Friday, March 20, 2009

All of This Happened Before, And It Will All Happen Again Pt. 2: Professor Leslie Responds to Student Allegations

Continuing on our previous archive coverage, we have this long (very long - 3,968 words) op-ed by Professor Leslie in the April 22, 1988 issue. We thought in the interests of furthering equal-coverage, we should publish this as well (after publishing article last time that outlined the allegations). Both that issue and the week that proceeded have substantial coverage on the allegations outlined below. We'll try to put some of this material online, consistent with the Law Weekly's policy on reproduction (opens a .pdf of the most recent issue, see just below the colophon). Please pardon the transcription errors . . .

In part one of the letter, Leslie discusses some specific allegations - that he made comments against Africans-Americans, Jews, women, homosexuals, Italians, and the blind. He denies the explanation and attempts to explain the incidents. In the second part (the beginning of which we have bolded the paragraph), Leslie discusses what he perceives as the motives of those accusing him.

Professor Leslie's Open Letter on Allegations of Racist and Sexist Comments
Virginia Law Weekly, April 22, 1988, p. 3-4

I write this letter to answer allegations on my part in the way that I teach my class in Employment Law. As far as I am concerned, these allegations are anonymous. No student as come to me to make these complaints, nor to ask for amplification or explanation of these alleged incidents. You ought to be somewhat troubled by that since my impression is that my accusers are not students in the class, but are reporting solely on the basis of hearsay. because I feel I have engaged in no conduct for which i need to feel ashamed or apologetic, I will comment on each "incident."

Several allegations are contained in a written statement dated April 4 [1988]. I first address these matters. The case involving a "credit in an appliance store" is Williams v. Walker-Thomas. The case is, I would like to think, a principal case in every Contracts course in America. The lower court opinion begins as follows: "Appellant, a person of limited education separated from her husband, is maintaining herself and her seven children by means of public assistance." The appellant, Mrs. Williams, signed 14 contracts over a period of time to purchase household article from the Walker-Thomas furniture company, "A retail furniture store in the District of Columbia." Mrs. Williams signed signed dragnet security clauses and when she could not make her installment on a stereo set, the defendant repossessed all of the items that she had bought form the store. The contract clauses providing for such a foreclosure was alleged to be unconscionable under the UCC.

The case requires two or three days of class time in my class. One of the issues that we address at length is whether the court is making some unwarranted assumptions about Mrs. Williams and other, future persons who might seek to buy goods on the installment plan in DC. Did Mrs. Williams understand what she was signing? Were the facts that she had seven children and was on public assistance probative on the issue? If she knew what she was singing, why did she not travel to Sears to buy the stereo (the answer is that she was a poor credit risk)? Isn't the effect of the case that some people in DC who are poor credit risks will be unable to buy stereos on the installment plan? If so, the ruling is paternalistic. In the context of this discussion, we consider whether the fact that Williams was probably black and that a disproportionate number of those affected by this decision are black ought to matter.

However, the case nowhere identifies Mrs. Williams as being black. It is my view that most students reading the case believe that a woman on public assistance buying a stereo in the circumstance in DC is very likely to be black, whether the case specifies her race or not. This is not a statement about some inherent incapability of black women, but rests on empirical observation that there are more black women on public assistance in Dc than there are white women on public assistance. Is Mrs. Williams' race relevant? I would not argue that black women are incapable of making decisions as to what to buy or as to the amount of credit risk that they think it wise to assume. That is the point: I would not argue that poor black people lack this capacity to make choice, or having seven children, or being public assistance warrants the interference. Was the court thus unconsciously motivated by racial or economic stereotypes?

To the extent that the Williams decisions makes it more expensive for DC residents to purchase goods on credit, the burden of the decision falls disproportionately on black people. This another reason why a complete classroom discussion of case has to address the issue of race. I know that at least one other faculty member who teaches case takes the same general approach w/r/t to Williams' race, and I assume that all Contracts teachers feel that the matter has to be explicitly addressed. There is no racism here.

Of the alleged incidents, the one involving the race of Mrs. Williams is the only that occurred in a class other than Employment Law. The first day of EL followed immediately the discharge of James "Jimmy the Greek" Snyder by a TV network. I did not see the entire interview that prompted the discharge, so I sued the only that portion of the interview which I had seen, in which Snyder said the selective breeding of slaves had produced black athletes that are physically superior to white athletes, to illustrate some of the kinds of issues that we would be addressing in the semester. Snyder was 73 years old when discharged, and I treated briefly the question whether he had been drinking too much, and I discussed whether Snyder might have or ought to have a claim that he was improperly discharged on account of a handicap - alcoholism. I said that the first topic that the class would address was the employment-at-will-doctrine. In most states, the television network could fire Snyder for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all; but in some states, the courts have in circumstances they deem appropriate announced that employee could be fire only for "good cause."

Suppose, I asked, that Snyder challenged the network to show that his discharged was reasonable? The network could argue that TV viewers had found the remarks offensive, but I pointed out, reliance on customer preferences to justify racial discrimination in employment is no defense, ought it to be here? Suppose, I said, that Snyder claims that what he said is true. How ought that to affect a determination of whether his discharge was for good cause? I said that i had no knowledge of whether slave owners had selectively bred slaves, but I knew that reporters covering the Snyder discharge were similarly ignorant b/c they had called a prominent academic historian of the period to ask whether slave owners had engaged in the practice. He told them that the historians once thought that they had but more recently historians had come to doubt these reports. Could the truth of Snyder's remarks, if they were true, or the fact that he thought they were true, be a defense to discharge? Are the courts or government administrators qualified to decide these issues of just cause discharge, and by what standards? Thus ended the discussions of Jimmy the Greek. There is no racism here.

The third alleged incident has to do with the academic level of black youths. One of the leading SCOTUS cases on race discrimination is Griggs v. Duke Power Company. It is in the Employment Law case book, and we spent a day or two on it. In tat case, the company used standardized intelligence tests and evidence of a high school education as hiring and promotion criteria. This had a disparate impact on blacks, who on average were less likely than whites to have completed high school. The Court held that because of the disparate impact, neither the tests nor the diploma could be sued as employment criteria unless the Company could validate the necessity of passing score or a diploma to a successful job performance.

After discussion of the case was finished, a student raised her hand, noted that the Court had remarked on the fact that blacks had "long received inferior education in segregated schools," and asked whether I though that with the end of segregated schools, and thus the improved educational prospects for blacks, the disparate impact would disappear, alloying employers to once again rely on these criteria. I stated that I had no special expertise or knowledge on this problem, but that I thought that improved educational opportunities would not alone make enough of a difference. Whether one should call it the "poverty cycle" or the "fatherless family" problem, I didn't know but I said that I believe that the problems facing black ghetto children were too serious to be soon solved by access to better schools. This prompted a discussion by the class, with me joining in, on the seeming success, disproportionate to the their numbers, of many Asian immigrant children. It was remarked that Asian parents "push" their children to achieve academic excellence. We all seemed to agree that even if the reports of unusual accomplishments by Asian immigrant children and of the role of guiding parents in those accomplishment were completely accurate, this was a generalization only, and it would not be correct to conclude that no black parents pushed their children to achieve academic excellence.

After the class, one (white) student told me that he thought that I ought not to have expressed any opinion whatsoever on the question asked in class that prompted the discussion. In his view, notwithstanding the fact that I announce that I have no comparative advantage on this issue, m faculty status is likely to carry too much weight and authority. Other discussion students around the desk at the time disagree with his remarks, took the view that the class discussion had been very worthwhile, and that it was unlikely to have occurred had I not taken a position. I agree with those students; however I thought it appropriate to say at the beginning of the next class that the views I had expressed on the matter were my own (tentative) views and that I claimed no expertise. That was the end of it.

Those are the incidents that were set out in the letter of April 4. I now turn to the four remarks attributed to me in the notes taken by Elizabeth Lowe of an oral conversation that she had with a complainant on April 8.

First I cannot believe that I ever said, "The last time I was ripped off it was by a Jew." I have no idea when it is claimed that I said it, or what the context was. I have no prejudices against Jews. Discrimination for or against Jews has not been a topic in any class that I have ever taught, save the allegation in DeFunis that law school special admissions for black applicants constitute discrimination against a Jew, who had superior credentials but was denied admission. That case is not taken up in Employment Law.

The quotation regarding male nurses [Editor's Note (in original): Dean Lowe's notes include the following alleged exchange: "We all know about male nurses, don't we?" (Leslie) "What do you mean?" (student) "Well they're homosexual, aren't they?" (Leslie) "No I just thought they needed jobs." (student)] is taken out of context and is inaccurately reported. The casebook in Employment Law takes up the matter of comparable worth: whether the law does or ought tor require firms to pay comparable wages for jobs that are "comparable" but not "equal" - so nurses ought not to earn less than janitors. In that context, I asked what a policy of comparable worth might seek to accomplish. One possibility is that the policy might go far to eliminate beliefs that some jobs are for men and others are for women. Some cases, reported in the case book, involve nurses, a predominately female profession. We discussed the limits of what the law can do. If men do not often opt to become nurses (as opposed to, say, becoming pharmacists), is a raise in pay of nurses likely to draw many men into the profession. You cannot analyze that question without thinking about what it is about the job of nursing that deters male applicants. I said that when my wife was practicing nurse, there was a stereotype that male nurses were homosexual [sic]. Another (male) student said that when his wife practiced nursing, there was the same stereotype. Such a stereotype might deter men who did not want to be stereotyped as homosexual from entering this profession, even if wages were not increased.

This is not the same as saying that all male nurses are homosexual, that a disproportionate percentage of male nurses are homosexual, that homosexual men ought to be nurses, that they ought not to be nurses, or that homosexuality is "bad."

The notes say that I made "[a] remark about Italians." I recall no remark about Italians, and I harbor no prejudice against Italians. I cannot think of what the context could possibly have been, for there are no cases involving discrimination and Italians in the case book. It could have been something of the sort: "Do you think it is appropriate for the government to require that the 18-year-0ld son of a prominent black doctor to be given preferential admission into a craft apprenticeship program (to which he is qualified) if it means the the son of an Italian immigrant (also qualified) will be excluded?" I don't remember doing that, but such a remark is not racist.

The notes say that I made "[r]emarks about women." In a class covering employment discrimination issues involving women, including decisions to hire, to fire, to promote, to grant pregnancy leave, etc, there are certainly remarks about women.

Finally, the notes suggest the following.

"Suggestions to blind student in telephone conversation in which student sought information on course materials that the student should enroll in another class; hallway remark to student when student identified himself as the caller that DL[eslie] was glad to know who he was and had been planning to ask him to stand up in class to identify himself."

Sometime during the summer I received a call from a student admitted to the fall class. He told me that he was blind and that he was assigned to my section of Contracts. He said that he would like to buy a copy of the book for the course so he could have transcribed during the summer. I told him that another professor and I were writing a Contracts case book and that the course materials would consists of photocopies of a draft of that book. I told him that I did not have a final version of even the first several weeks' worth of the materials finished, and that at the beginning of the semester I would have no more than one-third of the semester's materials completed the remainder of the materials would completed as the semester went along. I told him that I could give him a copy of the last year's materials but that there would certainly be substantial changes between last year and the coming year. I told that him that two of my colleagues were also using the draft materials but that other colleagues were using a book by Prof. Sten Henderson that was already in print. If having the materials transcribed was important, I suggested, he might contact the Dean's office and request that he but he be put in a Contracts section where the book was then available. I could think of nothing else I could do for him.

The student introduced himself to me at the elevator on the first day or so of the fall semester. I told him that I had neglected to write down his name when he called, that I had oped to meet him and offer any help that I could during the semester to lessen any problems caused by his blindness.

The student took my class in the fall, I treated him no differently form any other student, and he has never claimed otherwise to me. For someone to try to make out that this shows animosity by mean towards a blind person suggests a malign motive on the part of those who point their finger, in my view.

Those are my responses to each allegation. I want to emphasize what I am not accused of. I am not accused of making a racial slur. I am not accused of treating any black student or any woman student or any handicapped person with a lack of personal respect. I am not accused of calling on black or female or handicapped students too often, or too seldom, or of asking the questions that embarrass them personally. I am not accused of discriminatory examinations nor of discriminatory grading.

[UVA Law Blog's emphasis, see above]

I leave it to you to evaluate just what I am accused of. I strongly deny that I have engaged in racist or sexist conduct, or that I have engaged in conduct lacking judgment.

There is a principle that I hold dear that lies at the heart of this episode for me. In a course that deals with legal issues involving matter of race and sex, talking about the issues can be painful . It may be painful for a student that knows that he or she is the beneficiary of an affirmative action plan to hear debated the justness of an affirmative action plan for admission to craft apprentice programs. While it would be wrong to brutalize these students in any way, the only way to avoid the pain is to avoid talking about the issues.

Not talking about them will not make the issues go away. Not talking about them will not keep judges from thinking about the issues when they decide cases, whether they address them explicitly or not. Talking about them makes this a better class. It does not make me a racist.

At a meeting on April 14 between myself and students who were circulating a petition about me, I was accused several times of having made racist and sexist remarks, but no incidents were specified that had not already been communicated to the Dean's office, and relayed to me. Being old enough to remember the early 1950s, I had a sense of deja vu when a student held up a letter, saying, "I have here in my hand a letter signed by two students which says that you made a racist remark," and then refused to tell me what I was alleged to have said. The petition was not presented to me (and never has been) I said that I could not believe that there were any complaints relating to racism or sexism in the first semester courses in Contracts or Labor Law because the student evaluations put out by the students mentioned none. The reply was that the students would not have listed such complaints because they feared retaliation (notwithstanding, I gather, that the evaluations are anonymous, that they are given to me only after my grades are turned in, that I am required to adhere to a B mean, and that the evaluations do not hesitate to make other, forceful critcisms. I offered to photocopy my above account of the incidents alleged to be racist or sexist, and provide them with copies. Several of the student organization representatives said they would like to read the memo. I said that my secretary would have it for them the next morning By the end of the next day - Friday, April 15 - no one had picked up a copy. During that day, the stories you have all undoubtledly read came out in the student newspapers.

The only facts to report are that several students have written to me or stopped by office to say that they support me and that they and others intend to write to the Dean on my behalf.

The student newspapers report that initiators of the petition are the same students that are pursuing an "activist diversity agenda." In fact, the tactics used against me are pretty clever. First, alleged that "many" students from the Employment Law course have complained. Second, set out no specific allegation in the petition for the students to evaluate. Third, call for an "investigation." Finally, get it to the newspapers. Students without a political agenda might sign the petition on the grounds that that alleged race and sex discrimination ought never to be ignored, without considering the need for probable cause before a person a is publicly targeted.

There was one feature of how they handled, however, that makes it clear that their motive was to harass and embarrass. They misled the students who signed the petition by suggesting they were merely asking for the Dean's office to investigate the allegations. At the very time they circulated the petition and alerted the press, they knew that the allegations had been presented to the Dean's office at the end of the previous week, that Dean Lowe had a meeting with the students at that time, and that the Dean's office was already investigating the allegations. The only purpose of the petition was publicity. If I were a member of a "sponsoring" organization - the National Lawyers Guild [UVA Law Blog note: The NLG is a left-wing organization of civil rights and other progressive attorneys], the Black Law Students Association, Virginia Law Women, and the Jewish Law Students Association - I would ask my elected official if they knew when they sponsored a petition asking for an investigation, the investigation was already underway.

It is part of the agenda of some political activists to "keep things stirred up." I suspect that that had a good deal to do with the petition alleging racism and sexism against a faculty member - and a faculty member teaching a thoughtful course that raises hard issues of racial and sexual policiy in employment is a very esay victim if what he says is misrepresented, taken out of context, or otherwsie distorted. But it was pointe dout to me recently that such an attack has a more specific and subtle effect: it neutalizes the victim as an effective contributor to influence on the issues that the acitvists care the most about. Thus someone accused of being a racist and a sexist is unlikely in the near future to chair the Faculty Appointments Committee. Could it be the fact that because of my involvement in the law and economics program and my known personal friendship with the incoming dean, I was thought to be opposed to the activists' agenda and potentially an important influence in school affairs, and thus a very satisfactory target?

I am not suggesting that everyone who signed the petition was motivated by an activist agenda, nor that all students who are participating in the "activist agenda" movement would engage in malign tactics. I am suggesting suggesting that a student who signed the petition when it amde no attempt to establish probable cause forgot for a moment one of our most important principles of due process and human decency.

What now? Dean Merrill has investigated the allegations of the petitions in advance of its formal submission ot him. The petitition, I am told, mentions no specific instances, and thus adds none to the letter related to me by Merrill and the notes Lowe's conversation. Student at the meeting on April 14 could not or would not make any additional specific allegations. I believe that i have shown that unless someone is prepared ot challenge the factual accruacy of my explanation of these instances, there is no evidence that I have engaged racially or sexually discrimnatory conduct nor that I have made errors in judgment.

Douglas Leslie
Professor of Law

[Editor's Note: In the interest of providing a fair and equal forum for Professor Douglas Leslie, we have reporudced his response to the initial charges of racism and sexism and his open letter to the Law School. To preserve continuity and space we have condensed the letter into a single piece. The first and second paragraphs of Prof. Leslie's letter of April 17 have been deleted. The first line of Prof. Leslie's letter to Dean Merill has been editied [sic]. Orginal copies are available at the [sic] Leslie's office]
Sorry for the typos. [EDIT: Yes, there are a good deal of typos - for some reason blogger's spell checking software is not working correctly which is making them hard to ferret out - many of them have been fixed now, though. Also, in some cases I shortened "District of Columbia" to "DC"].

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh dear lord. you can't apologize for typos and then endeavor to make AS MANY AS POSSIBLE! i couldn't even finish reading this piece that i was interested in because i was so offended by the grammar. everything Leslie allegedly has done pales in comparison to your heartless slaughter of the English language. apologizing for typos is one thing. refusing to proofread anything...? lazy.

is that purposeful dramatic irony when you leave in the Law Weekly's typos at the end? pointing out how much better you are than them by using [sic] while demonstrating the opposite?

i'm not kidding. if you're planning on any sort of career in writing/journalism please please please correct 1/4 of your horrible typos. it detracts from the otherwise worthy piece.

Rule 12 (f) said...

You try transcribing 4k words - lazy is hardly the word. There are other blogs out there you can read.

Anonymous said...

too long - didn't read

Anonymous said...

i have. some of us have held secretarial jobs and have found that learning to type accurately isn't that hard, no matter how many words. try buying a program like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

and i wouldn't be reading this blog if the Law Weekly archives went back far enough, but, alas, you hold the monopoly on Leslie news from 1988.

Rule 12 (f) said...

i fixed many of the errors, obviously some will remain, though (see note at end).

The LW's are all in the library, so you don't have to read this blog.

Liz said...

Phew!

Anonymous said...

quit complaining about typos...its a blog not the f'ing ny times. my casebooks have more typos than this. the guy spent time and effort putting this stuff up so people like you have something to do on a friday night.

Anonymous said...

Agree w/ 9:32. For christ's sake, transcribing 4000 words is a pain in the ass, any way you slice it. Rule 12 f is a full time law student just like you are - Just say "thank you." A thought for the editor - would they let you scan a copy of this in and put it on the blog? I don't see why not, and it would sure save you some time :)

Anonymous said...

"i have. some of us have held secretarial jobs and have found that learning to type accurately isn't that hard, no matter how many words. try buying a program like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

and i wouldn't be reading this blog if the Law Weekly archives went back far enough, but, alas, you hold the monopoly on Leslie news from 1988."

1) Was the reason that you held so many secretarial jobs because you couldn't hold one due to your inability to capitalize "I" and any letter at the beginning of a sentence? Maybe you should try buying a program like School House Rocks teaches capitalization or something.

2) The Law Weekly archives are in the library. If you are so offended by the grammar and typos in the blog, maybe you should get your lazy ass to the reserve room and read the copy that is on par with your high standards.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, very interesting.

8:35pm: get a life, douchebag

Anonymous said...

The posts here a are a good example of the unfortunate phenomenon that is law students being obnoxious, judgmental, unkind jerks. Why are so many of us such mean contrariens? I don't get it. Why the hell can't we be nice to each other?

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked that a few 1L's might feel slighted after receiving low grades and then suddenly decide that their teacher must be a bigot and that's the real reason for their poor grades. SHOCKED.

Anonymous said...

This man needs to be fired, not just prevented from teaching first years. He is an embarrassment to the law school and a real a-hole to boot. Google also tells me that he received a lot of $$$ from an ultra-right-wing foundation. Maybe his prejudices are political as well.

Anonymous said...

12:07pm - have you taken any leslie classes? you must have, b/c the only people who defend this loser are the all-white, right-wing sycophants who have benefited from his prejudicial grading over the years. if you have taken his classes, why don't you post the text of one of your exams on here, and then someone who got a poor grade can post the text of one of their exams, and we can compare.

Rule 12 (f) said...

(1) Keep it civil guys.

(2) Do *not* post the text of one of your (or anyone else's) LS exams, as that is technically a violation of the honor code.

ty

Anonymous said...

"the only people who defend this loser are the all-white, right-wing sycophants who have benefited from his prejudicial grading over the years." Well, that is certainly a bold statement that can be empirically verified. Maybe a white, left-wing student, a nonwhite, right-wing student, or a nonwhite, left-wing student, could step up and inform us whether he/she (1) got a good grade in Leslie's class and/or (2) defend his teaching practices. Otherwise, it's a rather bigoted, ignorant statement in and of itself. While you're at it, someone please look up "sycophant" in the dictionary for this fool.

Anonymous said...

"While you're at it, someone please look up "sycophant" in the dictionary for this fool."

huh?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the response would be on this forum if someone had indicated that only deranged nonwhite, left-wing students supported the criticism of this professor. Doesn't seem to hold as much currency, does it?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the only people who defend this loser are the all-white, right-wing sycophants who have benefited from his prejudicial grading over the years." Well, that is certainly a bold statement that can be empirically verified. Maybe a white, left-wing student, a nonwhite, right-wing student, or a nonwhite, left-wing student, could step up and inform us whether he/she (1) got a good grade in Leslie's class and/or (2) defend his teaching practices. Otherwise, it's a rather bigoted, ignorant statement in and of itself. While you're at it, someone please look up "sycophant" in the dictionary for this fool.

6:20 PM

*crickets*

Anonymous said...

" I wonder what the response would be on this forum if someone had indicated that only deranged nonwhite, left-wing students supported the criticism of this professor. Doesn't seem to hold as much currency, does it?"

Doesn't "hold as much currency" because its already been disproved, right?

Anonymous said...

" I wonder what the response would be on this forum if someone had indicated that only deranged nonwhite, left-wing students supported the criticism of this professor. Doesn't seem to hold as much currency, does it?"

If you were paying attention and were able to keep more than one thought in your simple head at a time, you'd know that the prof's defenders here have already suggested that the prof's critics are stupid, disgruntled minorities with bad grades ... as for the "left wing" thing, did you miss that part about the "minority activists" and their "diversity agenda"? What about the dismissals of the complainants as "overly sensitive" and all the "PC"-bashing.

I'll unspool this for you one more time, and I'll do it slowly because of your above-mentioned inability to trace an argument involving more than one step ...

The prof is accused on discriminatory grading.

An accusation of discriminatory grading cannot be lodged until someone suspects discriminatory grading.

Someone cannot suspect discriminatory grading until that discriminatory grading TAKES PLACE.

Thus, the fact that the complaints were made after grades were turned in is indicative of nothing.

That wasn't too hard now, was it?

Anonymous said...

Why are we still arguing over the "after the fact complaint" issue? The Dean has already come out and said that complaints were lodged during the semester.

Anonymous said...

im a minority and I have taken 2 leslie classes. I got a B+ and an A. Has he been a little insensitive and maybe hold back more on his comments? Yes. Is he a racist? Obviously not. And the time I got an A, I didnt even participate much in that class. Stop bitching people, hes not a racist, just a little insensitive

Anonymous said...

Following on the earlier comment, as someone in the current "class at issue":

1) The issue is NOT discriminatory grading. It is pretty much a rehash of the 1988 issue regarding comments made in class and basically being a horrible professor.

2) The complaints were raised during the semester. This was NOT a group of people pissed about their grade, but people pissed about having to listen to this guy.

3) These issues all came up because of the lack of course evaluation, which the administration was waiting on after the initial complaints. (Others have discussed why there were no course evals, but basically Leslie, if you ask me, goes out of his way to make sure students don't do them. In this case, if he knew they were waiting on them in regards to these complaints, it would seem logical that he would try and keep people from doing them to just kill the incident, which isn't what happened.)

Now, at least, you folks can bicker about what is actually at issue.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the individual who posted at 2:43 AM wished that there was an "undo post" button on his computer. To say that your wildly incoherent post is an embarrassment to yourself is an understatement. As has been demonstrated repeatedly, there are no substantive accusations of discriminatory grading. They have centered on in-class comments of a controversial nature.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I suspect the individual who posted at 2:43 AM wished that there was an "undo post" button on his computer. To say that your wildly incoherent post is an embarrassment to yourself is an understatement. As has been demonstrated repeatedly, there are no substantive accusations of discriminatory grading. They have centered on in-class comments of a controversial nature."

1:52 PM

"there are no substantive accusations of discriminatory grading"

Right, except for the accusations in that have been made in student papers.

And Leslie's acknowledgment of his since-discontinued practice of cold-calling the same same "shy" students every day.(Those who have taken his class knows that the people he calls on EVERY DAY aren't "shy" -- another affirmative defense open to discovery -- although they may share other characteristics).

And Leslie acknowledgment that this since-discontinued practice of cold-calling "shy" students gives these students a boost.

(Incidentally, why has Leslie discontinued this practice if it was so innocent?)

And the accusations that Leslie ignores and cuts off black students(which would hurt their grades).

Again, I know this is hard for you, but try to keep more than one fact in your empty head at a time.

If you had taken employment law, and if you were not such an obvious half-wit and ignorant sycophant (what was your point about that word earlier?), you would understand that discrimination law is all about inferences and burdens, because it's difficult to get in someone's head and detect their prejudices. So we look at factual records - things like seemingly unequal cold-calling, and several instances of arguably insensitive language, and curious (facially-neutral) grading methods that seem purposefully designed to ensure the application of race-based, sex-based, or ideological favoritism.

See, this stuff isn't that hard, buddy. I am sure that if you think about it for a little while you'll be able to keep up with the rather simple arguments that have been made here.

Anonymous said...

ATTENTION:

ALL 1L'S YOUR SPEAKING PRIVILEGES ARE HEREBY REVOKED.

FROM NOW ON YOU MAY NOT:

1) POST ANY COMMENTS ON UVALAWBLOG

2) FILE FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF RACISM/DISCRMINATION AGAINST PROFESSORS

Know your place 1L's: to be seen but not heard. It'll help you when (read: if) you start working at a firm.

Anonymous said...

I hope outsiders (non-UVA law) don's read these comments. We come across as ignorant, mean and extremely emotional. The comments that go up here (not all, but many) embarass me.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness. No one's speaking privileges are "revoked." 1L year is a stressful time and it need not be aggravated with the comments of insensitive upperclassmen - hang in there, 1Ls. What a terrible, nasty trail of comments. Honestly, we had better hope the admitted students considering UVA don't see this; I believe that we know how to handle disagreements without berating each other and to generally treat each other civilly. This really has become such a divisive controversy. I haven't taken a class with Leslie. I personally believe that the allegations about his teaching practices and comments, are grounds for his dismissal. We'll never know for sure whether he holds discriminatory views about racial and religious minorities in his own heart, or whether he respects women as little as it seems that he does; what is more telling to me is that he seems to have given this impression to a substantial number of students over at least the last twenty years. And each time Lesliegate has erupted, he has unapolegetically lashed out and refused to take accountability for something that is undoubtedly true - he makes more than a few minority and female students uncomfortable in his classroom. Even if Leslie were a stellar professor, which no one has so far suggested, at the very least, he lacks the respectfulness, self restraint and good judgment that anyone entrusted with UVA's reputation has a duty to exercise. That's my opinion, and I understand that others may differ - but, let's look out for the civility of our school environment and our profession generally, and disagree more respectully than we have so far.

Anonymous said...

"Know your place"? Are you kidding me? Is this middle school? Sorry you were picked on your whole life and now need a good boost to your ego. Get a life, loser.

Rule 12 (f) said...

Seriously, try to keep it civil - we have already deleted several comments. It's possible to express your views on this matter - whatever they are - in a responsible and respectful manner; so, there is no need to post abusive or immature comments.

Anonymous said...

The handling of this situation (on "both sides") has been terribly unfortunate. In my view, this should not be characterized as an issue about Prof. Leslie. Rather than asking whether he's a racist or whether he should be disciplined, I think we should focus on a different, ultimately more important question: What types of comments or behaviors are appropriate in the classroom and what types are not? This is not specific to one professor. There are undoubtedly other U.Va. faculty who make comments that might be perceived as racially / ethnically insensitive or (probably more often) sexist. It's not just Prof. Leslie. And yet, we have made this all about him. We have acted like it's his problem. No. If there is a problem it is our problem. We need to deal with it as a community, having a conversation about appropriate behavior. If we discuss and establish norms and then Prof. Leslie, or any other instructor, breaks them, then we can deal with the individual.

Anonymous said...

You guys are right about the tone, and I have fired off some unfortunate comments after being baited by some of Leslie's defenders' dishonest, insulting arguments. Personally, I don't even know if I care enough to see him disciplined at this point - it's probably enough that these things have come to light and that he has been reminded that he's not going to be allowed to act this way in the future.

But I do have to say one more mean thing:

This ...

"In my view, this should not be characterized as an issue about Prof. Leslie"

and this ...

"We have acted like it's his problem. No. If there is a problem it is our problem"

are some of the most nonsensical things I've read here

We have to *just now* establish "norms" for proper classroom behavior? It's "not his problem" but "our" problem?

What in G*d's name does this pap mean?

Anonymous said...

Here's what I mean: It is obvious from the aftermath of these allegations coming to light that some people think that his behavior was inappropriate while other people do not. Who is right? We each have our own individual notions of what appropriate classroom behavior / speech is, but we do not have a collective notion. We could. Rather than debating about whether Doug Leslie is a bad person, we could be talking about what we, not as individuals, but as a community think is appropriate. If a professor crosses the line as defined by an individual student or a group of students, that's one thing. It's another thing if we have a collective notion of what the line is and that is crossed. In my mind, the latter situation is the one in which it is appropriate to single out the individual offender.

As for "our problem," I simply meant the entire law school community (including Prof. Leslie).

Anonymous said...

I think the real problem is the sense of entitlement that pervades through law schools.

Ironic that the last time 1L's complained about this professor was during another economic recession.

Anonymous said...

I think the real problem is the sense of entitlement that pervades through law schools.

Ironic that the last time 1L's complained about this professor was during another economic recession.

9:35 PM

What's ironic is your misuse of the term ironic in your failed attempt to be clever.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what I mean: It is obvious from the aftermath of these allegations coming to light that some people think that his behavior was inappropriate while other people do not. Who is right? We each have our own individual notions of what appropriate classroom behavior / speech is, but we do not have a collective notion. We could. Rather than debating about whether Doug Leslie is a bad person, we could be talking about what we, not as individuals, but as a community think is appropriate. If a professor crosses the line as defined by an individual student or a group of students, that's one thing. It's another thing if we have a collective notion of what the line is and that is crossed. In my mind, the latter situation is the one in which it is appropriate to single out the individual offender.

As for "our problem," I simply meant the entire law school community (including Prof. Leslie).

9:07 PM

Jeez, do you even know what the controversy is about? What in G*d's name are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Again, as a member of the UVA community, the form that these comments have taken, and much of the content, embarasses me terribly. We sound like angry children.

Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed that a few whiny-baby 1Ls can railroad a professor like this.

Doug Leslie's language can be rough sometimes, but he is not racist or sexist or otherwise discriminatory. In my FIVE Leslie courses, I think I would have noticed if it was otherwise.

Folks, grow a thicker skin and get over yourselves. And count yourselves lucky that Doug Leslie gave you the gift of one fewer final to study for at the end of the semester.

t-pain said...

the grammar nazi posts at the top of this thread = 180 flame

Anonymous said...

180 flame?

Anonymous said...

@11:00PM/grammar nazi from the top of the page

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

irony: “incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.”

I'm eagerly awaiting your apology.

Anonymous said...

9:07 pm said:

"We each have our own individual notions of what appropriate classroom behavior / speech is, but we do not have a collective notion. We could.

Rather than debating about whether Doug Leslie is a bad person, we could be talking about what we, not as individuals, but as a community think is appropriate. If a professor crosses the line as defined by an individual student or a group of students, that's one thing. It's another thing if we have a collective notion of what the line is and that is crossed. In my mind, the latter situation is the one in which it is appropriate to single out the individual offender."

This is seriously misguided thinking. You try to hide behind conciliatory (if incoherent) rhetoric about our "community" to justify disregarding the very serious, credible complaints that individuals in "our community" have brought forward. "We" do not have a problem. UVA Law does not have a problem. We have the best faculty in the nation, and there is only one prof who has drawn such complaints. Your allegedly "communitarian" pap is insulting and just a way to avoid dealing with the real, credible problems that have been identified, which you obviously don't view as problems.

Anonymous said...

I think the deranged people declaring an intifada on Leslie are the sycophants. Discuss.

Anonymous said...

"Honestly, we had better hope the admitted students considering UVA don't see this..."

Well--we have seen this discussion. And yes, you do look as pathetic and the quoted blogger fears. Every school has problem faculty, but the real concern I have is the students' lack of maturity in dealing with the issue as a community. So much for the collegial atmosphere I was advertised!

I (humbly, as I am not yet a 1L) suggest that there is indeed a need for a wider discussion on this issue. Obviously some of you (unfortunately) think its normal for a professor to make his/her students feel uncomfortable, others don't, and still others have varying degrees of what "uncomfortable" is. How can you, or the school, ever come to a respected conclusion without having an acknowledged framework for judging the case? In the end, someone will have to be wrong, but if you have the discussion, and a process recognized by all as being legitimate, it seems like the "loser" could at least respect the decision, and those involved.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Thanks in advance for not beating me up...