Saturday, February 21, 2004

Harvard Law

I'd have to agree with this student's overall impression of how conservatives fare at Harvard Law School:
There's an interesting post over at the Volokhs about liberalism at Yale Law School. I don't know anything about YLS, so I'll just say you should take the post for what it's worth. I do know about HLS, though, and I've got to say that the situation here is just fine, as far as I see it. The one caveat about what I write below is that it's true I've sent five years in European universities. Compared to that, even a law school that was called "Democrats are Glorious Supermen" would have seemed relatively congenial, though I do find that Europeans are very good about listening respectfully and engaging in argument even when they think your views are insane or barbaric.

First, even though it's clear most of the Professors are Democrats, largely because their resumes include some sort of Clinton era service, it's not usually that obvious in class. All the profs I've had have been respectful of conservative viewpoints - that is to say, they've shot them down with the same regularity they shoot everything else down. In fact, if I've noticed anything on this front, it's that some professors are so desperate to seem fair that they let poorly argued conservative points be made at great and tortuous length, when they would have cut someone else off. I've heard from other people this isn't universally true, but I haven't seen a really bad example of classroom bias yet.
I agree. The professors are overwhelmingly in the wide range of opinion from far-left to moderate liberal, but are typically very fair to all viewpoints in classroom discussions. On the other hand, there were two occasions where I saw some students boo and hiss because another student had made a moderately conservative point in class. On one of the occasions, the student was very left-wing herself, but was nonetheless fair-minded and had merely tried to point out a counterargument (i.e., "some people might think x, y, and z about that doctrine.") Yet even she got booed and hissed, merely for acknowledging a counterargument in class. As I say, it was only on two occasions that this happened during my 3 years of law school, so it's not representative of the entire experience. Still, I can't imagine anyone ever hissing or booing in the classes I took at the University of Georgia.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home