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Monday, December 12, 2005

Solomon Amendment part MMMDCXLII

Katherine Kersten in the Strib on the U’s relation to FAIR v. Rumsfeld. (ht Powerline) My favorite part:
The U Law School faculty voted overwhelmingly in March, reportedly with only one dissent, to join FAIR. Bryan Freeman, a third-year law student who has worked as an intern for the Army's Judge Advocate General Corps, objects. "The vote declared a political position for the Law School as a whole," he says. "But there was no meaningful student discussion. This isn't how contentious issues should be debated at a university."
Prof. Michael Paulsen, who says he was the one who voted against the resolution, agrees. "I find the Law School's policy to be deeply disrespectful of students who valiantly wish to serve their country in a military career," he said. "It is deeply disrespectful of the military itself. The Law School's policy is intolerant of dissent, and disrespectful of First Amendment values."
Paulsen said he disagrees with the government's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But he believes the Congress and the military officials who crafted the policy are the proper authorities to govern military affairs. "And if Mike Paulsen disagrees, so much the worse for him," he said.
Paulsen says the faculty wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They voted to join FAIR but not to join its suit, presumably, Paulsen says, out of fear of losing federal dollars. He calls the faculty's position "deeply shallow." It adopted a cowardly statement of political correctness, he adds, and balked at the idea of accepting any consequences. "The faculty said, 'We have our absolute principles. But they can be bought.' "


If I remember correctly, students tabled in the sub-plaza for several weeks to inform students about the Solomon Amendment and to collect signatures on a petition urging the faculty to support FAIR. Before the vote, the faculty was presented with signatures from approximately half of the student body. While it's just my opinion, I don't think I'd classify that as "no meaningful student discussion" and inadequate debate.
Collecting signatures from law students who love signing petitions to support causes is not really a discussion, let alone a debate. I gave that part less attention that Paulsen's argument, but I do thing he has a point. Now, I have an exam in 15 minutes, so I better stop caring about the rest of the world.
We can argue semantics, but, contrary to the op-ed's implication, the fact is that the faculty acted with tremendous student support.

Also, I believe there will be a reply from several professors in the next day or two; I suggest you look for it.

Good luck on the exam, or, if you don't read this until afterwards, I hope it went well.
Thanks, sure am glad that's over. I will keep my eyes open for faculty responses, if you see any feel free to post them in this comments section.
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