts, in the present company) might view a Chemerinsky deanship, see Patterico's post on the subject. To save readers the trouble of clicking, here's the title: Chemerinsky: Gravely Wronged by the University of California... But Still a Shameless Partisan Hack Who Gets It Wrong All The Time.

That said, none of this was unknown to the nascent law school's sachems when they extended their offer to Cheminersky. That a glib, articulate, intelligent, liberal law prof with a record of speaking out on issues of the day (well... most issues of the day) would turn into a dean who'd be likely to do the same... Who Knew?

In other words, the UCI administration's conduct in the affair has been despicable, and they deserve all the brickbats that have been launched in their direction.

Rich Puchalsky

Now Amac is citing Patterico to us as a centrist. I'm glad that my paragraph that Scott quoted seems to be right, but maybe I would rather not be quite that right.

If we get into speculation about what they would say in a different set of circumstances, tomemos -- well, what other circumstances? They are clearly capable of having it both ways at once. Reading Volokh and others, I've seen the usual about how this shows how politicized academia has become, but after all a dean is a dean, and you can't piss off the funders.

AMac

Rich, you've disposed of both Patterico's and my substantive points in your own stylish way.

Though, to be fair, I was unclear on who's a centrist. I meant to refer to myself in that regard. Patterico's a reasonable person of the right who often--as in the cited post--makes arguments that people of the center can appreciate. Apologies for the ambiguity on that point.

SEK

AMac, Chemerinsky seems to have done well for himself, as regards the Duke LAX case. He didn't actively speak out because he was unfamiliar with North Carolina procedural law, but that from what he could tell, the situation didn't seem kosher.

Rich Puchalsky

Amac, I'm really getting impatient with people like you and your fake civility. You cited an article from noted wingnut Pattero to us and now have the gall to claim that he "makes arguments that people of the center can appreciate." This is an article whose first non-summary sentence is "This has to make the Chancellor of the University of California the biggest bonehead on the face of the planet" and continues into "Chemerinsky really is an intellectually dishonest weasel and a shamelessly hypocritical hack." And yet you want credit for being nice and reasoned and civil and not at all as bad as the people whose opinions you routinely pimp.

You don't deserve a reasoned argument, and you don't represent "people of the center." You're not a centrist. I'm not going to say what you really are, since this is Scott's blog, but I invite you to imagine whatever bad, bad word would most cause you to sniff in disapproval and then go off to support some racist somewhere.

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