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Northwestern ‘I am racist’ law school seeks to force faculty to hire social justice warrior as dean

ANALYSIS: Northwestern University law school continues to prioritize a leftwing narrative over teaching students about the rule of law

Northwestern University law school faculty made national headlines nearly a year ago for calling themselves racists as they introduced themselves in an online townhall.

Now it looks like its leaders appear to be forcing the hire of a new law school dean who is an open anti-racism social justice warrior, according to her Twitter feed.

Hari Osofsky, dean of Penn State Law — whose favorite past time, at least according to her Twitter feed, appears to be hosting diversity, equity and inclusion workshops — is on tap to become the next dean of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

But not through an open, honest hiring process — but rather largely by secret committee, according to information obtained by Instapundit’s editor law Professor Glenn Reynolds.

Reynolds posted the details from the Chicago-based private law school, considered among the top-tier law schools in the nation:

On Friday, May 7, the interim Dean Jim “I am a racist” Speta sent an email (below). For the first time ever, the faculty learned the identity of the new Dean, Hari Osofsky of Penn State, the school far below Northwestern in rankings. The Dean needs tenure, so, the faculty is instructed to vote tenure to Osofsky the next working day, Monday.

This is an astonishing violation of faculty appointments rules long in effect at Northwestern. Osofsky never met with the faculty. There was no job talk, a strict requirement for all tenured appointments. There was no job talk paper. There were no office interviews. There was no committee of experts from the candidate’s field to study her work in detail and report, also a long-standing requirement that has never been violated in recent history. There were no outside recommendation letters, also mandatory. No reports of citations and other quantitative impact measures, another standard practice. There was no committee report issued in advance of the meeting, also mandatory.

This Saturday Night Special scheme — the surprise meeting, with a surprise candidate, announced on Friday, to be held on Monday morning — is clearly meant to thwart the faculty’s ability to gather information and coordinate. There is no legitimate purpose for this. The secret-ballot voting rule, passed unanimously in the face of the Dean search process, does not become operational until September 1. The faculty has been threatened with severe repercussions if they vote against Osofsky.

We have no choice but to make these egregious violations of ABA rules, law school’s own procedural rules, and basic decency and fairness known to the world. Anonymously.

The reference to “interim Dean Jim ‘I am a racist’ Speta” dates back to that infamous online meeting during which Northwestern University law school faculty called themselves racists as they introduced themselves.

At the time, Speta, currently the interim dean of Northwestern University’s law school, wrote in the meeting chat: “I’m Jim Speta. And I am a racist.”

For Speta’s part, more recently he stated in his email about the vote for the new dean that the reason for the “unusually expedited” hiring procedure is due to the “nonpublic nature of the search.”

But Reynolds called the whole thing “shady goings on,” noting the hiring process is “thoroughly unusual.”

“Normally a person isn’t hired as Dean until the faculty has met that person, and voted — as a binding or non-binding recommendation to the central administration — on acceptability as Dean. The tenure vote is always up to the faculty, and it is a grave breach to threaten the faculty about it,” he wrote on Instapundit.

“I have no opinion on whether Hari Osofsky would make a good Dean because I know nothing about her, which places me in the same position as the faculty expected to vote on her tenure — by non-secret ballot — on Monday. Speaking personally, were I a candidate at an institution that was behaving as described above, I would withdraw my name in the face of such tactics, as I would expect them to taint my deanship. Perhaps there is some innocent explanation for this behavior, though I can’t think of one.”

Read the full Instapundit post here.

MORE: Northwestern law faculty refuse to explain why they introduced themselves as racists

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.