Friday, September 23, 2005

No Mindless Legalisms Here!

It has often been said that private associations such as law schools are not required to apply rules of evidence or rules of procedure that apply in proceedings such as trials. It has also been said that it does not make sense for private associations to apply trial rules and trial formalities; doing so, it has been suggested, would constitute just another instance of mindless legalism. As the following announcements show, one law school has taken these two precepts very much to heart:


E-Mailed University Announcement, September 16, 2005

University President XXXXXX announced on September 14, 2005 that Dean YYYYYYY has been reappointed as dean.


E-Mail Message from Law School Administrator
to Law School Faculty, September 23, 2005

I quote two provisions from our rules:

In the fall of the fifth year of a Dean's original appointment, the faculty shall consider whether to recommend to the President that the Dean be reappointed. Reappointment shall be recommended if a majority of all faculty member eligible to vote on original appointments to the faculty vote to recommend reappointment. The Dean shall be recused for the purpose of this vote...

A meeting to consider reappointment shall be scheduled for 4:00 PM on the second academic Tuesday in October of each year in which the faculty is required to consider the Dean's reappointment. The chairperson of the faculty appointments committee shall chair the meeting and shall inform the President of the faculty's recommendations.

This is indeed the fall of the fifth year of YYYY's appointment as Dean. We have a faculty meeting already noticed for Tuesday, October 11, and this matter will be put on the agenda for that meeting.


There are various possible explanations for the above sequence but, whatever they are, it is probably safe to assume that the vote of the law faculty on October 11 on the reappointment of Dean YYYYY will be a formality. In any event, why should the trial precede the judgment? What a silly idea.