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Harvard Law Tag

The events of the past year on campuses have been beyond disturbing. We are witnessing nothing less than a cultural purge of dissenting views on a wide range of topics in the name of social justice. No disagreement is tolerated, not even the slightest deviation. That purge has been going on for many years, but seems to have intensified and is turning on speakers, professors and fellow students. Yale is a particularly vivid example. A faculty couple were harassed and confronted in threatening tones when one of them (the wife) dared raise the question of whether students were overreacting to Halloween costumes, Yale SJW Student to Professor: “I want your job to be taken from you.”

Lawrence Lessing, professor at Harvard Law School, wants the Electors in the Electoral College to go rogue and vote for Clinton regardless of the election results the led to the Electors ability to vote.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the electoral college requires that the person who lost the popular vote this year must nonetheless become our president. That view is an insult to our framers. It is compelled by nothing in our Constitution. It should be rejected by anyone with any understanding of our democratic traditions  — most important, the electors themselves.... In this election, the people did not go crazy. The winner, by far, of the popular vote is the most qualified candidate for president in more than a generation. Like her or not, no elector could have a good-faith reason to vote against her because of her qualifications. Choosing her is thus plainly within the bounds of a reasonable judgment by the people.

This is the first time this semester I'll have a public speaking engagement. My travel schedule and other commitments just haven't permitted it otherwise. In the past, it's been great to meet LI readers at such events, so if you are within driving distance of Cambridge, MA, bookmark December 4. Or maybe you have relatives, friends or children in the area who might be interested. The event title is "War By Other Means: Israel, BDS and the Campus." The day-long event will be held at Harvard Law School, my alma mater. It is open to the public, but non-students have to pay a registration fee (it is free for students). The "early-bird" sign up price is good only through November 23. You can sign up here. My hour-long presentation will be on the history of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (something I write about *occasionally*). LI author Prof. Miriam Elman will be speaking on issues of faculty promotion of BDS and free speech/academic freedom.

I haven't covered this before, but there was a movement at Harvard Law School to remove three sheaths of wheat from its shield, because the sheaths of wheat represent the family crest of the slave-owning Royall Family. I've probably seen the shield a million times, and never once until this controversy associated it with the Royall Family, much less slavery. They were just sheaths of wheat. Background music at most. But nothing is non-political anymore. After research revealed the origins of the symbol, a movement arose calling itself Royall Must Fall. HLS Dean Martha Minow announced the decision in an email today (and an announcement), which reads in part:

Can federal officials declare you in violation of the law, not for actions that flout the text of a statute, but for failing to parrot the agency’s controversial views about how the statute should be applied in hypothetical situations? Recently, the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) did just that to Harvard Law School. OCR, where I used to work, found Harvard Law School in violation of Title IX for its failure to recite at length OCR officials’ views about the optimal handling of Title IX sexual harassment claims. Ironically, these views were expressed in “guidance” from agency officials that had expressly claimed to “not add requirements to applicable law.” As I explain at this link, this is a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Although the new procedures were adopted precisely to appease the Education Department, OCR nevertheless found them in violation of Title IX, not for what they did, but what they failed to say: For failing to make assertions about sexual harassment made in OCR’s own sexual harassment guidance which are seldom found in any real-world sexual harassment policy, including about obscure procedural or jurisdictional matters that seemingly had nothing to do with any specific harassment case that actually occurred at Harvard Law School. (Title IX is much shorter and less complex than other civil rights laws, like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but employers routinely win sexual harassment lawsuits under Title VII despite having a sexual harassment policy that runs only a few sentences, and recites none of the assertions that OCR faulted Harvard for not reciting)....

As we reported, a coalition of student groups at Harvard Law School demanded exam delays due to student trauma over the Ferguson and Eric Garner grand jury refusals to indict. There was withering criticism, including here. HLS refused to budge, but did agree to counseling, meetings, and other steps. William Desmond, a third year HLS student who also is a Law Review Editor, defends the demand for an exam delay in The National Law Journal, Delaying Exams Is Not a Request from 'Coddled Millennials' (h/t Drew M.). Here's an excerpt:
... In essence, law students are being told to grow up and learn how to focus amidst stress and anxiety—like “real” lawyers must do. Speaking as one of those law students, I can say that this response is misguided: Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness. Although over the last few weeks many law students have experienced moments of total despair, minutes of inconsolable tears and hours of utter confusion, many of these same students have also spent days in action—days of protesting, of organizing meetings, of drafting emails and letters, and of starting conversations long overdue. We have been synthesizing decades of police interactions, dissecting problems centuries old, and exposing the hypocrisy of silence.