Notes Posted on Professor Portraits in Wasserstein Hall

At 5:15 p.m. today, a person posted red and yellow notes on several professors’ portraits located on the first floor of Wasserstein. Yellow tags were placed on male professors’ pictures, reading “Right to Impregnate” or “No Right to be Pregnant.” Red tags were placed on female professors’ pictures and said “Right to be Pregnant.” Justice Elena Kagan’s portrait had a second tag that read, “No right to impregnate.” The notes were removed around 6:40 p.m.

It is unclear whether the individual who posted the notes is affiliated with HLS.


Continue reading “Notes Posted on Professor Portraits in Wasserstein Hall”

Reclaim Harvard Law Removes Critical Posters, Stirring Debate Over Academic Freedom

3L Bill Barlow puts up posters accusing Reclaim HLS of denying speech to students. Reclaim HLS later took down the posters.

For the last several weeks, the walls of the protestor-occupied “Belinda Hall” have been covered with messages from Reclaim HLS, a coalition of students seeking institutional change at the Law School. But on Monday, there was a new message—one equating the movement with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, claiming that both Trump and Reclaim are anti-free speech.

The signs were posted by third-year student Bill Barlow, who has been a vocal opponent of perceived censorship by Reclaim HLS. Barlow believes some of the protestors’ demands impinge on academic freedom and stifle dissent—a conviction this incident reaffirmed for him.

Shortly after Barlow taped up his signs, he sat down to discuss his message with protestors—a conversation he referred to as “tense but civil.” Later that afternoon, members from Reclaim HLS removed Barlow’s critical posters. And shortly thereafter, Barlow received an email from the Dean of Students Office requesting an informational meeting with Dean of Students Marcia Sells.

Continue reading “Reclaim Harvard Law Removes Critical Posters, Stirring Debate Over Academic Freedom”

Harvard Law School Reacts to the Passing of Justice Scalia

On Wednesday, February 24, Harvard Law School hosted a panel featuring Dean Martha Minow and Professors Frank Michelman, Larry Lessig, Richard Lazarus, Adrian Vermuele, John Manning, Cass Sunstein, and Charles Fried. They represent a wide range of political ideologies and legal interests. But there is one thing they all share: a deep respect for Justice Scalia’s contributions to the legal community.

Each of the panelists had a connection to the Justice—some worked for him, others argued before him, and the moderator, Professor Michelman, shared an office at the Harvard Law Review’s Gannett House during their law school careers.

Justice Scalia will perhaps be most remembered for his influential approach to interpreting the law, popularizing originalism and textualism. Professor Sunstein called him the most brilliant administrative lawyer to ever serve on the Court, and alongside Justices Holmes and Jackson, one of the greatest writers, too. Professor Fried remarked that generations to come will encounter his legacy through his memorable and thoughtful opinions.

Continue reading “Harvard Law School Reacts to the Passing of Justice Scalia”

Swastika Drawn on Harvard Law Classroom Desk

Last Thursday, November 5, a first-year Harvard Law student noticed a swastika penned in a desk in Wasserstein room 2004 during class. After another student submitted a picture of the swastika to the Dean of Students Office, cleaning staff was sent to remove the mark from the desk.

The person who drew the mark has not yet been identified. Rooms in Wasserstein are generally open during business hours, and it is quite possible that a non-HLS affiliated person made the mark. Several HLS classes were scheduled to meet in WCC 2004 during the days leading up to the discovery, along with a few events hosted by student organizations. HLS events are open to the public and frequently attended by people who do not work at or attend the Law School.

Continue reading “Swastika Drawn on Harvard Law Classroom Desk”

Lambda Removes Diversity Amendment Following DOS Disapproval

Earlier this semester, members of Lambda conducted a comprehensive review of the organization’s policies and drafted amendments to its constitution and bylaws. Thirty-eight measures were approved in all, with one in particular igniting controversy: a requirement that election results be invalid if a single racial or gender group constitute two-thirds majority or more of the Board.

According to Lambda’s co-presidents, Lior Anafi and Sean Cuddihy—who wish to clarify that they speak as individuals, and do not represent any official position of Lambda—technical issues with the amendment and “opposition to its core mechanism” became apparent during the final stages of the review process.

Continue reading “Lambda Removes Diversity Amendment Following DOS Disapproval”

Reactions to Dershowitz Allegations Stir HLS

Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law, Emeritus, has adamantly denied accusations that he engaged in sexual relations with an underage woman, referred to in court documents as Jane Doe #3. The allegations stem from a civil filing before a federal district court in Southern Florida that challenges the plea deal offered to Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire who was sentenced to 18 months in prison, of which he served 13 months, for soliciting prostitution. Dershowitz was a member of the legal team that negotiated Epstein’s plea deal.

Two Harvard Law students—Anna Joseph, 2L, and Kerry Richards, 1L—wrote a piece to the Record that charged Dershowitz with victim-blaming a child involved in trafficking. Joseph and Richards criticized the “trivialization of sex trafficking by victimizers and by the media at large” and questioned why Dershowitz’s courage has been commended while Jane Doe #3’s experience has been discounted.

After reading the piece, Professor Dershowitz felt compelled to respond in an opinion piece to the Record. In it, he criticizes Joseph and Richards’ comments as “trivializ[ing] the seriousness of being falsely accused of a heinous crime such as child rape.” The piece also counters specific allegations made by Jane Doe #3.

“Of course I am sympathetic to actual victims of abuse, rape, and trafficking,” Dershowitz said in an interview with the Record. “But in this case, I am the victim. She made up the story. This is not a matter of perception—it is a matter of black and white. It simply did not happen.”

Joseph and Richard’s opinions have even prompted a response from Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense lawyer and civil liberties litigator who graduated from HLS in 1967. Silverglate asserts that the piece is a “disservice,” as the authors “appear to have little regard for the painful, somewhat Kafkaesque conundrum of Dershowitz’s position.”

“When I read the student‐authored piece in the Record, I thought it unfair to Dershowitz,” Silverglate told the Record over email. “He had been the victim of a quite awful attack accusing him of having perpetrated a heinous and disgusting attack.”

Silverglate’s letter, which was not written in any consultation with Dershowitz, focused on the failures in the legal system that allow formalistic accusations without the opportunity to respond in a legal capacity.

“My sense is that we are now in an era when allegations of sexual abuse, especially child sexual abuse, are taken as true, even beyond question, by too many people and even media people,” Silverglate said. “I’ve had cases in which I’ve seen this first-hand. I am calling for a return to due process protections in cases involving such accusations.”

Silverglate further noted that due process would not help Dershowitz in this situation since he has no standing to defend himself in court.

In a joint statement to the Record, Joseph and Richards said, “Our article does not opine on Mr. Dershowitz’s role in Jane Doe #3’s prolonged abuse—his involvement remains unknown. The issue is with the ancillary comments Mr. Dershowitz made while denying his involvement, including that when Doe was fifteen-years-old she was a ‘prostitute,’ and ‘made her own decisions in life.’ His op-ed in the Harvard Law Record does not address concerns about those statements. Instead he just implies that once above a certain age, victims of child trafficking should stop discussing their experiences; and that you can cross any line to try to protect your reputation.”

In additional to the pending federal lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ lawyers have initiated a lawsuit against Professor Dershowitz for defamation. As for what is next, Dershowitz has countersued for defamation and is confident in his chances and will also push for further punishment.

“When I establish—as I will—that they have no basis of making this charge, I will move to administrative sanctions.”

HLS Title IX Procedures Altered After Finding of Violation by Department of Education

In response to a finding by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that the law school was in violation of Title IX, HLS has adopted updated procedures. OCR is expected to comment by Feb. 6, 2015, though Dean Martha Minow has expressed her confidence that the new policies are now in compliance with federal regulations based on communications with the Department of Education’s regional office.

Over the past several months, a committee of HLS faculty members modified the law school’s interim procedures. According to Professor John Coates, who was asked by Dean Minow to chair the committee, these updated procedures incorporate OCR’s recommendations, including the utilization of a “preponderance of evidence” standard, and also a provision that a person reporting will not be asked to reach a resolution directly with the accused party.

Last fall, the university-wide policy was met with resistance from students on campus and challenges from faculty, a group of whom submitted an open letter to the Boston Globe voicing their criticisms. The updated law school guidelines address two major concerns expressed by many in the law school community— the rights of the accused and mandated reporter requirements.

“The HLS faculty committee engaged in a number of outreach efforts, and tried as best it could to review and monitor the overall conversations about Title IX, both on campus and beyond,” said Professor Coates.

The new guidelines provide for greater protections for students accused of violating the sexual harassment policies. For example, section 2.3 provides for reasonable financial assistance to parties unable to afford attorneys if they would like one.

As for mandated reporters, section 1.1 of the HLS procedures lists several confidential resources available to the HLS community before and after an individual discusses potential violations with a Title IX coordinator. These resources include the Harvard University Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Harvard Chaplains, RESPONSE Peer Counseling, and UHS Counseling and Mental Health Services. Written permission is required before any of these bodies disclose information to a Title IX Coordinator, except in specified circumstances, like when the situation presents an immediate danger.

Second-year law student Jessica Ranucci says she is “grateful that the Administration has been responsive to that concern from students” with regard to confidential resources, but is worried that because details about the mandated reporter obligations are still missing from the current university-wide policy, “there is no way to ensure that the list will be regularly updated and disseminated to students in the future.”

The HLS faculty committee was formed in mid-October, leaving it two months to develop Harvard Law School’s policy.

“In that time, we met with focus groups of students, attended HU-wide Title IX public meetings, met with numerous HLS faculty individually, discussed our work at several faculty meetings, including two that were devoted exclusively to the procedures, consulted with administrators at HLS and Harvard administrators and faculty outside of HLS, including Mia Karvonides, HU Title IX coordinator, worked closely with the HU Office of General Counsel, retained outside counsel to provide further legal guidance, and met with OCR itself,” said Professor Coates. “The committee listened to what everyone had to say and reflected the discussions in the procedures it developed, to address both the goals of Title IX and the values and culture of HLS.”

Professor Coates is hopeful that the procedures will be well-received by the HLS community, and that they will “contribute to reducing the amount of sexual discrimination, by (among other things) relying on adjudicators who are independent of the HLS community, and setting clear timeframes for resolution of complaints, and [doing] so in a fair manner that addresses concerns that students not be wrongfully found to have violated HU’s Title IX policy, or not be given adequate opportunities to be heard or to have assistance of counsel.”

Professor Janet Halley, who signed the open letter to the Boston Globe, said that the HLS procedures, while not perfect, are superior to the university-wide policy, and that “they are a model of how due process and equitable treatment of the parties can be achieved even under the current pressure imposed by the DOE OCR that is putting them at risk both at Harvard and nationwide.”

Pressure from OCR, Professor Halley fears, pushes Harvard University in the direction of attracting more complaints and placing more responsibility on students for violations.

“It is out of balance. The new HLS Procedures are about re-introducing balance and fairness without sacrificing full enforcement.”

Updates to the HLS policy do not change the substance of the university-wide policy—concerns about the contents of the latter persist. Professor Halley believes HU’s Title IX procedure “remains severely defective, misleading, confusing, and unfair.” In particular, Professor Halley worries about “the legally incorrect and highly muddled definitions of sexual harassment and of unwanted sexual conduct.” She adds that “the severely skewed rules on incapacitation and the failure to extend robust protection to freedom of speech and academic freedom remain huge problems for the entire Harvard community.”

More information about Title IX, along with copies of the university-wide and HLS-specific policies, can be found here:

HLS Professors Challenge Harvard’s Title IX Policy

Last week, the Boston Globe published an open letter written by 28 current and retired members of the HLS faculty, which requested that Harvard University reconsider its Title IX guidelines. The letter expressed apprehension at both the development process and content of the university-wide policy.

The concerns with the creation of the current university-wide policy are threefold: first, the development process was secret and failed to involve a broad group of faculty; second, the resulting policy prioritized over-compliance with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) above fair and effective procedures that best serve the Harvard community; and, third, the policy destroyed the individual schools’ autonomy to make disciplinary decisions for their respective students.

“There was no community buy-in—the university-wide policy was developed by a secret committee,” said Professor Janet Halley, who has been writing about sexual harassment for more than 15 years. “There are clear issues with the genesis of the policy and we need consultation in the community.”

Halley contrasted the formation of the university-wide policy to the promulgation of the Interim HLS Policy, noting that she had no complaints about the latter—Dean Minow’s appointment process of the faculty committee was transparent and Professor John Goldberg’s leadership was impressive.

The lack of community involvement resulted in a policy that over-complied with OCR’s mandates rather than one that would fairly and effectively address the sexual harassment issues that have plagued the University, she added.

“Harvard has not only a legal responsibility to comply with Title IX and a moral obligation to fully address sexual harassment, but also an obligation to develop procedures that are fair to the accused,” Halley said. “Our issue is not that the policy is university-wide, but that it seems to be driven by a desire to comply with OCR documents that distort sexual harassment law. For instance, nowhere does case law or even the OCR require that a Title IX officer has to run the entire student discipline process.”

Faculty members also identified several major issues with the content of the policy, including an overly expansive definition of sexual harassment; a single office that retains charging, investigative, fact-finding, prosecutorial, and appellant functions; failure to ensure support and representation for the accused; and lack of opportunity to discover facts charged, confront witnesses, and present a defense at a hearing.

“Many key procedural opportunities are provided to complainants and at the same time denied to the accused,” Halley said, summarizing the concerns of the 28 Harvard Law professors.

The authors of the open letter believe the combination of flaws leave innocent people at risk of being held responsible.

“Harvard University has more power than any university in the country to stand up for principle,” said Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who signed the letter. “It has instead simply caved to funding threats from the federal government.”

The university-wide guidelines affect students at the law school. Halley warns that there will be a disparate effect on low-income accused individuals because the policy offers many resources for complainants, but none for the accused. Unlike Harvard, other universities including Columbia and Chicago have resources available for all students affected by Title IX policies.

“HLS students should know that the new Harvard University Sexual Harassment Policy puts them at great risk, men and women alike,” said Professor Bartholet. “This includes the risk of being wrongfully found guilty of sexual misconduct, and the related risk of destruction of any future legal career.”

Several students have also expressed concern with the ambiguous mandated reporter requirements. While this issue is not discussed in the letter, interests between the university and victims may not be perfectly aligned. The federal government can hold a university liable for cases in which it should have known about, so in the interest of avoiding liability, universities have a major incentive to impose broad reporting mandates. However, this approach could leave victims who are unsure about whether to report without trusted confidants with whom to discuss their situations. The current Harvard Title IX procedures fail to clearly specify who is and who is not a mandated reporter, which could make members of the community reluctant to address problems.

According to Halley, there have been some negative responses to the letter, but for the most part feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. She believes that Harvard should withdraw this sexual harassment policy and have a university-wide conversation about what protecting victims, being fair to the accused, protecting academic values, and legal compliance mean—a process that would require starting from scratch.

The University will hold another community-wide meeting on Monday, October 27, from 12-1 p.m. in Lowell Lecture Hall. This is one of many avenues available to students who wish to share their opinions—participation in forums, events, reading groups, publications, and conversations with the faculty who signed the letter are welcome.

As Halley stated, “This is a moment of tremendous opportunity.”

Title IX Could Mean Changes for HLS

Harvard has developed two sets of rules applicable to law students in response to regulations and guidance documents issued by the Federal Department of Education concerning Title IX, the federal law that guarantees gender equity in education.

The first is the policy and procedures adopted by Harvard University for all members of the Harvard community, known as the HU Policy and HU Procedures, to manage sexual harassment allegations against students. The HU Procedures designate a central University office called the Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution (ODR) to handle allegations of sexual harassment. Under the management of University’s Title IX Officer, Mia Karvonides, ODR’s role is to investigate formal complaints of sexual harassment made against students, including those at the law school. ODR sends its findings of fact to the HLS Ad Board, which will use that report, along with additional submissions from the complainant and respondent, to decide what discipline to administer.

Harvard University has mandated that all schools promulgate policies in accordance with the new university-wide standards prior to the start of the 2014-15 academic year. In response, Dean Minow appointed a committee of faculty and staff that met in July and August to draft the Interim HLS Policy and Procedures—the second set of rules applicable to law students.

The Interim HLS Policy declares that the new HU Policy provides the controlling definition of sexual harassment for all members of the Harvard community, including HLS faculty, students, and staff. It also specifies the operations of Ad Board disciplinary proceedings—previously, the HLS Ad Board handled both allegations and disciplinary actions. Under the new system, the Ad Board will not be responsible for investigations but will retain authority to determine what discipline to administer if the ODR determines there was sexual assault in the investigation of a formal complaint.

“The University has taken the lead in determining the appropriate policy and procedures for addressing the serious problem of sexual harassment, as required by federal law,” said Professor John Goldberg, who chaired the faculty committee that met over the summer to draft the Interim HLS Policy and Procedures. “The goal, obviously, is to provide a safe learning environment by reducing the incidence of harassment and by eliminating what have been understood to be roadblocks that unreasonably deter victims from seeking assistance and effectively pursuing complaints. Of course there is also a need to ensure fairness to those alleged to have committed harassment. I believe that the University and the Law School are committed to monitoring the new policies and procedures as they are implemented to help ensure that they operate effectively and fairly. However, as these are obviously new rules, it remains to be seen how well they will achieve their aims.”

While the HU Policy and Procedures have been approved by the Harvard Corporation and are therefore final, the Interim HLS Policy and Procedures were promulgated over the summer and have not yet been officially approved by the HLS faculty. Members of the HLS faculty will have ability to vote to change certain aspects of the Interim HLS Policy, but the policy is in effect as-is until that vote is taken. According to Professor Goldberg, the Interim HLS Policy and Procedures “will presumably be taken up by the faculty this year, perhaps as early as this fall.” It is recommended that students who wish to have input should contact the HLS Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator.

One aspect of the Harvard’s sexual harassment policy remains unclear: mandated reporting requirements. The HU Policy requires University personnel “to share certain information with those at the University responsible for stopping or preventing sexual or gender-based harassment. For example, University officers, other than those who are prohibited from reporting because of a legal confidentiality obligation or prohibition against reporting, must promptly notify the School or unit Title IX Coordinator about possible sexual or gender-based harassment, regardless of whether a complaint is filed.” Professor Goldberg commented, “Precisely which personnel bear this responsibility is not clear. We expect to receive further guidance from the University as it begins to implement the HU Policy.”

The Interim HLS Policy can be viewed at For questions, comments or concerns about the HU Policy and HU Procedures, contact the University’s Title IX Officer at Questions about the Interim HLS Policy and Procedures should be directed to the HLS Title IX Coordinator, Marie Bowen at

TEDx Comes to Harvard Law


On Saturday, April 12, nine students and practitioners presented about the role of law in social change. Their topics covered a range of issues, each brought together by a common thread—improving the understanding of how Harvard students can be agents of social change.

The event was hosted by the HLS Law and Social Change Program, which seeks to foster a strong community of public interest students while challenging the ways students use their law degrees to implement social change in the real world.

“We wanted to showcase the wealth of perspectives and experiences of Harvard students and Boston practitioners with using law to shape social change,” said Scott Hochberg, Law and Social Change student fellow. “Each speaker went through a lengthy application and audition process, and we were able to include talks that covered a wide range of topics and perspectives. We hope the conference will spark discussions that challenge the traditional thinking about how law is related to social change.”

TEDx Harvard opened with a presentation by 1L Zoe Bedell, who discussed gender discrimination in the military during her talk “Women in Combat.” Before coming to Harvard, Bedell served in the U.S. Marine Corp for four years, and completed two deployments in Afghanistan. She ran a program called the Female Engagement Team, where she realized that the military is one of the last places in American society where gender discrimination is institutionalized. Bedell eventually joined an ACLU lawsuit challenging policies that limited women’s abilities to serve in combat. While the Secretary of Defense repealed the policy, Bedell noted there is still work to be done throughout the military.

“I think this was a great opportunity for students and community members to share their diverse experiences,” Bedell said. “Not many people have military experience, or even know people who have served, so I appreciated the chance to talk about my experience and our effort to change things I found wrong.”

1L Louis Fisher gave the next talk, “Bull and Bear Classrooms? Markets, Morals, and Education Reform.” Fisher, a former Teach for America corps member, critiqued market-based education reform proposals. Fisher warned that markets could crowd out preexisting moral norms, induce good teachers to leave, and undermine teacher-student relationships. He advocated a focus on school culture rather than profits, and closed with a quote from Stan Karp: “These policies undermine public education and seek to replace it with a market-based system that will do for schooling what the market has done for health care, housing, and the labor market, produce fabulous profits and give opportunities for a few and unequal outcomes and access for the many.”

“I think the event is important because it gives HLS students, who bring a wide variety of backgrounds, skills, experiences, and interests, an opportunity to remain engaged with some of the passions that brought them to law school in the first place,” Fisher said. “This is why I chose my topic: I am interested in it from an academic perspective but I also care deeply about it as it is based in personal experience to a degree.”

In “The Art of Social Change,” Fatima Hassan, 3L, focused on media and imagery.

“I wanted to share my vision with the HLS community because I think storytelling and media are extremely important tools for advocates,” Hassan said. “My vision is to marry powerful stories with new technologies for an increasingly globalized audience. I want to explore how new models of media can incorporate the rich tapestries of different cultures to have impact and foster global citizenships.”

The impressive lineup also included Kate Aitken (HBS/HKS) giving a talk on “The Power of Social Intrapreneurship: How to Successfully Drive Change Inside the System,” Sean Arthurs (HGSE and former Georgetown Street Law Clinician) speaking about “Getting it Right: Education and our Criminal Justice System,” Christina Ho (HLS ’14) discussing “Love and Social Change,” Lisa Fitzgerald (HLS ’16) on “Restorative Justice: Crime as the Violation of Relationships,” Lisa Marrone (HLS/HBS) on “The Boston (Food Truck) Marathon: A Case Study of Law and Social Change,” and Thomas Smith (Executive Director of Justice at Work) speaking on “Community Lawyering and Workers’ Rights.”

“We rarely get the chance to engage with these issues during class, and we can sit next to a classmate all semester and never know what inspires them,” said Ho, whose talk discussed a topic not often covered in the classroom—love. ”The TEDx conference brought members of the HLS community together to learn from each other and to energize each other.”

Videos of the talks will be available on the TEDx website in the upcoming weeks.

On the Record: Professor Susan Crawford


Communications is different from other regulated industries because of its susceptibility to monopolistic forces. In a world that increasingly relies on communications channels, the importance of global access is obvious. Professor Crawford has been on the front of this debate, and I thank her for taking the time to speak with the Record about big deals, bigger problems, and the future of high speed Internet access.

LC: What is going on between Comcast and Time Warner?

SC: Comcast is the largest media company in the world, and also the largest broadband and cable provider in the United States. It has recently announced that it wants to merge with Time Warner Cable, the second largest pure cable distributor in the United States. Comcast has about 20 million subscribers and Time Warner Cable has about 11 million. So, together would they have about 31 million customers, especially clustered up and down the east coast.

LC: What has been your role in this?

SC: I have no official role in this deal. I talk to people about this merger a lot. I talk to reporters, and I write about it, and I meet with staffers.

LC: Some of your recent writings have included commentary about how this deal would be bad for America. Why?

SC: It is interesting—I wrote a whole book about the Comcast-NBCU merger called Captive Audience [The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age] back in 2011 when Comcast become integrated with its purchase of one of the largest media companies in the United States. The book describes the fact that this is already a terrible situation, that for most Americans, the only choice for high capacity Internet connection is their local cable monopoly, and the book explains how we got to this point. A Comcast-Time Warner merger would make an already terrible situation incrementally worse in that Comcast would have additional scale. And scale is the secret to this business. It allows them to have low average unit costs, which keeps any threat of competition at bay.

LC: How do you think the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will respond?

SC: Well the betting at the moment is that Comcast is sufficiently politically connected and that the FCC is sufficiently eager to impose conditions on the deal that would keep it from having to actually regulate—in short, that the deal will go through with some divestitures of cable systems at the edges.

LC: Is that what you think they should do?

SC: No, I think they should block the merger, but more importantly I think the whole country needs to be on a different track for high speed Internet access. This is a global competition in which we are falling farther and farther behind. Lines should be shared between wholesale and retail, which would allow for lots of competition.

LC: Can you talk a little more about the trajectory you think we should be on.

SC: Cable is a second-best technology to fiber. It is terrible at allowing uploads because of the way it has been architected, and we are an innovative and ingenious group of Americans. We would like to be able to publish as well as receive. Also, cable has so much power—politically and physically— in this country, that it would be very difficult to regulate them at this point. I am optimistic that the county can pivot to installing fiber networks, particularly here in Boston. I am not eager for the cities to be involved in actually selling private services to retail customers and businesses, but it would be terrific for cities to put down basic infrastructure that providers could use to sell low-cost retail services to customers.

LC: You mentioned that you are going to Kansas City to research Google Fiber. Can you please explain what Google Fiber is, and how you think it has the potential to really change the playing field in communications?

SC: Google has so far announced that it plans to cover 3 million American households with fiber to the home if it does the complete build out of its plans to cover 34 metro areas. Google is using very thin glass strands through which lasers are shot, and which have unlimited capacity. In the neighborhoods where Google has announced this, it has been quite disruptive to the monopolistic situation in the country. Google is like our World’s Fair. People had very little imagination about what electricity could be used for until the World’s Fair demonstrated what was possible with electricity. Google has demonstrated how different life is with unlimited communications capacity in Kansas City. Fiber is future-proof, as it has limitless capacity. So, I am interested to see how that changes things. I have already made trips to Stockholm and Seoul, and this is the third in the trilogy. I plan to talk to people, especially those working in start-ups, government officials, older people, and less well-off people, to find out what impact this actually has in their lives. The trouble with working in technology policy is that it always sounds a little alien. I am trying to find ways to bring human stories into this debate.

LC: Finally, do you foresee any other major changes coming to the communications world?

SC: Well, I think your generation is going to figure this out because mine completely messed it up. I am a Late Boomer, and there is Generation X behind me, and then you guys. Millennials really understand that this should just be infrastructure. Internet access is like clean water and electricity. It is crazy, just look at Cambridge, there is just one choice and it is only Comcast—and it is really expensive. How could that be? I am hopeful that with the shift of generations and the eventual patchwork of the city networks that are built, the entire country will make the shift to fiber and to an infrastructure view of high-speed Internet access.

Susan Crawford is the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor in Intellectual Property. She is also a Professor at Cardozo Law School, a contributor to Bloomberg View and Wired, and a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center.

Circle of Laws Review

The HLS Drama Society has reminded us just how talented our classmates are, in a light not often shone at the law school. This past weekend, students and faculty enjoyed the 64th Parody production, The Lawyer King: The Circle of Laws.

In a fight to reclaim the birthright bestowed upon him by his mother, Simba, son of Dean Martha Minfasa and heir to the Harvard Law Deanship, faced a villainous Professor Alan Dershowitz. Along the way, student groups, professors, and the administration alike were subject to tasteful deprecation. The writers satirized the law school experience in a way that was both memorable and clever, and the exceptional performances of the cast and band truly brought the words to life.

“The best part of the Parody is the people,” said Producer and third-year student Raul Campillo. “My highest priority is to make sure that everyone on the cast feels valued and that they know we care about their time and other goals. Without that, we could not put on a great show. The cast buys into the production because we invest in them as people.”

Cast members performed amusing renditions of popular songs between scenes—Coolio’s Gangsta Paradise was changed to “Gunner’s Paradise,” and Lady Gaga’s Poker Face altered to “Posner Case.” Parody members seemed to enjoy performing as much as the audience enjoyed watching.

“Working on this show has been a real labor of love for me,” said Daniel Dykes, Director and 3L. “The Parody is such a unique institution and we are so lucky to have it. I don’t think any other law school has anything to match it: not only is the production value impressively high, but it’s such a central social experience for HLS. It’s the single largest student-run event; the majority of the HLS community turns out to see us every year, and they always have a great time. It’s a bittersweet moment for me to participate in my final Parody.”

At a point in the year marked by an increasing workload and unrelenting cold, it is refreshing to see the (unexpected) performance talents of HLS students. The show was thoroughly enjoyable thanks to the wit of the writers and impressive acting, singing, and dancing skills of the cast. The leads of Ty Davis as Simba, Andrew Sullivan as Professor Dershowitz, Rachel Endick as Dean Martha Minfasa, and Neha Mehta as Nala, were especially notable. In total, more than 80 students from all class years came together to produce this year’s show.

“Being in Parody has been an awesome experience,” said 1L Andrew Ellis, who played his section leader, Professor Jon Hanson. “I feel so fortunate to have been cast as Professor Hanson, and also to have been a part of this wonderful community. The show has been the highlight of my 1L year, and I look forward to staying involved.”

The Circle of Laws was a pleasant reminder that it’s okay to laugh at ourselves as we attempt to navigate the law school experience. And for those of you have read this far—feel free to use this paper to wipe up your coffee now.

Feminists Take On Debt

Feminist panel

“Who agrees that poor people make bad decisions?” Southern District of New York Judge Shelley Chapman asked to crowded room on Monday, Feb. 17. Only a couple hands expressed concurring opinions.

“But everyone makes bad decisions,” Judge Chapman continued. “There is a tremendous amount of empirical data that shows if you put a non-poor person in a situation of scarcity, they will make bad decisions.”

This data is especially revealing because women find themselves in more dire financial constraints more frequently and more quickly. There is also a double standard with corporate and consumer financial responsibility. Judge Chapman offered American Airlines as an example. Before declaring bankruptcy, American Airlines did not pay its creditors while it had billions sitting in the bank. Analysts considered this to be business-savvy behavior, but if a consumer did something like this it would be considered immoral.

The United States was founded on debt, and could not have succeeded without people who were willing to take enormous risk. The bankruptcy system is designed to allow people to take risks and recover from those risks. Kate Nicholson, associate with Parker & Assoc., and HLS graduate, commented that we are seeing people taking risks and not recovering—and one of the most negatively affected populations is women. Professor Lauren Willis agreed that debt for the purposes of fueling risk is good, but we do not want people to be taking on risk to pay for groceries this week.

To effectively tackle this issue, the panelists encouraged looking at debt from the point of view of feminism and structural inequality. Nicholson used statistics from the 2009 Census to convey just how dire the situations women face are—22 percent of divorced women live below the poverty line, and 50 percent of custodial parents have child support agreements but only 41 percent of those people receive the full child support they are due. Even more strikingly, 89.5 percent of the people depending on child support agreements are women. In short, women are relying on an income stream that is extremely unreliable to make ends meet.

So what can we do? Judge Chapman recommends putting a stop to predatory lending, shutting down payday loans, making credit documents understandable, and making behavior in the banking industry rational. Professor Willis added that there is evidence that the current financial literacy programs are actually harmful. She advocates for a simpler marketplace where people could learn the lessons that matter.

The Women’s Law Association and Unbound, Harvard’s Journal of the Legal Left, hosted the panel.

“I’m thrilled that WLA and Unbound are working together to promote feminist analysis of legal issues at HLS,” said Rebecca Chapman, editor of Unbound. “And this is just the beginning.” Chapman is referring to feminist legal theory reading group, and is planning conferences, film screenings, and more panel discussions.