Monday, September 17, 2007
The WSJ Law Blog reports that Erwin Chemerinsky sent the following email to his Duke colleagues at 1:07 p.m. EST:
It is with excitement and sadness that I am writing to tell you that I have accepted the position to be the founding dean of the Donald Bren School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. After meeting with Chancellor Michael Drake at length this weekend, I accepted his renewed offer. He provided me the greatest possible assurance of academic freedom for the dean and all faculty.
It has been one of the strangest and most difficult weeks of my life. I cannot possibly express my thanks for all of the support that I received from the law school’s faculty, administrators, and students. I am sad to be leaving this wonderful supportive community, though excited about the new challenges ahead.
This renders moot a letter sent on Saturday by sixty UCLA law faculty (including Tax Profs Michael Asimow and Kirk Stark) "urg[ing] the Chancellor to reverse his decision and submit the appointment to the Regents." See the entire letter below the fold:
Dear Chancellor Drake and Regents of the University of California
We write as faculty members of UCLA Law School to deplore the decision by UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake to rescind his appointment of Erwin Chemerinsky as founding dean of the new UCI Law School. Professor Chemerinsky was offered the job a month ago and accepted a week ago. The appointment was to go to the UC Regents in the next few weeks. We understand that Chancellor Drake rescinded it because it was too "politically controversial."
Chancellor Drake appointed Professor Chemerinsky after a lengthy search. We agree with the Chancellor's conclusion that Prof. Chemerinsky would be a superb dean. The Chancellor should not have rescinded the appointment because it was "politically controversial." Although we cannnot know what lies behind that phrase, we are deeply disturbed at the implication that outside political pressure led the Chancellor to reverse his own considered decision to choose an extraordinarily well qualified candidate following a deliberative process. We urge the Chancellor to reverse his decision and submit the appointment to the Regents, and we urge the Regents to apply appropriate academic criteria when considering it.
Khaled Abou el Fadl
Peter von Haam