Friday, November 18, 2016

UALR law dean stepping down in June.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 1:17 PM

click to enlarge MICHAEL SCHWARTZ: Stepping down as UALR law dean.
  • MICHAEL SCHWARTZ: Stepping down as UALR law dean.
Michael Schwartz, dean of UALR's Bowen School of Law,  has announced he's stepping down as dean June 30 to go to a full-time teaching position. He's held the position since July 2013.

Schwartz found himself enmeshed in several controversies at the law school, engendered by conservative activists. One involved faculty member Rob Steinbuch's effort to dislodge student records to determine whether under-qualified black students were gaining admittance.  Steinbuch filed suit for records after Schwartz provided redacted copies of some material he sought to analyze bar exam performance. Steinbuch also accused two other faculty members of retaliating against him for seeking the information. He called them "race police."

More recently, Schwartz has been derided by conservatives on the web for providing on-campus counseling to students upset by the presidential election. Schwartz wrote in an e-mail:

This election season was the most upsetting, most painful, most disturbing election season of my lifetime. And, as you know, I am old. …

For those of you who feel upset, we have arranged extra on-campus counseling services today. We will be offering 30-minute appointments between 2:30-6:00pm. If students do not sign up for all appointment times and/or do not use all of their allotted 30 minutes, walk-in appointments may be available on a first come, first served basis. Counseling will be located in room 423 – the office next to the Faculty Library on the 4th floor. If there are no more appointment times available and you wish to speak with a counselor, please sign up for a counseling appointment here.

No matter how you are feeling, the most important thing for you is to focus on your studies. If your goal, in attending law school, is to make a difference in your community, the first step has to be getting through law school and passing the bar. Please do not lose sight of that goal. Most of all, I want every member of our community to feel welcome and supported here. Our diversity is a strength and a goal that we need to cultivate in every way we can. Everyone deserves a safe, supportive, collegial learning environment. In fact, the research shows that learning from and with those who are different from us makes us smarter, more thoughtful, more tolerant, and happier. Please reach out to your peers and let them know they are valued. And, if you witness someone being mistreated because of his or her politics, religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, please do not sit silently by.
Schwartz's criticism from conservative Republican quarters might also have put him at odds with Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Bowen graduate who recently directed $1 million in money won by the office in lawsuits to a business law clinic at Bowen School. Rutledge was a frequent cheerleader for Donald Trump, met with him in New York this week and has been mentioned for a role in his administration. And grief counseling was the thanks she got for sending money UALR's way? Or so goes the speculation.

Schwartz sent a message that he couldn't comment at this time. As dean, he's paid $239,057, but the figure will be reduced as faculty member.

For dean openings, a faculty search typically produces a recommendation, or recommendations, for a new dean to the university chancellor, Andrew Rogerson.

I've been unable to reach anyone, except a campus spokesman who provided this email:

Campus Community,

Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz has announced that effective June 30, 2017, he is resigning as dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law and will return to the faculty. I extend my sincere thanks to Dean Schwartz for his hard work and commitment to the law school and am happy he will continue to contribute to the success of the law students we serve.

Zulma R. Toro, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

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