• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

UO Law Prof Rant Goes Viral: Calls plan to give faculty raises as scholarships 'poison'

UO law prof Rob Illig got a little hot under the collar the other day and his series of emails went viral. As The Oregonian puts it, it's not "cute-puppy viral" either. UO econ prof Bill Harbaugh called attention to rants (and lists the sites that have picked up the story) the on his UO Matters blog

According to the Oregon Law Blawg, in its response to the brouhaha, the issue was a proposal that a group of law faculty came up with — " to divert the law school’s portion of the faculty merit pay funds to a post-graduate fellowship program for new law grads, in lieu of accepting a pay increase."  

In other words, because it is hard for law students to get a job after they graduate, the faculty wanted to help them out. According the website Above the Law, which calls itself "a behind the scenes look at the world of law," only 57 percent of 2013 law school graduates are  "employed in full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage."

Illig's posts about the proposal made at a meeting that he did not attend contain gems like "Is this some kind of faculty version of white-man's guilt?" 

He writes, "As I learn more of the details of Friday’s proposal, I am even more perplexed by its logic and frightened by its poison," and continues:

"Voting on this important a decision without notice and without serious consideration was a gross breach not only of procedure but of TRUST.

What did the agenda say? “Discussion of Graduate Fellowships.” Pardon my French, but this is absolute bullshit. Colleagues do not ambush one another like this.

How can I trust the administration or any of my faculty colleagues? No wonder we’ve become a third-tier law school. Who’s going to want to come here to study or teach in this kind of poisonous atmosphere?"

You can read them all here.

The Above the Law blog writes Illig's emails "are simply wondrous," and says Illig sounds like "an entitled baby." 

Above the Law also says that Illig has point, if phrased poorly:

"While we agree that it may be unfair for the school to cancel professors’ raises, this is the kind of educational crisis that requires everyone involved to give a little bit more, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of a faculty buyout offer or, worse yet, a layoff.  It’s not like this hasn’t happened at many law schools already. Unfortunately, like the honey badger, Professor Illig doesn’t seem to give a s**t."

In the end, the faculty plan, Illig's viral rant notwithstanding, got shot down, according to the post by Jen Reynolds on the Oregon Law Blawg:

"Last Friday, this group brought this idea as a resolution (included below) to the regularly scheduled faculty meeting. A wide majority of those present voted to approve the resolution—in addition, a majority of the full faculty support the resolution.

We brought the matter to the Provost and although he is supportive of our goals he cannot bend the University rules to make this creative idea happen. However, we remain committed to finding ways to fund post-graduate opportunities and address other employment issues facing our graduates."