Michael Drake speaks:
The decision was mine and mine alone. It was not based on pressure from donors, politicians or the University of California Board of Regents. It was a culmination of discussions -- with many people over a period of time -- that convinced me that Professor Chemerinsky and I would not be able to partner effectively to build a world-class law school at UC Irvine. That is my overarching priority.What bureaucratic drivel! Glad you're so convinced and confident about absolutely everything. We're not.
My decision was absolutely not based on Professor Chemerinsky's place on the political spectrum, which is, in fact, quite similar to my own.
Nor was this a matter of academic freedom. UC Irvine -- and I personally -- staunchly support and defend freedom of speech and the expression of a wide range of viewpoints on our campus; nowhere is this more important than at a public university. There are individuals with political views far more liberal than Professor Chemerinsky's or mine who conduct research, teach and serve in senior administrative positions at UC Irvine....
I am confident that our search process will ultimately result in the appointment of a founding dean who will work with my colleagues and me to build the world-class law school that we envision for UC Irvine.
UPDATE: The L.A. Times reports on the furor at UCI:
The search for Chemerinsky took nine months before a formal agreement was reached, and search committee members said they would now probably start again from scratch...And here's lawprof Jack Balkin:
Although Drake has denied that he took action under pressure from conservatives, [psychology professor Elizabeth F. ] Loftus said Thursday that the chancellor told the [dean search] committee during an emergency meeting Wednesday night that he was forced to make the decision by outside forces whom he did not name. A second member of the committee confirmed Loftus' account to The Times but asked to remain anonymous.
"I asked whether it was one or two voices or an avalanche, and the answer is that it was an avalanche," Loftus said. "But we are not supposed to capitulate to that in the world of academic freedom."
This is a disgraceful way to treat Erwin Chemerinsky, a very fine legal scholar. It is bad enough that Drake fired him in what can only be described as an act of cowardice. Now he must go on an extended public relations campaign lying about why he did so and further impugning Chemerinsky in the process. One suspects that the next person whose job is on the line will be Drake himself.Can anyone explain why Drake should not resign? After nine months of searching for a dean and recruiting a man who is highly respected throughout the law school community, he turned around and fired him in a way that has undercut the whole project of founding a law school at UCI.