Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

More On The Jason Kilborn Controversy At The University Of Illinois-Chicago Law School

Following up on last week's post, Academic Freedom Alliance And Brian Leiter Weigh In On How The University Of Illinois-Chicago Has Handled Student Complaints Against A Tenured Law Professor:  ABA Journal, Exam Question Wasn’t Only Offensive Behavior of UIC Law Professor, According to Internal Investigation:

KilbornOver the past year, various academics have expressed support for a University of Illinois Chicago School of Law professor who faced student criticism after he used abbreviated racial and gender slurs as part of a hypothetical fact pattern for a civil procedure final exam. ...

Kilborn says he feels attacked. His story includes a four-hour Zoom call in January 2021, with just him and a BLSA member. During the call, Kilborn says he jokingly said the dean hadn’t showed him the BLSA letter because she might have been afraid he’d become homicidal.

“I can’t treat these students as friends and future colleagues anymore. I have to teach them as though they are potentially trying to destroy me,” Kilborn told the Journal in a September interview. He’s the first person to get legal help from a recently formed faculty defense fund started by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. In an August news release, the organization claimed the university “abruptly suspended” Kilborn and refused to explain its basis.

However, a University of Illinois Chicago spokesperson in an email told the ABA Journal Kilborn was not suspended; he was placed on administrative leave during the first few weeks of the spring 2021 semester. Kilborn says he received full pay, benefits and email access during the administrative leave.

“Because the start of the paid administrative leave coincided with the start of the spring semester, arrangements had to be put in place to ensure that there were no disruptions to the student learning experience, and those arrangements lasted the duration of the spring semester,” the university spokesperson told the Journal.

Some law students have a different story than Kilborn’s version of events. ... A May 28 letter from UIC’s Office for Access and Equity details the various complaints.

Above the Law, Law School Finds Professor’s Conduct Was ‘Harassing Based On Race’ After Multiple Incidents

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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