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Law School Denies Tenure For 3rd Time in 23 Years

By Nicholas Gagarin

For only the third time since 1945, the Law School Faculty has denied tenure to an assistant professor--and a lot of law students are upset about it.

Morgan Shipman, assistant professor of Law, yesterday called the Faculty's vote denying him tenure "totally wrong and unjustified." But Shipman said he had agreed with Acting Dean A James Casner that "this is the kind of thing you can't debate in public."

Concern and Dedication

Meanwhile, the Third Year Class Committee at the Law School has voted Shipman "honorary membership" in its class "in appreciation for his exceptional concern for students and for his dedication to the study of law."

Implicit in the action, Richard M. Sims 3L, Marshal of the Committee, said yesterday, is a "strong disapproval" of the Faculty's vote.

"A lot of students think the Faculty vetoed Shipman because he didn't fit in. Sims explained. "He's a Texan, large, a little clumsy, and he speaks with a drawl. He's not polished--everyone else around here is polished--but he's a good teacher and very receptive to students. He keeps his door open to students."

Casner denied last night that Shipman's "style" had been a factor in the Faculty's decision. "The problem went much deeper than that," he said. "It was a very complex matter, and we went through great thought and deliberation. But personal style was not an issue. We have fifty men on the Faculty, and you can find any type there that you want."

Casner added that many students had expressed support for Shipman and that the Faculty had taken this support into "careful consideration" before its vote last month.

Shipman himself would not comment on the Faculty's reasons for turning him down. "But I don't think they'll make another decision like that soon," he said. "Some things have been stirred up internally at the Law School, and at least that's a step in the right direction."

So They Screwed Him

"The Faculty's decision was made on the grounds that the Faculty always uses," one member of the Class Committee, who wishes to remain unidentified, said yesterday. "The Faculty is rational and smooth, and they're all from Harvard, Yale, or Columbia. Shipman was from the Southwest, and he had an accent--so they screwed him."

Casner explained last night that junior faculty members are denied tenure infrequently because the Law School screens people very carefully before hiring them. "He [Shipman] wouldn't have been here if he wasn't a talented man," he said.

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