HLS SJWs: Puppets of left-wing professors?

(5/26, 5 p.m. update) Blake Neff at Daily Caller has published a piece based on this post, making interesting and original contributions to the story (particularly regarding the provenance of the Dec. 5 notes, and regarding Prof. Mack), which we highly recommend: “Leaked Document Shows Harvard Students, Profs Planning to Make School Even More Liberal.”

And don’t miss Part 2 of our analysis of the Royall Asses’ role as “puppets,” published earlier today, here.

Shortly after the Daily Caller piece posted, Dave Huber of @CollegeFix published a piece covering both Part 1 and Part 2 of our analysis, and providing a superb summary not just of our work, but of the Royall Asses’ hijinks during the past several months: “Notes reveal: Harvard Law professors worked closely with campus race protesters.”

(5/27, 10 a.m. update) Harvard attorney John Hinderaker, a staunch supporter of this blog who does not hesitate to call it as he sees it, weighed in last night with an excellent opinion piece, the title of which strikes us as carrying at least a faint whiff of sarcasm: “At Harvard, Leftist Professors Inspire Leftist Students to ‘Rebel.’

We are particularly grateful for the help that law professor Glenn Reynolds has provided during the last 24 hours in publicizing the evidence we’ve collected of the collaboration between left-wing law students and even more left-wing law professors at Harvard Law School. In addition to various RTs of both our tweets and others’ tweets, last night on his Instapundit blog he linked to the Daily Caller piece, including this biting summary: “AS USUAL, THE SOCIAL-JUSTICE STUDENTS ARE PAWNS OF THE FACULTY.” He also linked to Hinderaker’s piece, aptly summarizing Hinderaker’s take on how the left-wing faculty members view the Royall Asses: “USEFUL IDIOTS.” This morning one of his guest bloggers, Sarah Hoyt, also linked to Hinderaker’s piece.

(5/29, 4:30 p.m. update) Law professor Paul Caron has done this excerpt on the Daily Caller piece : “Report: Harvard Law Prof Hid Far Left Views to  Chair Hiring Committee and “Heavily Influence Hiring Critical Race Theorists.”

[end updates]

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Harvard Law School is one of the most left-wing institutions in America. Consider, for example, this week’s controversy over an essay by one of its professors, Mark Tushnet, urging that liberals treat conservative Christians like Nazis. And remember that Democrats receive an astonishing 98 percent of political contributions made by Harvard Law School professors.

But Harvard Law isn’t nearly left-wing enough, according to some members of the faculty who, it turns out, have been working closely at least since early December with the students who comprise the “Royall Must Fall” / “Reclaim HLS” movement — students we’ve dubbed the “Royall Asses,” Social-Justice Warriors whose background information is summarized here.

Thanks to documents leaked to us by a member of the movement who eventually became dismayed with some of the tactics being used by protest leaders, we now have a better understanding of why the movement turned so harshly radical, first on Feb. 15 when radical leftist agitators began an occupation of the main student lounge, then on Feb. 26 when they traveled to Brandeis University to heckle Dean Minow at an event in which she was being honored, and finally in late March when the agitators engaged in extensive censorship of fellow students’ speech by tearing down dozens of counter-protest posters put up by conservative students.Puppets1The movement turned radical, at least in part, we submit, because some of the most radical-left professors at Harvard Law School set out to use their students as puppets — to co-opt the movement, turning it into little more than a front group to serve the agenda these and other professors have been pursuing for years: to transform the school into a far-far-far-left institution.

Don’t believe us — believe your own eyes. Here are rough notes typed by one of the Royall Asses during a meeting held on Dec. 5 between protest leaders and radical-left professors. They were later circulated to a sizable number of activists in the movement, one of whom ultimately forwarded them to us. The notes make for a most interesting read. Here are a few highlights:

1. The meeting involved at least a dozen Royall Asses (identified in the notes) and three left-wing professors:

MackKenneth W. Mack


Christine A. Desan



Jon D. Hanson

2. During the meeting, two professors (Desan & Hanson) urged the students to take advantage of the “crisis” they’d created, and specifically urged them to play the race card to inflame passions. Hanson emphasized the need for the students to “[t]ake advantage of evident racism in the legal system and connect that to this law school,” in order to “[g]et people to the table because they have to respond based on the embarrassment.” Desan similarly emphasized: “Very important that this is about race — keep the focus there.” All three professors endorsed the idea that the students focus on “making people uncomfortable. That’s how you got here and you have to keep doing it.”

3. The student protesters seemed very receptive to input from the professors regarding where to take their movement, suggesting that they were quite willing to be used by the professors as puppets. For example, they said that they “all agree we have a real moment”; that “we don’t just want you to endorse the demands we’ve put out”; that they want to go “about collaborating with you guys in a partnership”; and that they wanted the professors’ “validation . . . because people are still disrespecting in a very fundamental way. Your voices have the power to help stop that.”

4. The professors also had some very interesting comments concerning their frustration over their inability, over the years, to push Harvard Law School further to the left than it already is. Hanson, in urging the need to take advantage of the crisis the students had created, commented that the leftists on the faculty had been “waiting forever to do this.”

Desan put the blame for lack of progress on deans who, over the years, had reduced the power of the faculty to change the institution — with most of the blame allocated to “incredibly autocratic” Dean (now Justice) Elena Kagan:

faculty governance has steadly diminished since 1992. Bob Clarke (anti Christ) had way more faculty governance. Kagan took all control and was incredibly autocratic, destroyed all faculty governance. Using centrist/right power, hired lots of laterals w/o notions of faculty traditions/governance including real debate/change. Martha has left that in place

According to Desan, “Clarke felt like he had to have some left faculty on the committee to have credibility with the faculty, Elena/Martha know left doesn’t have enough power on the faculty that they have to care about them.”

Hanson agreed that Kagan deserves most of the blame for the leftists’ inability to reform the institution:

History of Bob Clarke is history of undermining the progress that had taken place through student activism where faculty/students had each others backs (some faculty). . . . Elena did a good job of palcating the people she was undermining (volleyball nets, tampons in the restroom, hark). These things said something to students they hadn’t heard – made a lot of friends by buying them off and we’re now dealing with the debt from those decisions.

In response, Jeohn Favors, Royall Ass # 15,urged that Dean Minow had to be put under increased pressure to make change at the institution:

we need to be thinking about next steps. Your description of the history solidifies for me where we should direct our focus and the disruption that can/will happen. Ive stood up twice and asked dean minnow to address us. She’s the point person and I don’t feel like we need to have the aolution. Its dean minow’s problem and she needs to fix it.

Desan agreed: “take an initiative and make it yours. If you leave it to Martha nothing is going to happen. Manning is going to be dean next. Martha is not going to last more than 10 years especially after Modnay.”

Given the notes from this December 5 student-faculty meeting, in which three radical-left professors urged the students to further radicalize their movement, and put further pressure for change on Dean Minow, it is now much easier to understand why members of the movement felt it appropriate to travel to Brandeis University on Feb. 26 to heckle Dean Minow at an event in which she was being honored, and why they took other key steps in February and March to further radicalize their already radical movement, which it is nearly certain was launched last November based on a racist-hate-crime hoax.

7 thoughts on “HLS SJWs: Puppets of left-wing professors?

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