RECORD EDITORIAL: Secrecy hurts the Law Review

BY

Last week, The Record editorial criticized the Law Review for its failure to take affirmative steps to correct its gender disparity problem. The Law Review’s inaction and the administration’s reluctance to honestly confront the issue and adopt appropriate measures undoubtedly means this problem will be with the Law School for years to come. Gender disparity on the Law Review is a Law School problem, yet those who hold the reigns of power at Gannett House insist on keeping the data they have gathered over the years confidential. As President Daniel Kirschner told The Record when asked about this data, “The information we have looked at is really for the organization to consider.”

True to its word, there has been no move by Law Review to release any data that could shed light on the problem or at least spark more insightful debate on what steps should be taken. It is fortunate for the Law School, but unfortunate for the Law Review’s image, that it took fourteen former editors of the Law Review to bring some of those numbers to light. In a guest column submitted this week, the editors reveal: “Women are consistently underrepresented on the Law Review, as compared with the proportion of women at HLS as a whole. On average over the last eleven years (including 2003), 42.7% of each HLS class is female, compared with 33.4% of each Law Review class.”

These numbers are an important part of the discussion that is going around Gannett House, and Law Review has offered no reason as to why these numbers must be kept confidential. Debate is essential at this time because of the myriad opinions that are currently floating around. Complete silence allows others to define and dismiss positions that may be relevant and closer to the truth. Hiding numbers only contributes to an image of seclusion and apathy.

The Law Review should disclose the confidential data it has been collecting over the years and enter the forum of public debate. But while data can be an important part of this dialogue, the Law Review must also speak openly and candidly. The Law Review should challenge the positions that have been put forth and explain why certain solutions are not appropriate or would hurt the organization and the people in it. Editors should throw off the veil of anonymity and discuss why these numbers should be kept confidential or why affirmative action is the right solution. Otherwise, if stillness permeates Gannett House, the Law Review risks turning what could have been productive debate between divergent views into one group retreating into its white fortress while the other casts scornful glares at that citadel of silence.

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