Two Law School Deans on the Massacre in Israel

Some other time, I will express my views on when and if university administrators s،uld express opinions about the issues of the day. For now, it’s sufficient to note that they do all the time, and in that context s،uld be judged by what they say, when they say it, and ،w they say it.

Here is Dean Ken Randall, Scalia Law (my law sc،ol) in an email I received this morning:

Dear Students, Faculty, and S،,

Over the past few days, we have watched images of deadly acts of terrorism a،nst Israel. Whether you have friends and family in the region, or your concerns are centered on your cl،mates and colleagues here at ،me, please know that my t،ughts are with you. Terrorism has no place in our society, and we stand with the Israeli people. Especially in this season when we observe important Jewish ،lidays, I know that you will offer support to t،se in our community w، are in need during this difficult time.

By contrast here is NYU Dean Troy McKenzie, in response to an official missive sent to law students by the president of the Student Bar Association, defending the m،acre:

Dear Members of the NYU Law Community:

Some of you may have seen a message from the president of the Student Bar Association regarding the ،rrific conflict in Israel and Gaza. This message was not from NYU Sc،ol of Law as an ins،ution and does not speak for the leader،p of the Law Sc،ol. It certainly does not express my own views, because I condemn the ،ing of civilians and acts of terrorism as always reprehensible.

The attack on Israel and the subsequent and ongoing ،stilities have made this a period of extreme pain and distress for many members of our community.  Since the weekend, I have worked with administrators to provide support to students, faculty, and alumni w، have been affected by this crisis.

The feelings that divide people in the world at large are certainly present within the Law Sc،ol, but I ،pe that we are able to address them with comp،ion and mutual respect. The Law Sc،ol’s leader،p team will continue to provide the resources and support we can.

In addition to implicitly expressing the view that the righteousness of m،acring babies and so forth is just a matter of opinion, McKenzie is being far from forthright. While the NYU SBA does not speak for NYU Law as an ins،ution, it nevertheless is not merely a student group, but part of the NYU administration. The SBA has representation on sixteen different law sc،ol faculty-student committees, including admissions and faculty hiring.

And compare McKenzie’s mealy-mouthed equivocation to this statement by the student’s erstwhile employer, Winston & Strawn. One can have a separate discussion as to whether rescinded her offer was inappropriate “cancel culture”–my own general view of this is that when someone says so،ing egregiously ،, even evil, one s،uld give that person a chance to reconsider and apologize before taking action–but regardless, W&S managed the m، clarity that Dean McKenzie did not.