Vermont Law School pretends to fight for equality
July 1, 2008 10 Comments
How embarrassing. For an institution with the motto “law for the community and the world,” one has to wonder why they are engaging in self-mutilation that flies in the face of the most deeply held principles of the school.
Vermont Law School has long opposed the “don’t ask don’t tell” military policy, which is a great thing. They joined several schools in a lawsuit that went up to the United States Supreme Court, challenging the loss of federal funding that followed the refusal to permit military recruiters on campus. And they lost in a unanimous decision by the Court.
The response by Vermont Law School is to continue to bar the military recruiters on campus. Which means, according to the New York Times on June 30, 2008, that the school will not receive an estimated $300,000 to $500,000 in federal dollars each year that the ban continues. The new dean expresses how proud he is to “speak truth to power,” and how great it is to sacrifice such an enormous amount of money for such a tiny school.
I suppose I should send my Vermont Law School diploma back in protest, because I don’t want to display it anywhere if it means being associated with backward and destructive political action. If that school taught me anything, it was to speak out against foolish policies that ultimately hinder the fight for equality.
I oppose the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and I think it is one of the most egregious aspects of Bill Clinton’s legacy. So I would much rather that Vermont Law School allow the recruiters onto campus, dig the huge rainbow flag out of storage, permit the students to protest like they have in the past and take the government’s money.
Then use every penny of it funding the fight for equality. The school could offer scholarships to students interested in the fight for equality and reforming military policy. A clinic dedicated to fighting discrimination could be funded. The paltry student loan repayment assistance offered by the school to graduates working in the public interest could be more than doubled, considering the school was only able to come up with $158,000 to allocate last year.
Vermont Law School did what it could to fight the issue in the legal arena and it lost. Instead of creating opportunity for its students and promoting the fight for equality, it now falls on its own sword and cripples itself in that fight. The short-sighted nature of this attempt to score the hollow political point seems like an incredible failure of leadership, one that is far more concerned with the appearance of taking a stand than actually getting anything done.