September 28, 2016

LIFE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE: So the whole “investigation” thing was stressful, even though it turned out okay. And I was particularly pleased to see the University emphasize First Amendment protection so strongly, which is not to be taken for granted these days. But for those of you who think I spent the interval strapped to a post and being beaten about the head and shoulders with bundles of kale, well, it wasn’t like that.

Lots of colleagues, students and alumni offered support. Some took me out for drinks. One colleague even stopped by my house with homemade lemon bars and a hug. Few of them agreed with my controversial tweet, and probably all of them wished I’d said something else, but they knew me and realized it was just a momentary lapse. And although the safe-space mentality isn’t super-common among our law students, it’s even less common among the faculty. (And that includes those on the left, some of whom were among my loudest defenders). I heard nice things from former students (some of them are judges now, which makes me feel old), former colleagues, and even a Law School maintenance man. And the IT folks made quick work of an attempt to hack my email account. (Of course, there was plenty of hatemail, and even some death threats, but those came from outside the law school.)

I should also note that the University’s embrace of the First Amendment should be a real attraction for students and faculty candidates in every discipline. Sure, I was being attacked by (mostly) lefties. But in today’s shame-hysteria culture, nobody’s safe, left or right. So it’s better to be in a place where free speech rules. If I were looking at schools today, as either a student or a faculty candidate, a FIRE green-light rating would be a major plus. And, of course, you could do worse than make a donation to FIRE. They’re needed more than ever.

And beginning to plan my exodus from Twitter. Not quite sure the best way to go about that — if I just delete my account, I think somebody else can pick it up. Maybe I’ll just sign out and let it keep robo-tweeting stuff from the blog. And lots of people are saying that I should move to Gab, but I don’t know much about it. Feel free to offer advice in the comments.