November 20, 2015

About 2 dozen Harvard Law School students barged into Dean Martha Minow's Constitutional Law class and demanded that their issue be talked about immediately.

The NYT reports in an article about the aftermath of finding black tape on the glass of framed photographs of black law professors at the law school. It's not known who put the tape on the photographs or why, but the incident brought — as the Times puts it —"a new sense of urgency to discussions about race and racial discrimination that have spread across this campus as well as universities and graduate schools around the country."

Was it "a pretty clear act of intolerance, racism," as the student government president said, or was it an effort to create a new sense of urgency to discussions about race? Does anyone want to know the truth or is the idea to not let a sense of urgency go to waste? I suppose the student activists would say the source of the tape is a side issue, a distraction, and the general questions of racism are worthy of discussion even if the tape was some anti-racism activist's trick to ramp up the agitation.

Would a real racist just put gaffer's tape on the glass? Gaffer's tape "leaves little or no residue and will generally not damage most surfaces when it is removed." Wouldn't someone who really hated those black professors do something more destructive, like break the glass or try to get at the photographs?

Ah, but the tape has a history. The NYT reveals that black tape was used earlier by anti-racism activists a few weeks ago to cover up the Harvard Law School crest on various mats. (As blogged on November 4th, the crest was protested because of its connection to a slave-owning family.) Maybe someone who didn't like the tape on the mats felt motivated to protest the protest by moving the tape from the crest to the portraits, perhaps more of a lightweight tit for tat than deep-seated racism.

Anyway, it troubles me that students would disrupt and end a class that other students have prepared for and have put the time into attending. It troubles me that students would disrespect a professor and dean who has no connection to racism other than her position of leadership in an institution that (they think) has not done enough. Minow did respond, it seems, immediately:
Shortly after noon, hundreds of students — as well as faculty members and administrators, including Ms. Minow — gathered for what the law school called a community meeting, filling one large room and much of another. Ms. Minow acknowledged that racism was an issue at Harvard as it was around the country. “Racism exists in America and in the United States and in Harvard and in Harvard Law School,” said Ms. Minow, who has written extensively on topics like school desegregation.

But some students said the administration had not done enough to make the school fully inclusive of minority students and faculty members and voiced an array of concerns that ranged from the relatively low number of black professors — there are 12 black permanent full-time faculty members out of 125 — to the way the school taught law.
I'd like to see more detail about what the "array of concerns" was (other than the ratio of black to nonblack professors). As to the way law is taught, that's a perennial subject of complaints among law students, but the argument that it's a racial problem needs some explication. The Times quotes a student claiming that Harvard lawprofs have "just forced [students] to regurgitate" the cases, but I find that extremely hard to believe.

66 comments:

Dude1394 said...

12 our of 125 is....wait for it.. 9.6%.

Percentage of black people in the US....wait for it....13.2%.

So we are going to burn down the place over this miniscule percentage, sounds like global warming to me....bunk.

J. Farmer said...

Why is it considered "diversity" when black students want more black faculty members? Aren't black students saying that in order for them to feel more comfortable, they want more faculty members who look like them? That's the opposite of diversity.

mccullough said...

So 24 students out of 1500 get to be disruptive. What brave children

Jason said...

Expel all these assholes and admit some adults.

I know lots of veterans who would make fine lawyers, while not embarrassing the school and disrupting the rights of others to learn.

AlbertAnonymous said...

The left eating its own....

Pass the popcorn!

MRG said...

One university in this country should try an experiment: Treat black students exactly like white (or Asian) students. No race-based scholarships or tutoring. No black safe spaces. No Angry Black Studies department. No AA hiring or admissions. And no hand-wringing about racial disparities in grades. Blacks might be happier there.

The racism these universities are currently piling on blacks student is getting out of hand.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I love this image of a bunch of affirmative action students protesting racism. Look in the mirror kiddies.

Otto said...

Your world is leaking oil.When foxes who live by cunning and verbalization , who abhor overt physical power are confronted by raging lions, they just whimper and slide away.
The term racism needed explication (good word) long before your plea now that it's hurled close to home.

Quaestor said...

Take names and file suits.

YoungHegelian said...

Do you know what the commies called democratic socialists before the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Nazis & resumed calling them after 1945?

Social Fascists.

If the "moderate" Left is too stupid to figure out after all these years that they are the hard Left's first victims, there's simply no saving them.

Everyone forgets that the third member of the triad that put medium range nuclear missiles in the 80's in Europe to target the USSR was the French Socialist, Francois Mitterand. Mitterand had had enough dealings with La Partie Communiste Francaise to know exactly who was going to be put up against the wall first.

The Drill SGT said...

the relatively low number of black professors — there are 12 black permanent full-time faculty members out of 125 — to the way the school taught law.

Blacks are, what? 10-12% of the Pop?

Does anybody think that there are really more high quality Black Law Profs that the underlying demo, thus justifying more than 12 slots?

The spoils system writ large...

richard mcenroe said...

Sad day for Garage: No one will fund the Spanish Inquisition"

jimbino said...

On our way to curing the rampant racism in Amerika, we might stop charging our citizens of color (black, brown and red) their share of the millions spent in maintaining the national parks and forests that they never visit and even refund to them the billions of dollars in their share of the patrimony involved in maintaining those white country clubs.

sean said...

Wow, I had no idea that universities were so racist. Is Wisconsin as racist as Harvard? Who are the ten most racist professors at Harvard Law School, I wonder?

SMGalbraith said...

Let's repeat what apparently happened: some unknown person of some unknown race for some unknown reason put black tape over the photos of faculty members.

This - this event - is evidence of the widespread institutional racism at Harvard.

You cannot make this up. It is impossible to caricature what is going on. No one would believe it.

rcocean said...

A piece of Tape on some glass and its a national issue

Harvard really does rule America -and its a hotbed of racism.

Birkel said...

Totalitarians never stay in the near little boxes professors want.

This is the world those Leftist college professors have crafted. They are going to get it good and hard. And I, for one, look forward to the mugging reality is about to give the cloistered idiots.

Mac McConnell said...

THOMAS SOWELL: “Racism is not dead. But it is on life-support, kept alive mainly by the people who use it for an excuse or to keep minority communities fearful or resentful enough to turn out as a voting bloc on Election Day.”

If Harvard is such a racist and hell hole of rape institution, why not eliminate their tax exempt status. Why are we subsidising them?

Martin said...

Everyone should become familiar with this website: http://www.fakehatecrimes.org/fakes?page=1

david7134 said...

It is fantastic to see that blacks are beginning to see how racist the oh so moral people in the Northeast are. I grew up in south Mississippi in the 50's and really did not see true hate, bigotry, racism and cultural elitism until I went to New York in the 90's. Next, you are going to find out that blacks are the worst racist in our country. So, keep up the racial conflict, being a true man of the South, I am laughing as hard as you can imagine.

Char Char Binks said...

"As to the way law is taught, that's a perennial subject of complaints among law students, but the argument that it's a racial problem needs some explication." -- not in this time of crybully butthurt it isn't.

madAsHell said...

Here are the demands made at a town hall meeting at UNC-Chapel Hill:

We DEMAND that the SAT, SAT II, and ACT no longer be considered during admissions process
We DEMAND that students be given a vote on the Board of Governors
We DEMAND that University cafeterias, gym memberships, libraries, and class registration be free to all residents of North Carolina regardless of admittance into the institution.
We DEMAND the University stop contracting with corporate entities
We DEMAND Gender Non-Specific housing and bathrooms
We DEMAND the elimination of tuition and fees for all students.
25$ an hour minimum wage

It gets better... they also want to eliminate safety.

We DEMAND that the University decriminalize sleeping on campus or being on campus after midnight for non-students.
We DEMAND that cameras surveilling students, workers, and white supremacist monuments on campus be deactivated and removed.
We DEMAND the complete disarming of the UNC Department of Public Safety
We DEMAND that no additional funding be provided to the UNC Department of Public Safety and call for a divestment from policing on our campus.

I'm thinking this might be the "big things" that ValJar has promised during Obama's lame duck term.

JAORE said...

Getting mighty close to the X-ring, aren't they?

John said...

As Rahm Emanuel said: "Never let a serious crisis goes to waste..." even if you have to CREATE or EXAGGERATE the crisis? https://youtu.be/1yeA_kHHLow
The truth no longer matters.

Graham Powell said...

12 out of 125? That's about 10%. Not far off the 13.2% in the general populate. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States

surfed said...

They are all out of their collective fucking minds. Pardon my French.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Dude1394

Something tells me that hiring 4.5 more black professors is not going to mollify them.

Sebastian said...

“Does anyone want to know the truth or is the idea to not let a sense of urgency go to waste?”

Faux question, right?

“It troubles me”

I’m sure it does. So?

“I'd like to see more detail about what the “array of concerns” was”

You would, would you. So what?

“the argument that it's a racial problem needs some explication”

What do you mean, “needs”? Who are you to question the claim? Who cares about what you need?

“The Times quotes a student claiming that Harvard lawprofs have “just forced [students] to regurgitate” the cases, but I find that extremely hard to believe”

As if we are dealing here with a claim that invites a rational response.

Progs on the prowl for power don’t give a damn about truth or detail or explication or warranted belief. It is all very nice for you to stick to your lawprof shtick, but it is also beside the point. As the capitulation by one academic administrator after another shows.

James Pawlak said...

More FASCISTS!

rcocean said...

"It is fantastic to see that blacks are beginning to see how racist the oh so moral people in the Northeast are"

Yep, in the South they may lynch you, but in the North they put tape on your picture.

Rick said...

God I hope the crazy continues.

Anonymous said...

From Best to worst in only three generations.

Progressives should be proud.

Gramsci nods in approval.

Thank you, Academia.

Meh.

SMGalbraith said...

Is there a single adult at Harvard, a single faculty member who has the courage and principles to say, "Enough. This is not acceptable."

Is this treatment of and response to the black students REALLY in their best interest? Is this going to make them better men and women? Men and women who can be tomorrow's leaders?

Or is this going to infantilize them? Lead to them cowering before the world?

Really, if you are sincerely interested in their lives, in them achieving the best they can be, is this the way to respond?

If your child responded this way, would you treat them like this?

PB said...

Tape on the glass of a painting is an outrageous act of racism? Shit, it's not even a micro-racist act. It's lower than nano-racism. it's so small that current technology may not even be able to measure it.

All these Harvard Law students should be suspended immediately for 1 semester for interfering with the education for which others have paid. All tuition, fees and room and board are non-refundable and no additional financial aid will be supplied for the replacement semester.

Sometimes you have to shoot an admiral or two to encourage the others.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"On our way to curing the rampant racism in Amerika, we might stop charging our citizens of color (black, brown and red) their share of the millions spent in maintaining the national parks"

Pretty sure "citizens of color" take more from the national coffers than they put in.

Paco Wové said...

Gotten fitted for your Struggle Session Dunce Cap yet, Althouse?

rehajm said...

From the cade of conduct:

In past years, there have been a number of occasions when students “sat in” or obstructed access to administrative offices, faculty offices, and other school facilities as a form of protest. The Administrative Board imposed the sanction of a “reprimand” for such conduct in the spring of 2001. Students are on notice that such conduct may result in a significant disciplinary sanction.

Riiighhht.

Drago said...

Just wait until some enterprising little Maoist gets it into their little lefty-created mentality to argue that Althouse blog does not provide a Maoist safe space and it requires Althouse to be removed from campus. I can guarantee that the voice-actuated garage mahals of the world will be in her face demanding her re-education!

BDNYC said...

12 out of 125 ... so slightly less than 10%. Since blacks make up 12% of the general population, I would say that's a decent ratio. 15 would be 12%.

Honestly, this may sound racist, but one should only expect 12% of HLS's faculty to be black if one believes that academic performance in the black community is in line with the general population.

Rob said...

Harvard's chickens are coming home . . . to roost! Preach it, Reverend Wright!

lgv said...

What percentage of lawyers are black? The faculty ratio of 10% is pretty good I bet when looking at lawyers only.

Notice how you never hear any specifics about racism on campus. How have the poor black Harvard law students suffered? Every case of late rewards the disruptive behavior. If a black student were to commit some awful act, would it not be racist to condemn all black students? Yet, perhaps one person puts gaffers tape on framed photos and the whole campus is racist.

When will the madness stop?

lgv said...

I looked it up. In 2010, 4.8% of licensed lawyers are black. So, Harvard has twice as many as represented in the population of lawyers.

Skeptical Voter said...

My granddaughter is two and a half. Right now she demands that her issues get attention immediately. By the time she's three, she'll have learned to wait a while until her issues are addressed. She could school these Harvard clowns before the end of the spring term. She'll be "the adult in the room".

lgv said...

Asians represent 4.8% of the American population and 3.4% of all licensed attorneys. Yet, only 2.4% of Harvard Law faculty is Asian. It's time for the Asians to riot. Burn, baby, burn.

The Godfather said...

I was at Columbia Law School, Class of 1968. That was the year of the "student protests" that largely closed down the University. The sit-in artists and their allies deprived me of a substantial part of my last semester's education. To enter the Law Library to study for final exams I had to pass through a mob of my class-mates yelling various insults at me (I think I was a "scab", but maybe I was a "pig"; it's been so long I'm not sure). I do remember that when I called out some of them by name and told them they should be ashamed of themselves, some did have the decency to cast down their eyes and shut up for a minute.

The Columbia administration did not cover themselves with glory. They acquiesced in a "counter-commencement" held off campus at St. John's Episcopal Church; I'm an Episcopalian today in spite of, not because of, that church. One of my classmates who was a leader of the take-over crowd at the Law School was awarded a multi-year teaching fellowship. If anyone was disciplined, I don't remember it.

And Richard Nixon was elected President a few months later. I hope the Republicans pick a good candidate this year, because the Left is doing all it can to assure his/her election.

Jupiter said...

"Anyway, it troubles me that students would disrupt and end a class that other students have prepared for and have put the time into attending."

Yeah, I bet it does. Those little fascists, busting into Dean Minow's classroom, are getting a little too close to home. Have you given any thought to what you will do when they come to disrupt your classroom? I know, explain to them that you have always supported affirmative action. That should shut them up.

chickelit said...

jimbino said...
On our way to curing the rampant racism in Amerika, we might stop charging our citizens of color (black, brown and red) their share of the millions spent in maintaining the national parks and forests that they never visit and even refund to them the billions of dollars in their share of the patrimony involved in maintaining those white country clubs.

LOL. Jimbino shows exactly why from time-to-time I like to throw in a "minorities-in-National-Parks" non sequitur.

jr565 said...

Who'd have thunk that the bastions of leftism known as modern universities were such hotbeds of racism and sexism?

jr565 said...

There is a very easy fix for this, as I mentioned on a different thread. Simply put on their records that they are agitators who tried taking over the school and don't invite them back next year.
If any school wants to accept,them knowing they have it on their record then it's on them. Let them face the real world.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Check to see if any of the white professors self-identify as black. They would get partial credit for them - I think each one counts as 3/5ths of a genetically black professor.

Virgil Hilts said...

You may want HLS to be racist but it is not, not by any reasonable definition of the word.

It must be very frustrating for you to so want to be a victim at HLS but not have anyone around who wants to victimize you. So you turn yourself into something so obnoxious that every one feels uncomfortable around you, does not want to socialize with you, etc. and lo and behold you have turned yourself into the social pariah that you wrongly assumed you had started out as. Congratulations!

MaxedOutMama said...

Harvard's black professor ratio is not that far from the population ratio. It's about 10%, and the percentage of the population that is black is about 12%. So that is not much of a demonstration of institutional racism!

This is especially true because law professors are a considerably older group than the total population, and the black percentage of the population has risen over time. In the age 60-69 cohort, blacks are under 10%. In the 50 to 59 cohort, blacks are under 12%.

I realize activism and accuracy don't always go together, but I suspect if you were looking for evidence of ethnic bias in the selection of Harvard law professors, it would show up as a deficiency of Hispanics.

And then, law has not traditionally been that popular a black profession, in part of course because of past discrimination. It's probably changed now, but you have to look at the situation 20 or 30 years ago. They don't have a population of black/non-black 12%/88% lawyers to draw from in the older cohorts. It's probably more like 6% black to 94% non-black.

I would actually hazard that the 10% law professor black percentage represents some pretty strong efforts at racial balancing in the faculty. It cannot be evidence of bias.

MaxedOutMama said...

SMGalbraith @ 3:58 - I agree with what you say, but it is unfair to task the administration and the faculty at this point. Any person on the faculty who did stop clapping first for the idiocy play would not even get a show trial. It's a career loss.

We are going to have to let this generation of activists flush its futures down the toilet. There is no recourse.

Forget not Larry Summers! Never forget Larry Summers.

Ken B said...

The UNC demands referred to above are here. http://www.wral.com/asset/news/education/2015/11/20/15123955/List_of_UNC_student_demands.pdf

Interesting reading.

fivewheels said...

Complaining that a class is merely forcing one to "regurgitate" is the classic excuse of the poor student who does not know the material and would like to pretend he is thinking on a deep level above a mere knowledge of facts when he was really just playing video games instead of doing the reading.

Zach said...

Every sane person reaches an age where they are glad they never went to Harvard.

There's something toxic about telling people who are too young to have any accomplishments that they have been preselected to be #1. A combination of inferiority complex and inflated self regard.

It's interesting, though -- I have several friends who have worked there for (science) graduate school or postdocs, and they don't seem to have this complex. My theory is that grad students and postdocs are so obviously low status that they never get a chance to let things go to their head.

Dr Weevil said...

I believe it was Thomas Sowell who pointed out years ago that you can't just assume that if 12% of the population is black, 12% of judges should also be black. Widely different birth rates mean that different age groups have quite different racial distributions. As I recall, when he wrote the average black American was 22 years old, the average white American 35, the average Hispanic 18, and the average Jew 46. (Asians? I don't recall. American Indians were also in the 18-22 range.) No doubt these numbers have changed (i.e. increased) with falling birth rates in all races, but I haven't been able to find specific numbers in a casual glance at Google.

If judges are mostly recruited from people in their 40s and 50s and law professors from people in their 30s and 40s, then (all other things being equal) there will be far fewer blacks and Hispanics, somewhat more whites, and far more Jews in the pertinent age groups than in the population as a whole. If blacks are 12% of the population, what percentage of the law-professor-aged population are they? Quite a bit less than 12%.

And of course, all other things are far from equal, and black Americans are less likely to have law degrees, but that's quite another factor.

Original Mike said...

So black law students aren't so hot with the maths. If Harvard hires four more black faculty do you think the students will let everybody get back to work? Yeah, me neither.

Douglas said...

Prof. Althouse - What's going to happen at Wisconsin? It's another elite school run from top-to-bottom by leftists, ranging from traditional liberals to Crits of various flavors, but with no conservatives anywhere in sight. What are the institutional racist flaws at Wisconsin to which the activitsts will point? Will the Wisconsin deans and provosts and president be as handicapped by liberal white guilt in responding rationally and forcefully as their colleagues elsewhere?

averagejoe said...

Well it sounds to me like some little collegiate agitators had some black gaffer tape left over from the "Taping of The Seal", and after a number of days of wracking their brains, the little hoaxers came up with an idea for how to put it to good use...

Jake said...

It's fitting that these kids would use a hoax to seek a remedy for a fictitious problem.

Johanna Lapp said...

Every classroom minute spent teaching the cases that make up the law as it stands is a minute not spent on the law as they wish it would be. Learning the difficult law that they'll have to practice diminishes the power of their grievances, hypotheticals, ad hominems and arbitrary claims.

Unknown said...

The Dean is appropriately named, she just needs to fix the spelling: Minnow. Sorted.

David said...

"perhaps more of a lightweight tit for tat than deep-seated racism."

Lightweight tit for tat's are not allowed on the Harvard campus (and many others.) It's the rule.

I'll bet Dean Minnow is aware of that. I bet she suppressed whatever annoyance she may feel at the disruption of her class.

And we wonder why so many average voters are attracted to Donald Trump.

RecChief said...

see, this is what happens when you don't spank your kids for misbehaving

Peter said...

" 4.8% of licensed lawyers are black. So, Harvard has twice as many as represented in the population of lawyers."

For what it's worth, Harvard doesn't need to put as heavy a thumb on the scales when evaluating candidates, or when considering students for admission, as do schools of lesser rank.

In any case, so long as "making demands" and disrupting the normal business of a university produce payoffs the protesters seek these behaviors surely will not change. Does anyone have any confidence at all that any significant number of university administrators are willing to enforce negative incentives for disruptive behaviors?

Staging fake racist incidents pays off, therefore activists state racist incidents. Why wouldn't they?