I’ve received some angry emails from students at Idaho Law School. Dean Don Burnett sent the email below to law students:
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012 12:18 AM
Subject: [Law-3L] Dialogues on Professionalism and Diversity (ATTENDANCE REQUIRED)
Dear Student Colleagues,
On February 13–16, the College of Law will host a special guest who will conduct dialogues on professionalism and diversity with all students, staff, and faculty. Dean Blake D. Morant of the Wake Forest University School of Law will hold dialogue sessions with 3L students in Boise as well as with 1L, 2L, and 3L students in Moscow, plus sessions with staff and faculty at each location. The Boise 3L student session will take place on Monday, February 13, followed by three sessions in Moscow for 1L, 2L, and 3L students, respectively, on Tuesday, February 14. (Faculty and staff sessions will be conducted on February 13 in Boise and on February 15-16 in Moscow.)
The purposes of the student sessions are to identify the elements and importance of professionalism in the academic experience and in future careers, and to illuminate the links between diversity and professional success. For these purposes, “diversity” will be viewed in a comprehensive sense – including backgrounds and perspectives as well as demographic characteristics of our law school community, the legal profession, and the public served by the profession. The sessions will not be “talk at” programs; rather, they will be guided conversations that encourage candid and respectful expression, personal reflection, and insight.
Dean Morant will bring to Idaho a distinctive set of credentials and experiences. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law, he served in the JAG Corps of the U.S. Army, worked as general counsel to the District of Columbia Metro Transit Authority, and taught on the law faculties of the University of Toledo, University of Michigan, Washington & Lee University, and the University of Alabama before becoming Associate Dean for Academic Affairs – and now the Dean – at Wake Forest. He is a scholar and consultant to the courts, as well as to American legal education, on issues of equal opportunity under law. As you will discover, he is also a remarkably open, friendly, and thoughtful person.
These dialogues are a high priority for the College of Law. Accordingly, all students, staff, and faculty are expected to attend and participate in their respective sessions. Classes will be rescheduled in order to assure full attendance. When the specific time-and-date schedule is distributed to students, any student who has a serious, irreconcilable conflict will submit to Dean Albertson, in advance of the assigned session, a memo seeking an excused absence and detailing the conflict. Roll will be taken at each session. Attending students will have a certificate of participation placed in their student record files. Any student who does not participate, and has not been excused, will have a memorandum to that effect placed in his or her student record file.
In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court, in a majority opinion authored by then-Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, observed that “numerous expert studies and reports [show] that … diversity promotes learning outcomes and better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce …. Major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.”
Our dialogues on professionalism and diversity are intended to give Idaho law graduates an advantage as they put their knowledge and skills to work in this “global marketplace.”
– Don Burnett
The controversy in Idaho is part of a little noticed problem in American law schools. The American Bar Association, an increasingly marginalized left wing organization that has as members only a fraction of American lawyers, has been given “accreditation” power over American law schools. Worse yet, the ABA has an accreditation committee is obsessed with “diversity” issues.
The grief, for example, that the College of Charleston School of Law had to endure in the name of diversity is astounding.
Consider further the backgrounds of the staff members of the accreditation committee. Hulett Askew previously worked for the Legal Services Corporation, a law firm on the government teet that notoriously advances left wing causes. Becky Stretch “worked with the Center and the Conference of Chief Justices on a project funded by the Open Society Institute” – yes, our friend the convicted felon George Soros’ favorite foundation. You can read the biographies of the committee members governing the section on admission to the bar.
At Idaho Law, during an ABA accreditation visit (they must be re-accredited every few years), “diversity” issues were raised, and Dean Burnett reacted. Students say Burnett’s reaction was reactionary, as opposed to reasoned. The students confronted Dean Burnett about the policy, and I hear Burnett dug in. The Idaho Legislature is now considering action against the policy.
Here is something Idaho legislators need to understand – the ABA will never revoke accreditation simply for want of this training. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t being square. The ABA doesn’t want a fight, and they especially don’t want their increasingly questionable role as the nation’s accreditation body challenged.
The more the ABA drifts left, and forces taxpayer funded law schools to hire expensive diversity consultants, the more the public has a reason to question why racialist priorities decide how lawyers should be taught. This might explain some of the behavior I describe in my book Injustice among certain practicing attorneys.
I don’t suppose I’ll be getting an invitation to speak at Idaho Law anytime soon.