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Monday, June 27, 2005

Let Someone Else Be The Messenger


Much to my chagrin this is not an anonymous blog. However since my words will be attributed to me I will say some of what I want to say here. On this piece of the internet my concerns are purely for myself, on other pieces I have to worry about other people and institutions.

One of my favorite professors is in a bit of a controversy. Prof. Bradford is likely leaving the school for reasons known to him. He has taught for 3 years and isn't eligible for tenure yet (a process that begins after year 6 I believe). Prof. Bradford is something of a rarity in education: a libertarian/conservative. He has clashed with some of the more liberal elements, or the most liberal element, of our faculty on numerous occasions. I very much like the man. I've had 3 classes with him despite the fact I didn't receive great grades in most of them. How many students willingly take a class with a professor they know won't help boost their G.P.A. up?

Normally this is behind-the-scenes politicin' that I wouldn't blog about, but it has made the news. Ruth Holladay isn't my favorite writer. I find many of her pieces to be fluffy, one sided, and often not well reasoned. Still she does bring to light issues that need to be in the spotlight at times so I like her for that. The problem I have with her article is that it seems to imply facts that aren't there. It implied that Prof. Bradford sought tenure. I don't believe he actually did seek early tenure. His 3 year teaching contract expires (or already expired?) this year. From what I understand faculty approved a promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor this year. Where there is smoke there is often fire, but Ruth Holladay's article just has more smoke. My science, technical, and now legal background demands more factual information before I make a reasoned judgment. Is there more to the story? Oh hell ya there is, but I'm only privy to parts of this ivory tower, not the higher circles.

When I read the article yesterday during breakfast I thought it was blogworthy for the school, but I didn't want to write that post. In fact several of the contributors received received an email from a admitted 0L asking us to post the article to see what reaction from the student body and faculty would be. I wouldn't do it. Thanks to being in three of Prof. Bradford's classes and being an officer in the law society he is the sponsor for I know I couldn't be seen as objective. I could have written a fantastic analytical post, but it would be for naught. In our highly politicized world sometimes a great message needs a different messenger. At least others have taken the baton. About time you other people started writing as the school blog was looking like the Brian Talk Show! This conflict has sparked discussion in other parts of the blogosphere.

Just what our school needs, yet another controversy. One Christmas Tree fiasco, faculty hating each other, rampant anonymous comments on the school blog calling professors the Anti-Christ, professors performing non-professional acts that invite such vehement criticism, list-serv wars where everyone with an opinion proceeds to let the entire student body know what it is, and a general disappointment with people I consider intelligent yet childish. This does nothing to enhance our reputation at all.

Depending on your point of view I got to put in my 2 cents worth as well. A camera crew arrived from the CBS affiliate. I don't know who else they interviewed, but they found me in the atrium after lunch and asked for my opinion. I was trying to sneak away, but I was too busy commenting on someone else's blog to make my escape. At least I was in a presentable shirt. I honestly tried to tell the truth as I knew it. I honestly gave opinions that I hoped were well-reasoned. I really tried to make it look make all the individuals involved look professional instead of a tabloidish left liberal vs right conservative slugfest. Ack! I went into Public Relations Spin-Mode! "Lawyers: We're Here To Cover YOUR Ass!"

In the end I'm going to miss Prof. Bradford. He really cared about his students and gave you every opportunity to learn. That is more than several professors I know. Love him or hate him, you couldn't ignore him.

EDIT: I know they interviewed at least 2 other people and probably more. When the report aired only 3 people were used: the professor involved, a university (not law school) public relations person, and me. Why did they have to use me? At least it was only one comment out of the 5 minutes I gave them stating that he was a very good professor.

EDIT PART DEUX: Always fun when friends see you on TV and decide to call you. Rather sad to say that I don't really know everything that is going on so I can't explain it much better. On second thought admitting you don't know the whole story is much better than many people I know.

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