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BC Law Faculty 'Uninvite' Mukasey

I've posted here about the decision by Boston College Law School Dean John Garvey to invite U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to be commencement speaker and some of the subsequent controversy. Now Eagleionline, the BC Law student blog, reports that 22 faculty members have broken ranks with Garvey over the invitation -- which he made without consulting faculty or students. The faculty yesterday sent a letter to Mukasey asking him to reconsider his decision to accept Garvey's invitation.

We realize that you face complex professional difficulties in your position as Attorney General. We are very concerned, however, that your role in the current controversy regarding the legality of waterboarding has made you a symbol of Administration policies that conflict with basic principles of international and domestic law, the ideals of Boston College Law School, and the Jesuit principles that underlie Boston College’s educational mission.

The signatories are highly regarded members of the school's faculty (I say that as an alumnus who knows several of them personally) and include the school's former dean, Daniel R. Coquillette.

Earlier, Eagleionline uncovered other details of the controversy that provided an almost comical look at the behind-the-scenes politics within the law school's administration. It all turned on a press release issued Jan. 24 by Dean Garvey confirming Mukasey's acceptance of the invitation. "I cannot imagine a better role model for the Class of 2008," Garvey says in the release. But as controversy grew on campus over the invitation, a new version of the press release appeared on the school's Web site March 5, with the "role model" quote deleted and all references to the original version of the release also removed. Then, less than a week later, on March 11, the press release was again revised, with the role model quote restored. The blog offers these details on Garvey's on-again, off-again endorsement:

Asked to comment on the original removal of the praise, law school spokesman Nate Kenyon stated in an email that 'removing part of Dean Garvey’s quote was a decision I made as director of marketing and communications.'

'In doing so, I was trying to be sensitive to those members of the community who were upset by the idea of the Attorney General as a role model,' he continued.

'I felt it was important for us to respect all viewpoints and opinions,' Kenyon concluded.

The original version was restored only after Eagleionline asked about the change. All three versions of the press release (with screen caps showing how they appeared online) are reprinted at Eagleionline.

If there is a letter for alumni along the lines of that signed by the faculty, add my name.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on March 11, 2008 at 07:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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