By David Gruber and Paloma van Groll
Every year around this time students interrupt their rampant careerism to undertake more noble endeavours. The Promise Auction, the “flip your wig” campaign, and Walk a Day raise money for different causes. Welcome Day and mentorship programs help ease new recruits’ transitions to law school. And Law Follies subjects your professors to some long-overdue derision.
Law students are generally a plugged-in and opinionated bunch. If you listen closely around the water cooler—or, as it’s called these days, Facebook—you’ll notice your classmates have plenty to say about the merits of these initiatives.
Indeed, nary does an event go by without attracting complaints by some individual or group. Walk a Day? Sexist. Exams using flip desks? Unacceptable. Soliciting unpaid student ambassadors on Facebook? Outrageous.
Right or wrong, the present approach to addressing these sorts of issues—namely, taking to Twitter and Facebook—seems wanting.
While we applaud speaking out in any and all forums, we wish that instead of (or at least in addition to) your Facebook comment, you would flesh out your point of view in a short Opinions article for UV. Besides the fantastically high esteem that comes with appearing on a byline in these pages, you’ll be giving the entire U of T law school community the benefit of your viewpoint (keep in mind our readership is made up of faculty and students alike, not merely by your carefully curated friends on social media).
Worse yet is when the conversation happens in private rather than in public. UV’s brusque attempts at provoking conversation on some of these topics has provoked reaction. When we took to Twitter to suggest that playing dress up may not be the most effective way of reducing the cost of legal services, the good people at Flip Your Wig for once really did flip their wigs. In the spirit of fair play, we invite them to call us out publicly. We would be happy if they used the pages of UV to make their case.
There are a number of casualties from the systemic failure to engage in these types of conversations. For one, you might find—as our 1L Editor Nathaniel Rattansey did in his piece on Columbia law school and Eric Garner—that attempting to spell out your thoughts in print leads you reconsider your original position. You may even find that when you read a contrary view laid out in paragraph form, it doesn’t seem quite as loopy as you once supposed.
So keep in mind that there is one recourse still available to you in place of—nay, in addition to complaining to the ether (i.e. Facebook). To all the righteous complainers, critics, and curmudgeons of the Faculty of Law, we invite you to write for UV. You may touch a nerve, ruffle a feather, or poke a paper tiger. But you will find that none of it is hazardous to your health, or even your career. And who knows, somebody out there may even be listening.