Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Yale Law Faculty Meets Today With Dean Review Advisory Committee To Discuss Reappointment Of Heather Gerken

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  David Lat (Original Jurisdiction; J.D. 1999, Yale), In Defense Of Yale Law Dean Heather Gerken:

GerkenHere's why NOT to drop the dean.

Ask and you shall receive. Ahead of the big faculty meeting tomorrow to discuss giving Heather Gerken another five-year term as dean of Yale Law School, I made a request of my readers: I asked to hear from defenders of Dean Gerken and the YLS administration more generally. And I definitely did hear from them.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my request. I will now share what I learned, in an effort to balance out the critical coverage in these pages. I’ll start off by sharing the new facts that I learned, and then I’ll turn to the opinions. ...

The faculty will meet tomorrow to discuss renewing Dean Gerken, but the timing of an actual vote is unclear; it might happen tomorrow, or it might happen at a later meeting. After the faculty vote, then Yale President Peter Salovey must approve the recommendation—typically a formality, but perhaps a more searching and substantive review this time. [UPDATE (10:27 a.m.): There is actually no formal vote of the faculty. Instead, the Dean Review Advisory Committee [Douglas Kysar (Chair), Anne Alstott, Fiona Doherty, Fiona Doherty, Justin Driver, Paul Gewirtz, Claire Priest, James J. Silk, Taisu Zhang] makes a recommendation, which they then discuss with the faculty at meetings like the one tomorrow—but there is no formal, up-or-down, roll-call vote.]

So we might not know the outcome for a while. If we don’t hear anything immediately, it doesn’t mean Gerken’s reappointment is in jeopardy; as I’ve previously predicted, I expect her to be renewed.

Looking ahead, things will presumably settle down at Yale Law School at some point. But YLS isn’t the only law school grappling with these issues; we have seen controversies elsewhere. If you’re aware of threats to free speech at any other law school, whether those threats come from the right or the left, please reach out to me.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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