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September 14, 2007


John Yoo does it.

It's interesting that in http://www.ocregister.com/news/chemerinskthis article in the Orange County Register, the opposition seems to be from Republicans, particularly the Attila-the-Hun clone Mike Antonovich, LA county supervisor (I've been voting against him for years). The Regents themselves are saying that they weren't going to vote against the appointment. (Amusement moment: one of the people involved (as quoted in the LA Times story on this) is Elizabeth Loftus, psychologist: isn't she the non-expert on memory that Fitz shredded?)

This is off subject, but Veco CEO Bill Allen testified this morning in Anchorage that he paid for Veco employees to work on the Girdwood house for a couple of months. Here's my unofficial transcript from the court which is on break after the testimony. Also that he paid Ben Stevens to do very little. The rest of the morning is at my blog.

I had my laptop in the court today and here is my rough transcript of that exchange:

Q: One allegation, you helped Sen. Ted Stevens remodel his Girdwood house. You and Veco paid a number of bills for remodeling that house. Isn’t that correct?
A: You know, if you say material. I gave Ted some old furniture, but I don’t think a lot of material, some labor.
Q: So you paid some labor bills for Stevens house.
A: Yes.
Q: For contractors working on the house?
A: For Veco Employees?
Q: How many involved?
A: I don’t know, I didn’t see it ...I had to run Veco. Probably 1-4?
Q: For how long? Weeks or Months?
A: Probably a couple of months?
Q: In addition to supplying Veco employees working, did you supply any other assistance?
A: I told you about old furniture. That’s all I can, you know, remember. Uh...I hadn’t, I went by maybe a month or two, to see what they were doing. Most I was gone.
Q: You would go by every month or two to check?
A: yes.
Q: How long to complete from beginning to end? 6 months, a year?
A: I don’t know. Probably, maybe as much as six months.
Q: We’ve already talked about payments to Ben Stevens - as much as $200,000?
A: Can’t count time before he was in the senate. How long was he in the Senate?
Q: Do you know?
A: .....4 years.
Q: During that time did you pay him $200,000?\
A: $4000 a month.

Later in cross examination:

Q: We’ve already talked about payments to Ben Stevens - as much as $200,000?
A: Can’t count time before he was in the senate. How long was he in the Senate?
Q: Do you know?
A: .....4 years.
Q: During that time did you pay him $200,000?\
A: $4000 a month.: Some questions about Ben Stevens, what did he do for Veco?
A: Not a lot. But I did talk to him about a marina in Sakhalin Island. Ben really good about ships. He was gonna go over with me. About the time, the valley trash stuff happened and he was battling that. And when he was done, I couldn’t go. I did do a little bit with him about the marian.
Q: Is it fair to say most of what he did was work on the pipeline.
A: Yes, I talked a lot to him about that. He studied PPT a lot. People would ask him about it. Cause Ben, he studied and a lot of those guys , a lot of your legislators, really didn’t study PPT and the gas pipeline, but he did.

Yoo is not a dean. That eternal embarrasment is a tenured professor at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall, but he seems to have taught specialized courses, probably without many students, and isn't teaching any courses this fall.

I think, however, that firing for political opinions is a violation of the Labor Code in California. Maybe like so much that doesn't apply to the government, however.

This is reminiscent of the Angela Davis case in the mid-'70s.

Angela Davis was fired from a non-tenured teaching position at UCLA in 1969 for her politics and was rehired after a huge outcry. She (much) later got tenure at UC Santa Cruz and is evidently still there. She is quite a bit more controversial than Erwin Chemerinsky. Having met both, I'd concur with Kmiec's description.

PJ - Damn, Liz Loftus is a Regent? I didn't even see that the first time through. I used to know her a bit from hiring her as an expert witness (that is another story altogether); but I cannot believe she would have been against Chemerinski on her own because she has a relatively controversial history in the public eye herself and, furthermore, just doesn't strike me as that intolerant. She was, however, part of Team Libby and Chemerinski did assist the Plame-Wilsons. I concur with Mimikatz's statements 100% and further, i have been around the law and law schools, and the Deans are always doing op-eds and making public statements. Like wanting your professors to publish, it is kind of expected.

Per LA Times, there was NOT any pushback from the Regents, cause they did not even know about this appointment.

I think that in many universities, deans are classed as administrators, not tenured faculty. They have no right to voice any particular opinion in the classroom.

Is an opposition to the death penalty so outrageous that it would cause a termination without cause? That seems exceeding strange. Would I be extra careful in firing a noted legal mind without cause?? You bet. Is Drake wasting truckloads of California taxpayers' money on this? Almost certainly. Will anyone with integrity take the job now? I doubt it. Will the law school emerge from this as a vibrant and growing presence in the education of great US lawyers? It makes me cry.

By the way, back to the purpose of this post. I also rarely agree with Kmiec or Hewitt on the issues, but my hat is off to them and I appreciate and respect their staements made in relation to the heinous decision to "unhire" Erwin Chemerinski. Really, if you have seen the three of them interact over the years, it is not shocking that they would come out in support; but it is still commendable. And therein lies part of the conundrum. Chemerinski is well enough liked and respected by even his opponents that this is an absolutely disasterous move that UCI has made. They went, in one fell swoop, from gathering a reputation and credibility they had not yet really earned, from Chemerinski and the talent he would bring and recruit, to being a black eye for the UCal system and a pariah among law schools. All before they ever opened a single classroom door. Heckuva job Drakey!


Not a Regent, but apparently a professor at Irvine, and definitely on the selection committee. The LA Times story was quoting her, and the name rang a bell. They also quoted Parsky, as well as some of the other Regents, who are publicly (if not privately) upset about this. You can gauge Antonovich's power by the fact that the LA Times didn't bring up his involvement.

PJ - thanks. I feel better now, because I went through that list yesterday or day before, whenever, and didn't see her name; and I was looking for ones I knew. This guy Drake should be fired. Whatever his motivations, he has created a first rate clusterfuck that has caused serious damage to the effort to get the law school off the ground. My guess from the start has been Donald Bren was behind all this; after all, he has the juice since he is footing the bill for the administration and first 12 professors for the new law school.

Presume the process that brought the parties to terms with a signed agreement was reasonably lengthy and detail-oriented, that there was plenty of time for negotiating details and vetting the candidate to the Regents. After the contract was signed, the Chancellor wants to back out. Why… because the new dean wrote an op-ed or because the new dean wrote an op-ed that one of the regents objected to on ideological grounds?

Drake made a decision to hire Erwin Chemerinsky, and a second one to breach the agreement. Either Drake's administrative process is a train wreck or subsequent pressures convinced Drake to back out and take the hit on his professional reputation to avoid some other consequence. That he didn't fight for his choice, tells me he has no backbone. That he’d trade his reputation as a good administrator for something else - probably his job and Drake’s - tells me he’s finished anyway. Drake appears to be a poor administrator, poor decision-maker, spineless leader, and now a liar.

This brings me back to EW’s point. The way the Regents operate work in California deserves some serious scrutiny. They don’t appear to operate as a policy and strategic advisory board but as powerful individuals who can insert themselves into hiring processes.

Left with facts that make him and others look bad, such as the regent who pressured him and his own choice to succumb to the pressure, Drake spins.

As usual, EW follows the talking points to the pointed question. The answer to which reveals the situation for what it is, and not for what Drake would have you believe.


As the LAT does more reporting on this, it gets weirder and weirder. Right now, we've got Parsky with knowledge of the appoint, and Blum. Parsky doesn't reveal whether he thinks Chemerinsky is a hippie. Which leaves Mr. Senator DiFi.

Or Drake is lying about Bren.

Or there's something even fishier with this hire.

It's worth putting this in context with an example of a job done right (so far):

Nadia Abu El-Haj is up for tenure at Barnard and has been the subject of a petition calling on the school to fire her (and a counter-petition supporting her) because she is an anthropology prof who has written a book questioning some of Israel's claims and criticizing its practices regarding ancient Jewish settlements in Israel (and its disregard for some ancient non-Jewish sites).

The proper response?

Judith R. Shapiro, Barnard’s president, who is also an anthropologist, said in a statement that the tenure process was “one of the linchpins of academic freedom and liberal arts education,” and that despite the passions, it must be conducted “thoughtfully, comprehensively, systematically and confidentially.” She added, “This case will be no different, both in its rigor and its freedom from outside lobbying.”

That said, I disagree with emptywheel here that administrators are the seat of public intellectualism (unless by "seat" you mean "butt"). Administrators are there primarily to keep things running, and more and more lately that has become unabashedly about fund-raising. The privilege of public intellectualism in academia rests with tenured faculty. An administrator's job is $, a faculty member's job is to learn new things and communicate them to the public.

Drake is full of shit. The op-ed he now claims as a basis for firing was published on August 16, which means it was submitted by Chemerinsky no later than the 15th, if not earlier than that. Drake met with Erwin and executed the contract on August 16. So, he is firing Erwin for an act done prior to his actual hiring? EW is right this thing stinks more every day. I will say this, I don't think it was Parsky. Also, it it hard to find an angle from which Drake has any honor whatsoever.


Once again, I think you're misunderstanding what I said.

I'm saying most tenured academics 1) can't speak coherently to non-academics and 2) work on topics so narrow--and translate to larger issues so poorly--that try as they want to, they don't function as public intellectuals. If they want to be a public intellectual, they should try, by all means. This is not an exclusive thing.

But Deans (as opposed to Provosts, say) do play that role. If they--and their university--are worth their salt. Perhaps I was spoiled by folks like Lee Bollinger (who has turned to the dark side, at least on labor). But it is not only doable, but ought to be done, IMO.

You have to understand this in the context of UCI's history. For the past ten plus years the med school has been embroiled in one scandal after another. The Chemerinsky appt was a way to bestow instant status on the new school. Now Irvine is once again a laughing stock and the big donors - like Bren - I suspect, don't like that one bit. Look for Drake to decide to spend more time with his family.

Usually this would call for a reaction of hiring someone EVEN MORE Liberal or more vocal to make up for the sleight. But, in this case, wasn't Chemerinsky already to the Left Wing and quite vocal? Who can they hire now that would trust them and would salve the wound they've created?

They're in a pickle.


I noticed that too. The timing is all wrong for that to have been the cause. I'd think that the editorial had been in the queue for a couple of days at least, since the printing alone would have started the evening before to hit the stands before the morning commute.

Arggh. Am I the only one who imagines how this would have played out if the ideological shoe were on the other foot -- if a conservative, say Kenneth Starr, had been told they couldn't be dean of a law school because of their POLITICS? The right wing noise machine would be screeching like a million stuck pigs.

MarkH - Chemerinsky is liberal but far from a radical. To be honest, I am not sure what a "radical" liberal is these days; but i assure you from what I have seen, heard, read and known of Erwin over the last couple of decades, he is no radical. He also has a LOT of friends; they are in between Iraq and a hard place at UCI right about now.

Well, now that Chemerinsky is out, maybe they could offer it to Alberto Gonzales? He never saw a death penalty he didn't like, and he has lots of time on his hands now. They may as well, no academic of any standing would take the job now.

emptywheel, not sure I've had enough to drink yet to get into this in detail, but we may understand each other and just disagree. It sounds like, in your ideal world, faculty would be specialists and research the details while deans and presidents would be the generalists and synthesizers who pull it all together and make it relevant for the public. (But I get that this isn't meant as a hard and fast rule, just the most likely general trend.)

I can appreciate the appeal of that hierarchy. But, in my ideal world, the faculty would all speak for themselves (as the ones on your list do, not to mention the giants like Noam Chomsky or Stephen Jay Gould), especially now that it's so easy to directly engage the public through the democraticization of media. I like the populist idealism of getting news right from the source, and of having a faculty directly engaged with the public interest.

As I think we both appreciate, neither of our ideals is very close to reality... with few exceptions, schools are being run more like businesses, and administrators are becoming less like intellectual synthesizers and more like upper management. Meanwhile, as you note, very few faculty go to the trouble to engage the public, and of the few who do it, many seem (at least to me) to be self-aggrandizers looking to stir up controversy rather than those interested in genuinely teaching and learning through public debate.

So when I said "I disagree... that adminstrators are the seat of public intellectualism," I really should have said I diagree that they should be... because I think we more or less agree on how the world is, and just differ on what we'd like it to be.

(All that being said, it seems to me that I can think of a lot more public intellectuals who came from the faculty rank and file than from administrations, at least off the top of my head: both in the categories of social philosophers like John Dewey and Arthur Schlesinger, and popularizers of their specialized fields like Oliver Sacks and Steven Pinker...)

I continue to see the extrusion push as abetted from on high where whales like Rove et cie. beach; Chemerinsky signed on to respondent's brief in Rumsfeld v FAIR, a fracas which began in 2004 and which in one way of considering it represented an antiEducation culmination of RonReagan's UC strategy. It is a storeyed history beyond that point, and the southland has had a difficult go of aggregating a firstrate campus there. The reader who mentioned the medicalSchool blotch probably is right, if the calculus is an even balancing of +/- performance ratings on the dean's various endeavors. I have worked in an allied field for some years, and would be inclined to discount that scandal at UCI itself as a fairly isolated incident in a field in which other academic institutions also on closer scrutiny might be candidates for more rigorous JHACO oversight in the very confined subspecialty in which that occurred.

Although FAIR was an obscure and amorphously designed case, it represented a perennial clash of titans, which is why I think it drew national leadership attention from folks who were dismayed about the presidential decision to end conscriptive composition of the military. For the rest, I trust the perspicacity of the resident writers hereabouts, who seem to have detected an interesting tale still unfolding.

Sometimes deans have to address difficult societal issues; I thought unusual some of the news a few years ago about major institutions' deans public remarks about why a new major in intelligent design was appropriate, though that has passed and become like one more tangent of divinity school methodology very quickly. There is ideologue interest in the mystery of why law schools seem to provide more liberal graduates than conservative grads, though the explanation for that is very simple and need not be elaborated here. There was a charming debut of a uclaBlog of lawProfs last year, or so; and after a few months online it published an informal survey of profs whose classes included conservative students as 'auditors', as there began to be a 'list of names' of profs heard to utter unconservative statements in class. No report, though, whether the 'auditors' actually had developed a way to scrutinize the actual thoughts of such risky profs. Maybe there is some branch of biometrics which will provide an iridological way to assess thoughts.


My impression is that law school deans (as a class) are a little different than other academic administrators. In my limited experience, law schools like to get respected scholars (especially con law scholars) as deans.

Don Bren must be proud that the Donald Bren School of Law now ranks with Regent University as one of the nation's law schools with a specific reputation.

But my money is on him being behind this whole thing.

Ockham, that sounds reasonable. Just something in the culture, or why would it have become that way?



I think BOTH scholars and Deans should be public intellectuals. I just think it more likely that a non-academic will call someone like a law school Dean or a college President to ask their opinion about generalist issues. And I think that it is a near-crime that scholars can't explain how their scholarship benefits society.

My point is that the academy needs to have better ambassadors. Many of its professors are piss poor at the task. And for better or worse, the guy doing the fundraisers almost by definition happens to be able to speak common English.

But for a law school to decide it doesn't want its Dean adopting that role basically says it doesn't believe it is appropriate for the school to weigh in on public issues.

Drake, of course, should soon face his own unhiring.

No one appoints the first dean for a new state university law school without first having taken at least a straw poll of the top actors involved: the governor or his top aides, regents, other university administrators, already named law school faculty, and, of course, top fund raisers who are to put up the schools' endowment. Not doing so would have been negligence per se. Among other things, the first thing the newly named dean would have been responsible for would be to take over schmoozing with those very people.

Drake either didn't do his job or someone made him go back on his word very late in the game on an issue that could unhinge setting up the school. If the latter, what else about the school's operation will they seek to dominate? This is, after all, a publicly funded state university in California, not some Catholic law school set up by a pizza billionaire. The California public has a right to know what's going on.

Hey now,

Watch that pizza billionaire stuff. Now that the Pfizer conservatives have left Ann Arbor, Monahan is our sole source of real wingnuts.

Earl of H - Generally true; but here a little different. This was a brand new school. There were no faculty yet, that was to be Erwin's job and he had already talked to some outstanding people. One man, Donald Bren, was literally funding the entire startup administration, staff, facilities and first 12 faculty positions. It is to be named, of course, the Donald Bren School of Law.

I dislike Monahan's politics, not his pizza (Jet's is better), though the Christmas lights are engaging if they don't lead to multi-car pile ups on the interstate.

As for Mr. Bren, he would seem the most likely one to have disagreed with the Chemerinsky appointment. But that doesn't add up; Drake would have talked with him about any short list of candidates. Chemerinsky's politics and academic writings were well known, so Bren should have been able to voice disapproval early on.

If not Bren, then who? If not Bren, Bren should be pretty angry that Drake has messed up the launch of his school so publicly and maladroitly.


My mother, who works for the Catholic Church, refuses to go to the christmas fest. He's that wingnutty.

Earl - That is exactly where I am stuck at. I have done a little inquiry, but found nothing yet that moves the pile.

I wonder what the outcome was after the 2006 stir raised by a petition by 110 lawschoolDeans to Dept of Educ to ban ABA from the right to designate which posts are tenured in accredited lawschools, including the post of dean of lawSchool. Then there is that article describing ABA's internal process deciding whether to begin supporting accreditation approval for lawschools devoid of any tenured positions.

Remember the reaction to Cully Stimson?



Responding to the remarks of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles "Cully" Stimson, which were reported in the news media on January 13, 2007, the following statement was released Monday, January 15, 2007, by more than 130 deans of U.S. law schools, including Dean Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School and Dean Emily A. Spieler of Northeastern University School of Law. The statement reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned law deans, are appalled by the January 11, 2007 statement of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles "Cully" Stimson, criticizing law firms for their pro bono representation of suspected terrorist detainees and encouraging corporate executives to force these law firms to choose between their pro bono and paying clients.

I'm very proud to say that the dean of my law school was one of the original signing group (thanks again, Margie!) Perhaps all those law schools should fire their Deans also for speaking publicly about their views?

Try again, Drake...

EW: Monahan is our only source of real wingnuts

Not so fast! Don't you guys still have DeVoss? And, well, four members of your state supreme court? And isn't Blackwater run out of Grand Rapids too? My mom likes to refer to the "Dutch Mafia" in her little Michigan town.

I think you still have more than your fair share!


"a faculty member's job is to learn new things and communicate them to the public."

I think you are forgetting something: teaching students. I thought that the teaching of students was a faculty member's job, In fact my emptypockets thought that my DD's education at college was a faculty members top priority. It pains me that "the public" is learniing new things on my dime and at the expense of my daughter's education.

As far as Irvine is concerned, I say they scrap the law school, fire Drake and push out Yoo.

Scott Horton adds to the story on Michael Drake's decision to renege on the hiring of Irwin Chemerinsky. But he hasn't found out who "did it". He denounces Drake's hypocrisy - Drake rose to prominence as a chanceller of UC Irvine largely because of his outspoken wingnutty political views - the kind of public notoriety that supposedly formed the basis for Drake's "management decision" to fire Chemerinsky (except that Chemerinsky is liberal). But he cites only one Orange County wingnut politician, identified in an AP story as Michael Antonovich. Not enough reach or muscle there for the job.

Given Bren's stature and wealth, and how far along this process was when Drake reversed himself, the odds seem good that it took someone like a Hunt or Richard Mellon Scaife or a coalition of wealthy wingnuts, who were collectively richer and more poewrful than Bren, to get Drake to reverse his decision. So ears to the ground. Let's find out who done it.

The wingnuts have made a fetish of the supposedly leftwing dominance of academia, so the candidates could be found nationwide. They should include Ed Gillespie and the RNC, since becoming law school dean would give Chemerinsky a national platform for his rule of law, anti-death penalty, and anti-war views in a key state during the '08, '10 and '12 elections.

eyesonthestreet -- I hate to be the one to break it to you, but at the big research universities teaching is not high on the list for requirements for tenure-track professors, it's all about bringing in funding and "publish or perish". This can even be true at smaller schools. Many years ago a friend of mine taught at one of the Seven Sisters, probably as an adjunct professor, but I don't honestly remember. He was wapping up his Ph.D. at the time, and he loved teaching. He did not however, much care for research. He consistently won teaching awards, which was especially remarkable since he was a math professor. IIRC he was the first member of the faculty of math and natural sciences in pretty much forever to have won a teaching award from the students. Did he get an offer for a tenure-track position? Not on your life. He didn't want to do research. He left academia for the corporate world.

emptywheel, if a Dean can serve well as a public intellectual then obviously that's great. But "talking to the public" as a fundraiser and as an educator are totally different tasks. To get money, you want to reassure people that you're proving the world works basically the way they think it does. To educate them, you need to show them that frequently it does not.

Most faculty can speak "common English". They just don't bother to, which is a kind of dereliction of duty and a shame.

eyesonthestreet, teaching students is part of teaching the public -- because by "the public," I mean anyone not a fellow professional academic, which most students won't be. In fact, teaching students is one of the best ways to talk to the public -- I'd bet that most people's base of knowledge about English lit, anthropology, physics, what-have-you come from a combination of undergrad memories and the Discovery channel. (History and law may be exceptions.)

As to the students who WILL become academics... It's true that training the next generation of academics is part of the job, but it can't be the major part or we'd never make any progress. We'd just keep handing off what we know now to those who come after us, and be little more than intellectual photocopiers.

-pockets- I watch the NewHour when I have a chance and I find it very informative when a faculty member from institutions are part of the panel. What worried me about your comment -pockets, earlier is that it excluded teaching students. I assume that would happen in a classroom. Your comment earlier seemed to imply that teaching the public occurred in the media, such as the NewHour, for example.

If Phred's comment above is correct, the faculty who have hopes for tenure are not teaching students or the public. They are writing papers to hold onto their jobs. I assume the papers are written for the benefit of other academics and to impress funders.

meant "NewsHour," with an "s"

eyesonthestreet -- That sums it up pretty well, you don't get funding without publishing and you don't get tenure without bringing in funding (at least in the sciences). Don't get me wrong, some professors who succeed in this system are excellent teachers. But teaching ability is not the primary criterion, so as a result some truly outstanding researchers who leave something to be desired in the classroom will get tenure. The reverse simply doesn't happen.

I concur with emptypockets though that intellectual progress occurs through research and that public outreach is important for getting the results of our research into the public sphere. I just wish we had a better system within which everyone could do what they do best, but that's not what we have.

eyesonthestreet, yeah I admit to a little swerve there. In my comments above I was thinking mostly about communicating to the public at large, but after what you said I realized I consider teaching students to be part of that same activity. No surprise that often the best in the classroom are the best on TV as well. (Add Feynman to the list of public intellectual faculty.)

Here is a writer who has glimpsed at the machinations behind this newsstory fairly dispassionately, seeming to have some views aligned with the more mercurial insights of bmz and ew, yesterday. The Gingrichian revolution had a privitization initiative focused on education, by which, in the DeLay Gingrich plan, like Department of Energy, was supposed to atrophy in true Marxian dualist fashion, leaving only halcyon pseudoapartheid as the social fabric, with sponsors, like logo posters on bridges and stadia, one supposes. It will be an interesting research project, if I have a moment, as I think folks like Bill Bennett et al likely would be cheered to see some progress in their failed agenda, at least as a report in media on the misstep at UCI. I continue to see this time as an early pre-primary restructuring of the Republican party and its donors, given the approaching tide change after the administration has termed out next year, effectively beginning with the wildcat MI and FL primaries in the next five months.

A few more thoughts on the expectations (and limits) of academic administrators when it comes to serving as public intellectuals, from a column in Chronicle of Higher Education shortly after Larry Summers's ill-thought speech.

What the anecdote (apocryphal or not) tells us is that the president of Harvard is in the E.F. Hutton position: When he speaks, everyone listens, and everyone listens to him as the president of Harvard, and not as good-old plain-speaking Larry Summers.

That basic fact seems to have escaped Richard Freeman, a Harvard professor and one of the organizers of the fatal conference, who said in comments to a newspaper, "We didn't invite Larry as a Harvard president. ... [...] If we had invited him as Harvard president, he would have given us the same type of babble that university presidents give [...]"

There are so many things wrong with those statements that it's hard to know where to begin. [... T]he president of Harvard always carries his office with him. His pronouncements (wise and foolish) are always uttered ex cathedra and can never be detached from the responsibilities of his office. [...] Larry Summers is no more free to pop off at the mouth about a vexed academic question than George Bush is free to wander around the country dropping off-the-cuff remarks about Social Security or Islam.

[...]Brian McGrory, a Boston Globe columnist, achieves a new high in fatuousness, even in this rather dreary context, when he observes portentously, "I've always assumed that the strength of the academy is its ability to encourage difficult questions" (January 21).

Well, that may be the strength of the academy, but it is not the strength sought by search committees when they interview candidates for senior administrative positions. No search committee asks, "Can we count on you to rile things up? Can we look forward to days of hostile press coverage? Can you give us a list of the constituencies you intend to offend?"

Search committees do ask, "What is your experience with budgets?" and "What are your views on the place of intercollegiate athletics?" and "What will be your strategy for recruiting a world-class faculty?" and "How will you create a climate attractive to donors?"

Chemerinsky would likely have been an exception to the trend that administrators are more bound to pragmatism and inoffensiveness than to candor (in any case, he almost certainly wouldn't have been a Larry Summers... if you can even grace what Larry Summers said as "candor"). As emptywheel says, high-level administrators have a special pulpit from which to serve the role of public intellectual that other faculty don't have or don't use -- on the other hand, I would rarely expect to see a really revolutionary idea being voiced publicly by a top administrator.

The LA Times edition in the supermarket this morning - think it's Saturday's - indicates that, after all the hooraw dies down a bit, Chemerinsky might be asked to sign on again, although whether he'll accept is still up in the air.

eoh, Antonovich is an LA county politician. (As I said the other day, I've been voting against him for years.)

emptywheel, I found one sentence particularly humorous in your article:

"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"

I can only laugh at the thought of a "world class" law school in Orange County, home of maudlin magnified. Perhaps they could specialize in CopyRight Law and protecting Disney's rights to own all of what used to be fairy tales and Mickey Mouse's ears.

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