Following up on my previous post, AALS President Darby Dickerson: It's Time To Eliminate Legal Education's Caste System: Brian Leiter (Chicago), Violation of Academic Freedom at UIC John Marshall Law School:
IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW: PROFESSOR KILBORN WAS NOT SUSPENDED BECAUSE OF THE EXAM QUESTION
Last month, we noted UIC John Marshall Dean Darby Dickerson's suggestion "that law schools should be 'transformed' into 'anti-racist institutions' [as distinct from being non-racist ones that comply with equal opportunity laws]," observing that it "would portend a massive violation of the academic freedom of all faculty (for example)." Alas, this proved more prophetic than we realized.
Professor Jason Kilborn gave a civil procedure exam last month involving an employment discrimination hypothetical, in which one worker used racist and sexist epithets. As the petition denouncing Professor Kilborn reports:
The question at-issue contained a racial pejorative summarized as follows: “‘n____’and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women).” The fact pattern involved an employment discrimination case where the call of the question was whether or not the information found was work product.
Just to be clear: the exam neither used nor mentioned the actual offending words, just the first letters of those words followed by the underline, as quoted above. Professor Kilborn has actually used variations on this hypothetical, with the n- and b-words (as above), for a decade without any incident! ...
UPDATE (1/15/21): Professor Kilborn has written to me a bit before 4:30 pm CST as follows:
I’ve just learned my suspension has been a huge failure of communication from the university to me. While the battle over the exam language continues, it turns out I was actively misled into believing my suspension was related to that language.
On Thursday, January 7, I voluntarily agreed to talk to one of the Black Law Students Association members who had advanced this petition against me. Around hour 1 or 1.5 of a 4-hour Zoom call that I endured from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm with this young man, he asked me to speculate as to why the dean had not sent me BLSA’s attack letter, and I flippantly responded, “I suspect she’s afraid if I saw the horrible things said about me in that letter I would become homicidal.” Conversation continued without a hitch for 2.5 or 3 more hours, and we concluded amicably with a promise to talk more later.
He apparently turned around and reported that I was a homicidal threat. Our university’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Team convened, with no evidence of who I am at all, and recommended to my dean that I be placed on administrative leave and barred from campus.
Kathryn Rubino (Above the Law), Law School N-Word Controversy Is More Complicated Than It Appears At First Glance:
January 16, 2021 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink