Apparently Robert Illig has set off quite a kefuffle at the University of Oregon law school:
Several members of the law school email lists (which included staff, secretaries etc.) have forwarded these two emails from professor Rob Illig (Law) about a plan apparently floated by Law Dean Michael Moffitt (paid $292,800 after a recent raise) to deal with the law school’s enrollment problems and US News ranking, which has fallen from #80 to #100 since Moffitt took over in 2011.
The plan? Cancel raises for the faculty, and use the money to
increase student scholarshipscreate a program to give non-profits money to hire law school graduates, boosting the employment numbers that go into the US News rank.
In addition to having sent some rather angry emails to his colleagues at the law school, Illig is waging battle in the comments section of the blog post that published his emails to the world. (HT: Caron)
I am reminded here of a controversy that broke out at the University of Virginia law school when I was a student. When one of the leading professors at the school was accused of racism, he responded with a letter to the student newspaper. Suffice it to say, the letter did not help.
The next day my Labor Law professor, the great Stanley Henderson, started class by referring indirectly to the fuss and gave us some very good advice:
"Say it with roses, say it with mink, but never ever say it in ink."
It's a lesson that has served me well, especially because those occasions on which I deviated from it have rarely turned out well.
Especially in these days when the scam law meme remains prevalent, law professors who complain publicly about salaries, teaching loads, or what have you--no matter how justified (and Illig's outrage seems perfectly well justified)--simply can't win.
Update: Predictably, Above the Law weighed in by mocking Illig's emails (calling them "simply wondrous), concluding that:
We understand where Professor Illig is coming from, but he sounds like an entitled baby.
One can only shudder when imagining what the comment section to that post is going to look like.