I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that someone was allowed to speak out of turn just because he felt like it, when plenty of people had been raising their hands for a long time and respectfully remained silent when the discussion was closed
Can we have a day where we discuss prison abolition? Serious question - as someone who thinks we can use reform, but still sees a very important place for prosecutors and prisons for violent crimes, I'd love the chance to dive deeper
I thought the initial discussion about process re: sexual assault conversation was a waste of time. While I really appreciate Professor Nesson's approach of stepping back and delegating authority to us, sometimes we can get too lost in process and fail to sufficiently move forward
@Blackeye might as well just say it to his face if you feel that way. His comment was certainly fine, and thinking about the victims when we talk about crime is something that does seem to be forgotten in this class
I'm very conflicted about today. On the one hand, I appreciated the different perspectives on the prosecutor's issue, there is something nagging about the fact that we avoided talking further about an issue because it felt uncomfortable. If we are to be engaging in ideal discourse, wouldn't it be better if we actually go about addressing those issues that are particularly difficult, instead of backing off? I think the better approach would be, instead, to talk about some of the ground rules a bit clearer in terms of how we approach those topics, rather than shut them off completely.
Othon here again: I have 15 years of work as a prosecutor and I have often seen the victims forgotten, again and again. I am sorry if others were bothered, and I certainly did not speak out of turn, but asked to be recognized about a point that I felt had been left unsaid. Thank you once again for your attention.
Why dont we debate an issue that ACTUALLY divides the class? People generally agree about bringing an unjust prosecution. But, I sense there is massive division on bringing purportedly JUST prosecutions (i.e. a serial killer, a violent rapist). I think that conversation would be great and provocative (in a good way).
It's important for folks to engage with the content of what has been said in class rather than worry about who has and hasn't been called on. Why is your point so special that it must be heard? There is always plenty of food for thought on the table. If you have an idea that you feel compelled to share and you haven't been called on, write it down and save it for later.
Bring the TAs and Sweetpea back <3 and love Fern's even keel in the discussions. @Sun great point, also not a fan of call-outs. But in principle. it *is* disrespectful to the group, and frankly smacks of privilege, to presume that whatever you have to say is sooo important it trumps other voices in the room. Otherwise, the loudest man in the room always wins (often literally). I don't care if it was a brilliant screed; have some patience.
@Klucz I support you Othon! Unfortunately there are quite a few here (and throughout the U.S. who are fixated on "fixing the system" and will refuse to consider anything that doesn't fall right into that narrative. I applaud your willingness to stand for what you believe in publicly, even if at times I disagree with it
@Earth, you bring up a really good point. But I think the discussion was paused not because it was an uncomfortable one, but because the space had already been tainted by Friday's approach. It seemed that a safe space surrounding that particular topic would be kind of impossible to create
Othon, I like the point you made and do think it was something that hadn't been discussed. I also agree that there were other people raising their hands who did not get to speak because Nesson wanted to move on and had plenty of time to raise your hand earlier in the discussion.
this is a pivot, but i want to return to the idea that we are all "hired guns" with no moral culpability for our actions. i don't believe in the idea of good or bad people so im not trying to call anyone evil, but i think the mindset that lawyers are not morally culpable because they are just doing their job is a really dangerous one. that logic has been used to hold up oppressive systems throughout history
why are we so obsessed with "safe." we should be safe from obviously bigoted attacks, etc. sure, but too often people wanna be safe from ideas or a topic of discussion. terrible way to approach academic experiences.
Good discussion today. A lot of the points reminded me of the episode that John Oliver did on prosecutors and how they can misuse power (using Harry Connick Sr. as a case study). Worth a watch if people have not seen it yet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_b78GSBUs
@Klucz I completely agree. We often forget there are victims at the other end of these crimes. People choose to see prosecutors as individuals who only imprison individuals for heinous crimes. We forget that they are also prosecuting human trafficking, child abuse, sexual assault, etc.
I agree with the sentiment that we should aim to be more respectful of one another. If nothing else, I think everyone is giving their best effort to really grapple with these issues and present informed opinions. Of course, one can disagree with the content of another's idea. However, it just seems lazy and disingenuous to engage in ad hominem attacks and make caricatures out of one another--simply to win the argument. I hope we can move towards more respectful conversation in order to facilitate better ideas and encourage everyone to speak.
Can we please have Fern come back. She was such a positive voice in guiding the discussion and keeping the class going whenever Nesson started to get off track. We need more of her, not less. One idiot torching her online like an 8th grader shouldn't result in losing an effective and constructive part of this class, one of the only people who actually provided some semblance of structure in our discussions.
I think the threads should maybe come to an end because we seem to be incapable of maintaining a respectful space. I would have hoped that in an anonymous space we would still maintain the values of respecting our professors, their spouses and our classmates.
@Procyon A I agree with your expectations regarding civility but think it would be a shame to end the use of Threads due to that. Perhaps we can all agree to establish clear guidelines on what we will and won't tolerate as a group within the forum?
@Lothal Re: Thread 5. Were you raised by animals? Did your parents or guardians not teach you proper etiquette and respect? It is only proper to show respect to your elders. Fern decided to join the class without any obligation to do so, and you come here and spew forth your insults. Shame on you! At least have the courage to put your name behind your statement and say it with your chest. You hind behind an anonymous forum and choose to talk shit from behind the mask of a keyboard and screen. You are an uncharitable fucker and you should be ashamed of yourself. If HLS is supposed to provide future leaders, and you are an example of such a leader, then I fear for the future of this country. Please banish yourself to the seventh circle of hell, arsehole!
Also, I truly hope that Professor Nesson and the TAs were lying when they said this thread was anonymous. I hope they find out who you are and give you an LP. That would teach you a sweet lesson, fool!
I was so disheartened to see that email from Fern this afternoon. I don't know why the individuals choosing to use this forum continue to make these cruel, personal attacks, but I would urge you to shift your perspective toward the very real consequences of these words. In an effort to achieve some sort of cathartic relief, you have managed to erode discussions in this unique space, wasted class time with the subsequent sessions we've spent reacting to such manufactured conflicts, and have personally offended classmates/faculty.
@Saturn: First they took away sweetpea, and I did not speak up, for I was not a dog. Then they took away our TAs, and I did not speak up, for I was not a TA. Then they took away Fern, and I did not speak up, because I was not a goddess. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to speak for me (you all would've caved anyways).
Fern did not deserve that. She is accommodating and resourceful. I think that unless Lothal can come up with an exact reason for why the class is better without Fern, she should continue to stick around. It's unfortunate that someone would be such a fuck about a person who's just trying to help her husband navigate an experiential class. Disgusting.
Yes, I think no one in the class disagrees with the proposition that Fern is one of the greatest assets of the class. Event the person who said it, I am sure, meant it as a joke, given the context of the sweetpea allergy. I am so sad that i will not see the dynamic of Charlie and Fern's relationship in class continue. They were a great duo. Fern we all love you please come back
i really hope that whoever made that comment will own up to fern about it. you don't have to reveal yourself to the class but you owe it to fern to apologize at least. that wasn't helpful, wasn't useful, wasn't good. it was only mean. and completely unprovoked. and it made me feel completely disheartened about our class and our capacity for meaningful, positive discussion. you hurt someone's feelings and you should apologize. that's it.
Not referring to the comment about Fern which I feel was targeted and reprehensible. I wonder why it is so difficult for so many to see past what they refer to as rude and disrespectful on an anonymous forum. Yes, ideally we should ALWAYS communicate respectfully, but at times, especially when no one is being personally targeted, the tone and way of speaking contains value and communicative effect regarding the idea itself. Are we perhaps too sensitive and pampered to be able to engage in discourse about ideas when the tone or manner does not fully appeal to us? Of course, I reiterate that we should always try to be respectful. But I question whether some of us are being too sensitive and closed to methods of communication that we do not view as ideal
Today's prison abolition discussions were great. Every time we break into smaller groups, I think we find common understanding. This was yet another highlight of the class for me. But then I've gotta be real, the next hour or so seems to lack any direction. Weed, weld, donziger, grades, tribe, etc. That discourse didn't feel ideal and it didnt seem to have a purpose.
I loved the class today, particularly cuz we were able to cover quite a few different important subjects. I found the smaller group discussion to be highly productive and even opened my mind to concede some things that I had not previously thought re: abolition. I wish though that the same could be said for some of those heavily advocating for abolition in that I don't feel that they seriously entertained anything that I or others had to say in challenging some of their thoughts
I think Hs for everyone would actually be a fair way to end an experimental class like this one. It must be next to impossible to assess participation in a setting like this and causing a little mischief by bucking the grade curve would be a good way to recognize that we've all given this experiment our honest effort and all grown from it
also, I think it would be nice to do more activities, like when we acted as a jury. could break up the sameness of just discussing. could act as judges sentencing, or other sorts of activities meant to provoke discussion
for those interested in learning more about restorative justice, sujatha baliga just won a macarthur genius grant for her restorative justice work. here is her personal website with some of her talks: https://www.sujathabaliga.com/talks-and-media; here is her RJ project at Impact Justice: https://impactjustice.org/impact/restorative-justice/; and here is a toolkit that project developed that answers a lot of common questions about restorative justice: https://rjdtoolkit.impactjustice.org/
Professor Nesson, could you please explain more why you think law professors acting as partial advocates in a public forum is a bad idea—especially considering it is what they do in court rooms. Professorial impartiality seems to be more of an illusion than anything, even in the classroom.
I think today's discussion was very informative. I now have a better understanding of abolition. I don't know if I'd be super happy about sharing my statement, because I feel like I wrote that for admissions and it had some personal info in it. I'd respectfully ask that we move away from impeachment as I feel like we've discussed it enough.
I was surprised that more conversations about prison abolition hadn't been happening at this school before. In some of the circles I'm in, it seems like a major thing being discussed. Curious to know for the folks who hadn't been exposed to it before -- is that because you hadn't sought it out, didn't know who to talk to, or weren't super interested?
I also loved small group discussions where I felt a lot more comfortable speaking. I'm also in favour of giving everyone the same grade, as I believe that would take away distracting incentives and encourage us to be more honest in our participation and engagement
I appreciated today's class. For one, it was one of the few occasions I've had to really learn about the prison abolition issue in a classroom setting, and one where I found myself really connecting on many different levels, in both the premises and potentially where we want to go. From my own perspective, these are the kinds of discussion that such an experimental class should be engaged in. I'd love some more back-and-forth on the cannabis issue--certainly would love to hear about how others think about it/propositions for how reform would be done there.
great discussion today and a true return to form (at least w/r/t the first 3 days of class). I also think a look at personal statements could be a revealing look at whether and how HLS as an institution shapes lawyers, their values, interests, and behaviors. If it does (or if we choose to see career choice as an indication of that influence), can we say HLS was a force for good? *shrugs* Very excited to see Fern tomorrow!!
I also loved the digression into Professor Nesson's personal experience regarding grading. It is an extremely rare and honest peek into the mysterious cloud of the grading process that I have never been able to get anywhere else.
I appreciate the way our group conducted our discussion regarding prison abolitionism. I acknowledge that a lot of the more progressive policies, most of which I subscribe to, can come across as radical – especially when first introduced. I appreciated how the more moderate and conservative participants engaged by asking questions and finding common ground. This strategy seemed to produce the “ideal discourse” we have been working toward this semester.
I really like the small group discussions. I feel I get to learn so much about all of the individuals in class, and it gives a forum to exchange/workshop ideas before sharing with the larger group. Also, Fern's absence is truly felt. At the very least, Nesson could break for questions every five/ten minutes or so. It makes the classroom experience feel almost useless when we sit and listen for what can feel like an eternity.
I also think giving us all H's would really lead to ideal discourse in that we are not participating in it in an attempt to get a good grade but truly and honestly in an attempt to create ideal discourse
Also think we should do pair discussions at some point, I think it would be really interesting to get down to the individual level and really discuss an issue with someone without any group that could be more pressuring if you're int he minority in it
@Luyten 726-8A I like the idea of sharing personal statements with the professor--maybe we can write summaries of what we wrote and post in threads as opposed to sharing the whole thing with each other if we felt uncomfortable about doing so?
While I think it is fantastic that the prison abolition discussions went so well, I wonder what about this topic made it more amenable to productive discourse than previous discussions. Clearly the topic is quite controversial and invokes a lot of emotion amongst individuals, yet we seemed to handle it well. If it has to do with how we conducted the discourse, it may be worth considering those factors and trying to apply them to future discussions.
Re: grades, I think giving people an H is a good idea. The way you described picking grades and it giving you a bar graph on what's "recommended" gives more credence that grades are just generally very arbitrary. if the purpose of the class is to have ideal discourse, which it seems all of us have had in a combination of threads, small groups and large group discussion, it seems weird to grade people lower than others. Almost implies that their participation in these topics was not as important or fruitful as others and I don't agree with that implication
I would love to maybe send an old personal statement and then write a personal statement that I would have sent today (perhaps considering what I've learned in class)-- would have been different for sure