Harvard Law Dean announces hiring policy based on ideological diversity

BY CARY LIEBERHALL

The following article appeared in the Harvard Law Record’s April Fool’s Day Edition. In no way are any of the facts, quotes, or statements contained in this article true, nor do they reflect the sentiments of the individuals named within.

Dean Martha Minow has unveiled a new hiring policy for Harvard Law School, designed to ensure a comprehensive range of ideological orientation among the law school’s faculty. The hiring policy aims to ensure that HLS’s ranks will be filled by everyone from right wing war hawks to left wing socialists, America hating jihadists to tree hugging anti-capitalists,

As Dean Minow explained at the March 29 town hall meeting at which the policy was unveiled, “What this faculty needs is a mix. We need to have at least one militant LGBT African-American vegan; at least one war-hawk who consistently champions obscure facts as long as they favor a preemptive and overwhelming attack; at least one Muslim professor who tentatively supports Holocaust revision; at-least one person from Alaska with only nominal schooling who knows how to kill animals.”

Minow’s statements were met with support from the current HLS faculty members that have helped develop the new hiring criteria. Professor Charles Ogletree lauded the policy during the town hall presentation, noting, “If we’re going to talk about race and justice, we need at least a few extremists on the faculty to provide the proper foil to these topics. It doesn’t make sense to address these issues in a vacuum. Let’s bring the debate–crazy talk and all–right into the classroom.”

The new ideological diversity hiring criteria is the culmination of over a decade of intensive research. The law school appointed an internal faculty board as well as hiring an outside consulting firm to determine the best way to ensure the fullest range of ideological diversity through the hiring process. “This isn’t something that HLS made up off the cuff,” explained Minow. “We did a comprehensive, 10 year survey of the archetypes of American ideology. What we want are faculty who most represent the American people most, here and now. HLS prepares students for leadership in the real world. The best way to do that is to make sure that every archetype–whether gay bashing Tea Party members or proletariat loving unionists–gets a chance to reach the future lawyers of America, and, importantly, the world.”

Student reaction at the town hall meeting was mixed. Asked to express their initial reaction upon exiting the gathering, most students interviewed by the Record were highly ambivalent.

“I’m not sure why this matters,” said Jennifer Stanton, 2L. “I don’t really listen to the ideologies of my professors anyway. Obviously the law is supposed to be neutral. I wasn’t aware that my professors had ideologies in the first place,” she added.

Some students, however, expressed great concern. “The last thing HLS should be is democratically representative,” stated Henry James, 1L. “I don’t understand the point of diversity in the first place, let alone diversity amongst the faculty, let alone ideological diversity. Harvard is an elite institution. The moment it starts seeking to reflect instead of shape the masses is the moment it begins to crumble.”

Minow’s new hiring policy will go into effect in the 2010-2011 academic year. While the official hiring criteria are currently confidential, Minow hinted at some of the factors they would be using to assess potential new hires.

“I’ll give you a hint,” she laughed in response to a question. “Whether or not you have a law degree is only marginally important. How many Twitter followers you generate–now that is something we’re going to consider.”

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