[Word document “MeetingwFacultyMinutes121415” — 1st set of notes from protesters’ meeting with left-wing faculty members held on Dec 14, 2015; cut and pasted from Word file; typos in original; annotations in brackets; all hyperlinks & bolding added.]
A. Rena [Karefa-Johnson, Royall Ass # 22] discusses purpose: Forum for professors
1. 10-15 minutes for Faculty Temperature Check
2. Governance Structure of School & Any place where faculty would like to see change
3. Go through demands and solicit faculty feedback
II. Faculty Temperature Check
A. General sentiments
1. Tree [Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.] likes the demands overall
a) Recommends to look over earlier student demands and whether or not they’ve been met (go back to the 1960s)
2. Sully [Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr.] says the temp is varied – depends on who you talk to
a) 4 main critiques (Sully) + others
(1) Language of “demand” (people don’t like it; people are sympathetic with the aims, but don’t liek the word “demand”)
(2) Things aren’t as bad as the students are claiming, so what’s the big deal
(3) Agree that there are some issues, but the students have missed the point on how to remedy the issues
(4) fair amount of people who support the aims and think it’s 100% in the students prerogative to choose the most appropriate method to achieve their goals
(5) [Jeannie C.] Suk – some are disturbed about targeting of Minow (may cause faculty to have empathy towards her, and support her?)
(6) A bunch of people just don’t get it – [Christine A.] Desan
(a) Part of the issue is structural racism and implicit bias
(b) Professors want “evidence” of the problems in the school → the structure of the meetings made this difficult because you couldn’t discuss these problems in a 2-minute time slot
(i) Rena question: What kind of evidence?
(7) “Dramas on the news is making this worse”
3. [Robert C. Bordone] – a sense of confusion and fear
a) Fear of speaking b/c/o repercussions from administration or making a comment that doesn’t fall in the “right place” or that not “saying the right thing” could result in backlash from some side
4. [Intisar A. Rabb] – To whom is the evidence to be directed?
a) Some critiques that she’s heard are that the demands are broad-ranging and that one person (i.e., the Dean) cannot necessarily handle all of them
b) There may be room for students to think about what they can do with one another, and on student-faculty initiatives that can rally folks around these issues
c) Thinks there’s a lot more power that students have or could have than we even know
5. [Janet] Halley -Yearning to get to the level of a discussion of the demands
a) Who decides these things? What governs this place?
b) What can and can’t be done through meetings, or student pressure on administration?
c) Institutions don’t speak with one voice
(1) Break the institution down into pieces to be able to address things in a fragmented, yet targeted, way
B. Issues with the governance structure here?
1. Desan – Faculty approached Minow to ask for SGA [Student Government Association] to try to set up some kind of forum to field opinions on the demands, but Minow rejected the idea as too weak (this is funny, because Minow told us, and loves to point to SGA as a means by which we can get things done)
2. Mickey [Belaineh, Royall Ass # 10]: What about the 2/3 faculty vote?
a) Faculty response: only for appointments?
b) Mickey: but what about curricular changes? We’ll talk about that later….
3. Desan– thinks getting as many people to work together is the answer
a) Working groups
b) But this also favors Desan’s proposal/initiative from our meeting with her weeks ago (clinical
4. Halley – checked the administrative handbook before she got here (you go Janet!)
a) No rules on the subject of faculty meetings or agendas
b) De facto situation is that the Dean sets the faculty agenda
c) Thinks a committee of the faculty could advance something to be put on the agenda, then the Dean could
d) 51% is all you need for non-appointments decisions!!!
5. [Duncan] Kennedy – 1973 Professor Shays came up with some kind of student/faculty governance proposal that faculty voted on → Bob Clark removed it in the 1980s
a) This proposal placed students on faculty committees, except the appointments agenda
b) Dean controls the agenda by default
(1) If Dean says no, the faculty member or members can bring up the agenda item via motion(Robert’s Rule of Order), and the faculty can vote to hear it → basically, the faculty can help get a student proposal on the agenda
c) If you want something on the agenda, it’s been done before in the 1980s
6. Suk – from her understanding, and discussions w/ Minow, that she is open to placing student/faculty collaborative items on the agenda
a) Minow has said that if students and faculty want to work together on a proposal, she’ll gladly consider it
b) Students could draft something and faculty and students could look over it together
c) Halley – written items typically go out one week in advance of the meeting
(1) Could have anonymized anecdotes/evidence about what’s been going on at the school
7. Suk – there’s a whole lot that the faculty doesn’t have to vote on; there’s a ton that Minow is already doing and will continue to do without a faculty vote
8. [Jon D.] Hanson – if we take a student-based governance structure
a) So how do we create a meaningful governance body?
b) When we think of these demands, we need to determine where we want faculty involvement and/or faculty vote
c) Sometimes we don’t need faculty vote, but it helps to legitimize changes being made (proposal
III.Critique/Discussion of Demands
A.Demand 1: Change the shield
1. Already being addressed by Royall Shield Committee
B.Demand 2: Establishing a Critical Race Program
1.[Lani] Guinier: Do you have a list?
a) Many people have come and visited HLS and were well received
b) Several people: Devon Carbado, Gerald Torres (sp?), Regina Austin
c) Faculty can certainly help put together a list
a) We may have unintentionally offended professors that think they do this already; can frame it differently
b) Contextualize it/rhetoric: it would be nice to have a home for critical race theory here → doesn’t offend professors here who think they’re CRTs
a) Look at other law schools on what they’re doing
b) Think it’s worth talking about with faculty
a) Educational component: have a working group to identify Critical Race Theorists
b) Can propose a named candidate for a lecture; invite faculty to come and raise
a) Gets idea of wanting to have a program
b) Scared of idea in this context, based on reproductive justice
c) Concern is that there are many, many steps in the appointments process
6. Procedural point: How do we make appointments at HLS? – Suk
a) Very much in support of institutionalizing a role for students in our appointments process; thinks there are ways to do so that the majority of the faculty would find it palatable
b) Non-starters that could cause problems
(1) Students having a vote
c) Better to say we have a student committee on appointments that works year round on appointments year-round (like appointments, lateral, clinical) committee
(1) Read scholarship
(2) Write reports and present them to faculty committees
(3) Make recommendations to appointments committee
(4) Then interview candidates when they got here
(5) Write final report on candidate that could go into the candidate’s file
d) Such a student committee would be involved at all points along the way, minus the vote
(1) Not different from other schools; when Suk interviewed at NYU, students were involved in the process
(2) Committee could also attend the Job Talks
7. Guinier: perhaps invite more people to teach during Winter Term
a) A number of people have come and been effective with students in their class, but then nobody has followed up on their scholarship or what they’re up to at their other schools
b) Need more of a recruitment person
c) Don’t just bring in 1 person, bring in 4 or 5 → that gives you better odds
a) Likes Desan’s idea on a working group working on relevant scholarship
b) Like’s Suk’s idea of students involved on faculty importance
c) But these both run up against the issue of it depends on who is on the student committee
d) Such a student committee could be overrun with gunners or those who want to cozy up to law professors
e) Not sure that the committee will do much unless it has the right composition
f) Thinks everything is connected
(1) If faculty can begin to recognize what the problem is here, then they will begin to understand what Critical Race Theory is, then we would be better prepared to make the case that we need to make a change in the faculty and hire more CRTs
(2) So then that takes us back to the original proposal of a working group that can identify these PROBLEMS (Desan says they can take money out of their discretionary accounts)
9. Kennedy: student input and participation
a) Don’t be preoccupied with identifying problems
b) Give faculty sense of HOT demands
c) Better to spend your time making change instead of studying it
d) 2/3 rule isn’t going to change while we’re here
e) A plausible candidate would have already been considered and rejected, more than likely
f) Should make the school find us a CRT, shouldn’t be on us
g) Re: microaggressions, just circulate Socratic Shortcomings or other anonymized anecdotes
h) Should just say the school is really unpleasant for a lot of us, here’s what it looks like (Socratic Shortcomings)
i) Main focus now should be on the change
a) Sully’s point: it is true that CRT is seen as not real scholarship unless you teach other things → same with gender studies
b) Don’t let gender issues be separate from
c) Ideas for this student movement
(1) Upset that more students groups didn’t identify themselves as support
(2) Wondering how to do more outreach
d) Money and alumni
(1) Want to see good, organized outreach to alumni with money
(2) Expand this way!
e) This is very hot right now; you have their attention!
(1) Long term
(2) Short term
11. [Stephanie] Robinson: succession plan is key a) This is a majority 3L movement b) You should have short-term, medium-term, and long-term strategy c) Not big on working groups → it’s where people go to die d) Think of creative ways to involve 1Ls and faculty, based on their individual capacities and skill sets e) DIVIDE AND CONQUER (1) That way people are focused, people have discrete tasks, and can complete them (2) Plus, no more 4 hour meetings! f) You do not create the opportunity; the opportunity is here → you either let the fire burn out or you fan the flames g) Put together a timeline/calendar for this movement (1) 127 days left until Commencement – plan them all out!
12. Sully: figure out who you want to be as a movement
a) There are different approaches
b) We have to be comfortable and aware that we bear certain risks as students (i.e., Ad Board)
c) Concerned that we may be going in different directions that may not be incompatible
d) Heather Gerken article on power structures? (can’t recall name)
13. Rabb: focus on the negative and positive side
a) You can focus on the research aspect of identifying the problems
b) But wants to see positive action as well
(1) Doesn’t have to be asking MM to do something for us
(2) We can institutionalize something at HLS and frame it as our contribution to bettering the school
14. Bordone: we really need to have clarity and unity around our purposes
a) Biggest thought: unify around purposes, then identify and divide and conquer into groups
b) As for tactics, “you want to have a war department, but you want to have a state department”
c) He would caution us against using terms like “calm” or other labels for various people (i.e., negotiation may seem “calm,” but it requires more than that, it requires tenacity d) 4 categories: Movers, opposers, bystanders, followers
15. Halley: if you want to put the faculty behind the 8-ball, getting on the agenda for a faculty meeting would be important, and/or getting a proposal adopted
a) Would force the faculty to come out from behind their doors and confront these issues
C. Demand 3: Changes to mandatory curriculum
1. Desan: Just do what you can do. Make case studies that faculties can use
2. [Tyler] Giannini: There are other governance institutions. Local governance. Clinics for example.
3. [Kristen A. Stilt]: I’ve been reading these and putting checks next to things I have control over. Eg 1L orientation, we section leaders have tremendous control. Something I care about a lot. I’m extremely concerned about it.
4. Kennedy: Strategy divergence. Very plausible strategy is a course, or module development on slavery (Fisher). I’m in favor of it but it’s meaningless. Just the liberals. They all already teach these cases on slavery. The casebooks all pay lip service to race issues. A majority of the first year teaching is conservative because it excludes distributional consequences for minorities, women, classes. 1L curriculum is a massive capitalist support. You need to get everyone to do this. Needs to be unpleasant not to do this. Don’t call them racist. They are doing what virtually everyone in the country does. But demand that the faculty concern itself with the fact that the way 1L is taught reinforces the legitimacy of the background rules. Liberals have been incorporating race since the 60s. Problem is that this demand goes against academic freedom. Formulate it in a way that it doesn’t seem to impede academic freedom. Don’t make specific suggestions.
5. Hanson: I’m not worried about getting the wrong people in the CRT program. It’s enough of a coherent movement that has certain common denominators, including how to approach a 1L course. One demand would be that every section has a critical race theorist in it.
6. Kennedy: Every section should have BOTH a law and econ person and a critical race theorist
D. Demand 4: Office of Diversity and Inclusion
1. Bordone: You’re right that this is a Dean Minow ask. I’m worried that it will be under-resourced if she sets it up.
a) Not enough people
b) Not structured for power/authority
c) Salary structure that won’t allow hiring good people (or good people will leave)
2. Giannini: Hold the line at the administrative regs piece.
E. Demand 5: Improve affordability of law school
F. Demand 6: Sustained commitment to recruitment, retention, promotion, and professional development of Staff of Color
1. Several: This is just great. Fantastic
2. Hanson: You might move that up.
G. Demand 7: Implement measures to ensure Staff of Color are respected and supported in their work
H. Demand 8: Adopt Harvard Law School Diversity Committee
1. Hanson: Meaningfulness depends on getting faculty buy-in on the specifics. This would be one of the easiest to debase (like the office)
2. Kennedy: MM might be more into this than the median faculty member