Letters to the Editor

BY KYLE (04)

The buck should stop with Ogletree

I just read Professor Ogletree’s official apology for his placement, without attribution, of six paragraphs of another law professor’s work in his most recent book. I’m sure the apology is sincere and that the misappropriation was inadvertent. Still, Ogletree’s explanation irritates the hell out of me. He places part of the blame on a couple of his research assistants. (I believe Professor Dershowitz used the same gambit during his own attribution flap.) What bothers me is that professors at Harvard Law School place so much reliance on research assistants. HLS professors have a light teaching load, and many of them are, to be blunt, lousy teachers. They have been given prestigious, well-paid positions solely because of the ostensible quality of their scholarship. Why, then, can they not simply write their books all by themselves? I wasn’t allowed a research assistant when writing my exams and my 3L paper. I can only imagine the reaction had I inadvertently placed six paragraphs of Professor Tribe’s American Constitutional Law smack in the middle of my 3L paper for Professor Fried and then blamed the mistake on my assistant’s sloppiness under deadline pressure. Another problem is that Professor Ogletree claims that when he reviewed the galley proofs of his book he didn’t recognize that the six paragraphs in question were not his own writing. I can only imagine how Professor Rakoff would have reacted if I had plopped six paragraphs of Dean Kagan’s “Presidential Administration” in the middle of my Administrative Law exam, then claimed that my assistant had put them there and that I didn’t realize they weren’t my own writing. By the way, if there are any mistakes in this letter to the editor I would like to point out that they are the sole fault of my assistant.

Kyle Hudson (04)

School physical makeover tries to make up for internal failures

The law school may look much prettier, but something ugly is going on in the inside.

Over the summer, the law school got a makeover. But not just an external one. In addition to the renovation of the Hark, the Office of Student Life Counseling (OSLC) was eliminated and key members of the administration left the law school including Ennis Matera. I am upset and saddened by the exit of Mrs. Matera and the Office of Student Life Counseling. Their services were invaluable to students. I am angry and frustrated because the decision to eliminate OSLC was done over the summer, with no discussion whatsoever with the student body. I only found out because Dr. Tracey Spencer Newburgh informed me in one of her frequent emails to check up on me and see how I am doing, that she would not be returning to HLS in the fall.

It is a shame that it’s going to take a terrible incident to happen at the law school before the administration realizes how important it is to have Student Life Counselors and valuable administration members like Ennis Matera at the law school. This is an extremely stressful and many times depressing place. Many students feel out of place, alone, depressed, and unhappy here. Having a few friendly faces in the administration can make or break a studentís HLS experience.

In a recent article in the Harvard University Gazette, Dean Kagan said that she is eager to correct the impression that despite its shining reputation and brilliant faculty, Harvard Law School has not historically been student-friendly. The internal makeover that HLS received over the summer did not make the school more student-friendly. In fact, it did the opposite. Now, students who seek life counseling will have to travel to the Holyoke center and speak with counselors who are not as qualified to counsel students on issues specific to the law school experience. Mark Byers and his staff at OSLC were there for law students and were experienced with the specific trials and tribulations that students at HLS go through. I am not looking forward to speaking to a counselor who right before me counseled a 17 year old freshman on her feelings of homesickness.

I was already dreading returning to the law school after a wonderful summer experience away from Cambridge. But I comforted myself with the thought of knowing that people like Dr. Newburgh and Ennis would be there for support and encouragement. With their absence, my last year at HLS will be a much more challenging and stressful year.

Kelly Shapiro, 3L

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