[Vision2020] Legislators protest UI law school's diversity workshop

Donovan Arnold donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 8 19:04:00 PST 2012

The paper doesn't give a reason for their excuse not to attend. Is their argument that they already know everything about diversity, or do they just not think understanding diversity relevant to lawmaking and representing businesses and individuals? 
Donovan Arnold

 From: Art Deco <art.deco.studios at gmail.com>
To: vision2020 at moscow.com 
Sent: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Legislators protest UI law school's diversity workshop

Looks like some Idaho legislators want Idaho's future lawyers to be as ignorant and arrogant as they are.


On Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 9:01 AM, Tom Hansen <thansen at moscow.com> wrote:

Courtesy of today's (February 8, 2012) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
>Legislators protest UI law school's diversity workshop 
>By Holly Bowen, Daily News staff writer  
>The dean of the University of Idaho's College of Law has responded to 20 state legislators who are protesting the law school's decision to make students attend an upcoming professionalism and diversity workshop, telling the lawmakers the training is the college's response to concerns from its accrediting organizations. 
>The Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Lawerence Denney and House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, said they were informed by several law school students that the college is requiring student attendance at the program next week and that students who do not have an excused absence will have a memorandum placed in their student records stating they did not attend. 
>The workshop, titled "Dialogues on Professionalism and Diversity," will be facilitated by Blake Morant, dean of the Wake Forest University School of Law in North Carolina, and will be held at both the UI Moscow and Boise law schools. Regular law school classes will be rescheduled so students have opportunities to attend, according to an email sent to law students in January. 
>In a letter delivered to UI College of Law Dean Don Burnett last Friday, the legislators - none of whom represent Latah County - acknowledged the importance of "the need to work with those of different ethnicities, backgrounds and beliefs." But they added that the memorandum would give the impression that students who did not attend the workshop were in disagreement with the workshop's subject matter or did not value professionalism and diversity. 
>"As a publicly funded institution, using the threat of a memo suggesting clearly that a student is unprofessional, bigoted or both for not attending an extracurricular activity not part of the university's course catalog is simply unacceptable," the letter states. 
>Legislators did not call for the workshop's cancellation but asked Burnett to "discontinue the threat of a letter to be placed in student files for those who do not attend and to simply encourage attendance through positive means rather than by threats which serve to mar the reputation of your future graduates." 
>Burnett penned a two-and-a-half-page response Monday that provided legislators with information about the workshop and the rationale for requiring student attendance.
>A joint accreditation team from the American Bar Association and Association of American Law Schools visited the UI in October for a review that occurs every seven years, he said. The team, including attorneys, academics and law school deans, interacted both formally and informally with law school students, faculty and staff. 
>"During their exit briefings with me and with university administrators, the team referred to these interactions and stated emphatically that the College of Law needed to focus additional attention upon professionalism and diversity," Burnett wrote. 
>He said Morant's workshop was scheduled in response to those concerns and in accordance with the college's diversity plan. He said the 75-minute workshop sessions are intended to be "safe" conversations where participants are encouraged to express candid views. 
>"Participants will be invited to raise questions, including criticisms regarding professionalism or diversity itself," Burnett wrote. "These will not be 'talk at' sessions with a 'politically correct' orthodoxy." 
>Regarding the consequences for students who do not attend the workshop, Burnett said unexcused students "will have a simple 'did not attend' notation entered into their file." Students who have irreconcilable scheduling conflicts, such as family issues or inflexible employment obligations, will be excused. 
>"Indeed, as of this past weekend, five students have sought an excused absence," he said. "Four have been approved; the other is awaiting further information and appears likely to be approved." 
>He said the UI Law Student Handbook states that students may be required to attend mandatory informational meetings and that documentation on noncompliance may be included in student records.
>Burnett said students are entitled to review their records and to insert their own supplemental statements if desired.
>"I have also stated that a notation of non-attendance at a mandatory event does not affect a student's right to graduate, and in my opinion would not, by itself, raise a bar admission issue," he said. 
>Morant, in a message posted to a UI law student mailing list on Tuesday, said the professionalism and diversity workshop is not affiliated with any political agenda and is designed to "inspire constructive exchange on issues related to your future success as professionals in a global and diverse world." 
>He said the workshops will mostly consist of group discussions and that students will be free to leave if they choose.
>Seeya later, Moscow.
>Tom Hansen
>Post Falls, Idaho
>"If not us, who?
>If not now, when?" 
>- Unknown
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Art Deco (Wayne A. Fox)
art.deco.studios at gmail.com

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