Law Dean Criticizes Panel Study
In a memo released yesterday, Associate Law School Dean Charles R. Nesson '60 criticized a recent report on the school's curriculum and teaching methods, saying it will increase already deep divisions among the faculty.
Nesson, a member of the committee responsible for the report-the first major review of the school's curriculum in two decades-said in a memo that the Law School is suffering from a "polarization" of the faculty into a "right" camp and a "left" camp.
The school must deal with this spilt before it considers curriculum reform which will intensify the conflict between the factions, the memo states.
Portions of a "tentative final draft" of the committee report released yesterday advocate increased emphasis on legal theory and clinical education-which includes practical experience with real clients and simulations of legal problems.
Frank I. Michelman, chairman of the committee, would not comment on the memo yesterday.
"We are in the midst of a contest of vilification." Nelson says in the memo. He charges that both sides have used tactics including "vilification" of the opposition, name-calling, back-stabbing and character assassination."
While more faculty members contacted yesterday refused to comment on the memo. Robert C. Clark, professor of law, says that the memo way "roughly accurate" and another professor who asked not to be iden- tified said it was "substantially" correct. James D Vorenberg 49, dean of the Law School declined to comment on the memo yesterday.
Nesson says that the Law School's "central objective" should be to produce peace among the faculty, calling it "our biggest problem."
But Clark, while agreeing that the faculty division is a "significant" problem, did not think the faculty should delay consideration of the committee's report because of it.
The law faculty should, however, discuss the issue, Clark said. Clark predicted that a division among faculty members would not be easy to mend. "You don't just address an issue like this and vote on a resolution," he said.
Even Nesson has not yet offered an actual plan. "I am not prepared at this point to offer a specific agenda for peace negotiations," his memo says. Nesson was not available for comment yesterday.
The law faculty began consideration of parts of the committee report in a weekly faculty meeting yesterday. Because most of the committee's specific recommendations have not yet been completed, there was not debate on the report in the meeting