Panel

Panel left to right: de Haven, Cantalupo, Rothstein and Dickerson

Today was the third day of the AALS Conference.  The first session I attended was sponsored by the Section on Education Law and co-sponsored by the Sections on Law and Mental Disability and Student Services.  The program was entitled, “Campus Violence: Prevention, Response and Liability.”  The members of the panel were Dean Darby Dickerson, Stetson University College of Law; Laura Rothstein, University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law; Nancy Cantalupo of Georgetown Law; and Helen de Haven, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.   While I was wandering around trying to find the session as it had been moved at the last minute to accommodate the large crowd interested in this topic, I ran into one of our alumna, Felicia Branch, who is now a member of the North Carolina Central University law faculty.  Felicia was a third year student the very first year I started teaching here.  During my tenure at the Law School, she’s the first of our alums to go on to teach in the legal academy.  It was great to see her and though she’s a Facebook friend, we hadn’t seen each other since she graduated.   So back to the panel . . . I finally (after wandering around a while) found where the session had been located.  As it turned out, it was downstairs, way back in

Dean Nance and Professor Felicia Branch

Dean Nance and Professor Felicia Branch

the corner, which is a bit strange for a panel on this topic, don’t you think?

The first speaker was Dean Dickerson and she took the approach that this is a risk management issue which has both law and policy aspects to it.  Her model called for identification of risks, researching the various options, and gathering data on the options and potential risks, evaluating the options, selecting the best one, implementing a plan, and then evaluation.  After each evaluation, the school should cycle through again to look at new issues that need to be addressed.  Before selecting a plan schools should remember that they will have to evaluate whatever plan is adopted and that the evaluation can be built into the plan. She shared a website with us that explains violence prevention using an environmental management model and told us about a recent report on student mental health and the law which can be found at www.jedfoundation.org/.

Dean Dickerson also talked about the characteristics of students who engage in rampage shootings.  She said that typically such acts are a response to an institution, that the school itself is the target and that the attacks are rarely spontaneous.  They are planned over time and they develop out of frustration with the academic experience.  Usually it’s a student who has invested a great amount of time in school and has a history of grievances.  That person tends to be very alienated.  Institutions where this occurs typically do not have much collaboration among the various offices.  For example, one office doesn’t know the student’s been there and hasn’t talked to another office that’s also been trying to help that student.  One of the main things I took away from her session was the need for a coordinated effort, campus wide, so that all the different units work together and exchange information to help address students’ issues before they escalate.

American's with Disabilties Act

American's with Disabilties Act

Prof. Laura Rothstein’s talk was entitled “Disability Law Issues for High Risk Students.”  Clearly the events of Virginia Tech, Appalachian Law School, and Northern Illinois University have raised concerns about campus violence.  One of the major legal issues relevant to developing policy issues appropriate to respond to these concerns is disability discrimination law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Her presentation focused on the importance of developing thoughtful and careful policies that take disability issues and confidentiality into account while ensuring a safe environment.  The unintended consequences of some policies (even though they comply with disability discrimination requirements) should be considered.  In particular, she raised the concern that the requirement that professional licensing authorities have in most states requiring the student and the educational program to report mental health treatment and diagnosis may deter students from getting needed treatment.

Ghana

Ghana

Nancy Cantalupo gave a talk about sexual harassment and sexual assault as violence.  She is the founding director of the Women’s Center at Georgetown, where she built the only office exclusively devoted to advocating for women, students, faculty and staff on issues such as violence against women, sex discrimination and women’s health.  As a law student, she participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic, where she worked with a team of students, faculty and alumnae to conduct a fact-finding mission on domestic violence in Ghana.  In her research she has found that these are often acquaintance situations and that the institutional response is less than favorable.  She reminded us all that sexual assault is a form of violence that is unfortunately too common on campuses.

Helen de Haven from John Marshall was the most powerful and poignant speaker on the panel.  She was a faculty member at Appalachian Law School where shootings occurred, and she has written an article about that experience.  Because of that experience, having lost her colleagues and having to weather the aftermath of those shootings, she developed a serious academic interest in the topic of campus violence.  One of the things she said that’s most memorable is that there are usually warning signs that a student who commits violent acts is a person who’s alienated, disaffected, and very frustrated with the response that they’ve received from the institution.  She also talked at length about the healing process for the institution after such an event occurs, and what some of the ramifications might be that you might not think about.  There is loss at all levels of the institution.  Her talk was a very personal reflection on the ramifications of campus violence.  She also said something that stuck with me, and that is (and I will say that other speakers said the same thing, but I think coming from her was the most memorable) this topic should not be thought of as how to prevent liability, but how to have healthy and whole campuses in which problems are resolved effectively and the safety and dignity of all the members of the campus community are protected.

Lunch With D'lorah

Lunch with Professors Geiger and Hughes

After that panel, it was time for lunch.  I met up with Rick Geiger and D’lorah joined us as well.  We walked along the water until we found a restaurant.  Dean Geiger paid the tab, so I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but my entreè was very delicious.  It was an Hawaiian pulled pork.  It was very spicy, but it also had a pineapple barbeque sauce.  It was served with coconut rice and crispy sauteed vegetables.  It was a really good meal.  Thanks very much to Rick Geiger, Associate Dean for Communications and Enrollment at Cornell Law School, who I met through my involvement with the Law School Admission Council.  When Rick was the Chair of the Board of LSAC, he selected me as the Chair of his Finance and Legal Affairs Committee.  That was a great honor and a lot of fun.  I used to see him a lot more often when we were both involved in LSAC, but as I’ve not been involved in LSAC this year, I’ve not had a chance to see him.  He’s an old and dear friend and it was good to see him, to catch up and to inject Prof. Hughes into the mix.

San Diego

San Diego

After that I had a little gap in my schedule, so I decided to take up my mission to find a salon to get a wash, set and condition (trying to stem the tide of recent hair loss).  I walked back to the hotel with Rick and D’lorah and asked the concierge for suggestions.  As it turned out, one of the salons that I had located online was going to be a $50 cab ride and that seemed pretty unreasonable for what would be at the most a $35 service.  Anyway, I say that to set up what happened next.  The concierge (who was a woman of color and whose hair looked absolutely beautiful) said, “Oh, yes, I know a place near by.  It’s called Mr. Cleo’s.  I’ll call them and see if they can take you.”  She called and they said they had an opening, so I went outside and hailed a cab and went over to Mr. Cleo’s in downtown San Diego.

When I walked in, I thought I had the wrong place.  It looked like an old school barber shop.  There was a really old Snack King vending machine piled on the counter.  The floor was black tile and in the front of the shop were old barber chairs and an old sink.  As I walked in, there were guys getting haircuts and shaves and debating politics and the news and that kind of thing, so I walked over to the counter and asked, “Is this Mr. Cleo’s, as in the concierge called for a wash and set?”  He said, “Oh yeah, you’re in the right place,” and then one of the guys said, “Hey, hey, you know what?  Do you know who you look like?  You look like Michelle Obama.”  Okay, I have to tell you that ever since President Obama’s campaign really took off, it’s very strange because I don’t think I look like her, but everywhere I go I get people saying, “Hey, do you know who you look like?  You look like Michelle Obama.”  Anyway, it’s just been a really weird experience, so I just said, “Oh, thank you.”

A woman with really short curly hair walked up and said, “Oh, are you here for the wash and set?” and I said, “Yes.”  She said, “Come on back.”  In the back, which I guess was the beauty shop part of Mr. Cleo’s, there were just two chairs and a limited number of products on the shelf.  Now for the guys out there, I don’t know if you ever walk into a beauty shop, but there are products everywhere, so I got really tickled because it was like, okay, you can have this shampoo and this conditioner or this shampoo and this conditioner, and by that I mean they were both the same product.

San Diego

San Diego

After I had gotten there and I only had this little bit of a gap in my schedule, I thought, okay, what’s the worst that can happen?  She’s going to wash my hair, condition it and set it on rollers, it just can’t be that bad.  So, she did that.  She washed my hair and conditioned it and set it on rollers and about 20 minutes later she took me out from under the dryer and I said, “Oh no, I’m sure my hair’s not dry,” but she took the rollers out anyway, and in fact my hair was wet.  She had to roll it back up, wet it down again and I had to go back under the dryer.  Anyway, long story short, we got past all that and the stylist was combing out the curls and creating a style, which I can only best describe as helmet head.  She began to spray it very heavily at which point I said, “Oh no, I don’t like hair spray.”  Too late.  I truly had a helmet head.

Anyway, while we’re doing the whole comb out and style, Mr. Cleo came over and said, “Hey, do you like soul music?”  I said, “Sure,” and he says, “Well, I have my CD and maybe you’d like to buy it.  I’ll put it on for you.”  He started playing his CD of what can best be described as R&B with Mr. Cleo’s unique twist.  I have to tell you, it was a very surreal experience.  He came back over and said, “Oh, so do you like romantic music?  I’m going to play this next one just for you,” and I couldn’t decide if I was in a bar getting picked up or in a salon or a barber shop or what.  All in all it was quite an experience.  I did go back to the concierge and suggest that that might not be the best recommendation for future guests.  Then went up to my room to try to brush some of the hair spray out before the next session.

So, back to the conference . . . the next program I attended was one sponsored by the Section on Institutional Advancement.  It was entitled, “The Dean and the Advancement Officer: Working Together to Secure the Law School’s Future.”  The panelists were David Yellen, Dean of Loyola University of Chicago School of Law; Annina Fabbioli, Assistant Dean for Advancement, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law; Steve Willborn, Dean of University of Nebraska College of Law; Angie Hohensee, Director of Development, University of Nebraska College of Law; Stewart Schwab, Dean of Cornell Law School; and Peter Cronin, Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs and Development, Cornell Law School.  The description of the panel was:  “How do the dean and the law school’s chief advancement officer work most effectively together to ensure the successful fulfillment of the school’s mission and the achievement of its advancement goals?  What does the dean need from his or her officer?  What does the officer need from his or her dean?  Join this panel of deans and officers to hear first-hand what works and what everyone is seeking in this vital partnership.”

I think what was most useful about this panel was hearing the back and forth between the dean’s view of institutional needs and how to best meet those, and the development directors’ responses about how best to tackle some of those needs and what they felt their role was in working with their dean.  It was very useful.   As you know, we are in the midst of a search for a development director and it gave me quite a bit of insight into the development officer’s position and how development professionals view their roles.  The other thing that was good about this panel was the opportunity to observe sort of the give and take in a healthy relationship between the law dean and development professional.

After that was over, I attended a meeting sponsored by the AALS Women and Minority Deans’ Databanks Advisory Board and Advisory Council.  That is a group of women deans and deans of color (some of us at the intersection) who meet to try to encourage more women and people of color to think about becoming law school deans and who make ourselves available as mentors, cheerleaders, and information sources for those who might be considering a move to a deanship position.  The focus of the discussion was just how to best do that.  What are some of the best fora for outreach?  What should be programmed?  Should there be small sessions?  An information room where faculty could drop in and have private one-on-one conversation?  We brainstormed around those issues.  One of the best things about being on that advisory committee is the opportunity to build closer relationships with a number of deans from around the country who are committed to access and diversity.  We’re going to be putting some programs together and I will certainly alert you to those here on the blog.

From left to right: Dean Nance, Professors Schneider, Hughes, Sampson

From left to right: Dean Nance, Professors Schneider, Hughes, Sampson

The evening turned out to be really wonderful.  Brian Gallini, one of our newest faculty members, called and wanted to know what was going on.  It seemed like a fun idea for folks from the UofA to get together as a group and go out to dinner.  We had a number of faculty members attending the conference including Randy Thompson, our new director of the library; Brian Gallini and wife fiancé Beth Forrest; Kathy Sampson; Susan Schneider; Steve Sheppard; D’lorah Hughes who I’ve mentioned; Carl Circo; and Scott Dodson.  We decided to meet in the lounge area for a drink and then walk over to dinner.  Our reservation was at Oceanaire Seafood Restaurant and for those of you who have been to an Oceanaire, you know it is a really yummy seafood restaurant.  It has a very extensive cold menu, as well as very delicious warm entreès.

Law Faculty at Dinner

Law Faculty at Dinner

While we were there gathering in the lounge area, Paul Schwartz walked up.  For those of you who go back a ways with the law school, you might remember that Paul Schwartz used to be a member of our faculty.  He is now at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law and it was so good to see him.  I gave him a big hug.  He was one of the faculty members who reached out to me as I was trying to make my decision about whether to accept Pittsburg or Arkansas’ offer.  He e-mailed me constantly and when I came to town he allowed me to stay in his house.  I have very fond memories of him as a great colleague.  It was wonderful to see him and to see the pictures of his family and to catch up with what was going on in his life.  He joined us for a little while and I don’t know what I was thinking, I think I was so tickled to see him that I forgot to take a picture.

Deans Nance and White

Deans Nance and White

The bar area was on a major hallway there in the hotel, so a number of people came wandering by and it was fun to see them too.  I had a chance to snap some photos with them, including Dean John White of UNLV; former Dean Dennis Lynch of Miami; Dean Carolyn Jones of Iowa and since Kathy Sampson and I both graduated from Iowa, we both took a picture with her and Paul Miller, Director of University of Washington Disability Studies Program; and Karen Rothenberg, Dean of The University of Maryland School of Law.   After visiting for a little while, we all headed over to Oceanaire.

Dean Nance, Dean Rothenberg, and Professor Sampson

Dean Nance, Dean Jones, and Professor Sampson

Those who joined us were Carl Circo and his son Son, his wife Bobbi; Brian Gallini and Beth Forrest; Steve Sheppard; Susan Schneider; D’lorah Hughes; and Kathy Sampson.  We had a wonderful dinner.  It was really good to get away, to visit informally, and to catch up with what was going on in everybody’s lives, and learn what their sessions had been like.  I just have to say that I really do believe that breaking bread together bonds a group, and that was certainly true that night.   Everyone’s meal was delicious.    I can’t remember who in our party, but somebody ordered a baked Alaska.    We shared comradery and laughter and relaxation.  Quite a lovely evening, and I really enjoyed my

Deans Nance, Karen Rothenberg, and Paul Miller

Deans Nance, Karen Rothenberg, and Paul Miller

colleagues’ company.  Then it was time to get some rest because unlike the rest of us goof offs, Prof. Schneider had a panel early the next morning.  I said goof offs, but I had a breakfast with the Labor and Employment Law Section on Friday at 7:00 a.m., so it was going to be an early morning for me too!

Dean Nance and

Dean Nance and Dean Lynch

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