Paul L. Caron

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Students Demand Harvard Law School Reverse Its Decision To Be 100% Online In Fall 2020

Following up on last week's post, Harvard Law School To Be 100% Online In Fall 2020:

Letter From Harvard Law School Students And Alumni To Dean Manning And President Bascow:

Harvard ZoomDear Dean Manning and President Bacow,
This letter is submitted on behalf of the undersigned members of the Harvard Law School (HLS) 2020-21 community, as well as our fellow HLS alumni. We write to you in appeal of your decision to be online-only for Fall 2020, and urge you to implement a hybrid semester. Our argument is laid out below, but it can be expressed in simple terms.

1.  Even the best virtual learning cannot replicate the opportunities that come with in-person learning. Although students in all years and of all backgrounds will be negatively affected by a solely virtual semester, for some members of our community, including international students and those with learning disabilities, in-person education is even more important. These students will suffer from immediate and lasting effects on their career and living situation, including being barred from all employment opportunities and not even being allowed to remain in or enter the United States.

2.  In recognition of these facts and the feasibility of hybrid semesters, Harvard Law School’s (HLS) peer institutions across America have committed to hybrid semesters as the best balance of every member of their communities' physical, mental, and emotional health. This includes law schools and universities in the hardest-hit areas of the United States, such as New York City. In light of dropping case counts across Massachusetts, the developed plans by HLS’s peer institutions, and the well-known creativity, expertise, and compassion of Harvard professors and administration, we ask that HLS do the same.

3.  We understand that this semester will not look exactly like previous semesters, but our wish is clear. In a recent survey open to all HLS students, reconsidering a hybrid option was the second-most supported initiative, behind only tuition reduction. Over 80% of those polled indicated they planned to defer if changes were not made to HLS’s approach.

4.  We are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure a high-quality, community-driven legal education that we will take with us when we leave HLS and become leaders across the US and world. We ask that the administration similarly choose courage in the face of uncertainty, creativity in the face of challenge. We ask that HLS work with students, faculty, and experts to design a hybrid approach that will maximize student wellbeing and the opportunity to learn.



(Hat Tip: Above the Law.)

Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Alice, have you ever considered serving as a law school dean?

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Posted by: Alice Egnerova | Jun 15, 2020 7:52:04 AM

For a very different viewpoint, here is an Open Letter from a Yale student:

Posted by: Sam | Jun 14, 2020 7:17:40 AM

It's hard not to laugh so I won't try - LOLZ!!

Posted by: Bandit | Jun 14, 2020 7:09:46 AM

The students are right. A virtual law school is at best a third-rate alternative. Harvard has a $40 billion endowment and months to come up with a solution that'll reduce the risk to that these students will be experiencing going about their lives anyway.

Posted by: Mike Perry | Jun 14, 2020 5:42:49 AM

It’s hard to blame the students isn’t it?

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Jun 14, 2020 3:03:23 AM

Umm... these precious sheep (yet also masters of the universe!) do realize that the only way to lower tuition is to not pay those law professors so much, right?

The vast majority of law tuition goes to payroll.

And last I heard money doesn't grow on trees.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 13, 2020 10:22:35 PM