Thursday, April 21, 2011

Please, Sir, May I View the Course Evalutations?

Some of you may have noticed that the rules have changed for course evaluations. If you don't do all of your evaluations, you no longer get to see any of the evaluations for any classes. Apparently the carrot of $50 Amazon gift cards wasn't working well enough and the administration had to get out the stick.

Now, usually this is the sort of thing that I don't even realize has occurred because I don't read emails from the administration unless they're from M*nd*, but so many of my peers have complained that I felt like it was at least worth discussing.

I understand, powers that be, that you want as much data available as possible. That makes sense, this information is helpful to us, we use it to choose classes and professors and I guess it helps make professors better teachers. I understand that you want us all to evaluate everyone. But, there are often reasons why people don't evaluate: maybe they forget to, maybe they don't care, maybe they feel like they'd be offensive to the prof if they were forced to. I cannot imagine that forcing individuals to fill out those forms is going to improve the quality of the teaching evaluations. Instead, you'll get lackluster or random responses from individuals who don't want to take the time, but feel forced to write something.

Also, let's be honest, it's a shitty way to treat a bunch of people who pay $42,000+ a year to take those classes. It's not a positive way to treat your students (and come on, let's be honest, we're paying customers and that's how the school, at the end of the day, views us).

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163 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they are going to treat me like a 5 year old, I'm going to act like one. I'm not filling any of them out to spite them.

Tear me apart dudes.

4/21/2011 5:39 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

So if I understand it correctly, (i) the school wants more participation in evaluations (ii) that were completely insignificant in light of the impossibly narrow 1-5 rating (iii) which in turn made them completely useless to students without the inclusion of comments (iv) by denying you access to said meaningless data?

Marge: "Homer, the plant just called. They said if you don't show up today, don't bother showing up."
Homer: "Woo Hoo. Four day weekend."

I guess this comment exchange from a previous thread is still relevant:

Anonymous said...

All of UCLA's prof evals (including substantive comments) are publicly available. If one UC can do it, I'm not sure why another couldn't.

I also agree that you shouldn't expect to learn the law you need to pass the bar in law school. Bar law = law that does not exist in any real jurisdiction (essentially, the majority rule for most issues, but in an overly simplified, inaccurate form). It's unfortunately something you have to learn for the test, but it sure as hell isn't something Boalt should be teaching, and it really isn't the role of a top law school to teach to the bar. Everyone here is smart enough to learn it in six weeks after they graduate. Spend your time here wrestling with more meaningful issues.

1/24/2008 9:36 PM

Armen said...

9:36, I've been away from UCLA for a few years now, but when I was there, the students used www.uclaprofessors.com to rate the profs. It was fairly comprehensive. I mean we still filled out the course evals and all that bull shit, but everyone picked their classes based on the website, and even more, a lot of students provided their input on the website, so it was pretty reliable.

That said, the website was sponsored with USAC funds. BHSA, I'm looking in your direction. What's the matter? Not enough markup on textbooks? No techies at Boalt to do the programing?

4/21/2011 5:41 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

And in case anyone with any power over these things is reading, let me simplify this for you: MAKE THE EVALS MORE HELPFUL TO STUDENTS AND THEY WILL FILL MORE OF THEM OUT! See Yelp.

4/21/2011 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always fill out my feedback, but feel frustrated by the disparity in formalized feedback we get from the school. Students have much more to gain from meaningful feedback than professors do.

If we don't go out and ask for it, we often only get a single letter of feedback (P, H, HH) in our classes. We are expected to give them multiple likert scales of analysis and invited to write multiple paragraphs on our professor's performance and provide suggestions for improvement.

4/21/2011 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This= VOTE OR MOTHAFUCKIN DIE,

4/21/2011 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forcing reviews are BS. I always filled them out before to be a good citizen or whatever, but this would make me rebel.

Oh, I'd still submit them to get the access, but they'd all be random Klingon words or ask "May I mambo dogface in the banana patch?" or something like that. When somebody treats me like a child, I try to meet their expectations.

4/21/2011 6:50 PM  
Blogger James said...

Thanks, P. Diddy.

4/21/2011 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the whole review process is it comes before final exams. I have had some great teachers I really liked give some exams that tested complete bullsh*t and OK teachers give exams that were more fair and on point.

Although I certainly see the problem with having evaluations open after grades come out, the quality of exam needs to be part of the process. Some really great teachers get lazy and are like here's a 48 hr 250 word limit take home exam, which is complete crap. I think students should be able to comment on the fairness of exams, and would be more motivated to write if we were allowed.

Last, on a tangent, I hate these damn take home exams, all exams should be in class. Especially these maddening ones with extremely long time frames and extremely low words limits, because we all know some students will take the complete time. Also, as lawyers, we are going to be in a constant time crunch, taking this skill out of examinations seems to make our grades less predictive our performance in the grinder. Just curious if others agree/ disagree.

4/21/2011 11:34 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

It's fine if you have a preference on take home vs. in-class. Opinions will probably be as sharply divided as thoughts on Hilary Swank's attractiveness. But I do take exception to the whole it's better lawyer training tool. Take my word for it, there's really not much in law school that prepares you for the practice, much less artificial in class exams. Arguably, if you want to prepare for the practice, then you would have all your exams be take home, and all due at the same time. That way, you will have all the resources available at your fingertips, and you have to decide how to prioritize your time.

4/21/2011 11:40 PM  
Blogger Andrew Fong said...

Armen, there are very few techies at Boalt who want to program anything (there's a reason we went to law school). And BHSA's funding sources aren't what they used to be.

4/22/2011 12:37 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

True, but the greater point is that if some undergrads can get a successful professor rating site going, why not intelligent folks at Boalt? All that's required is some creative thinking. For example, there's always the possibility of a joint venture with BTLJ. They can sell one of their thousands of gold bricks and hire a programmer. BTLJers will finally have the god-like powers they crave so much by having access to troves of personal data, and BHSA will satiate its need to be liked. It's a match made in heaven. Alternatively, BHSA can secure the funds on its own by entering the lucrative Berkeley drug trade. As a down side, this may open up a fierce turf war with ELQ. Pun, sadly, intended.

4/22/2011 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never once as a student did I use the course evaluations to make decisions about classes. They aren't helpful at all to students.

Also, if I'm graduating, then I don't have to bother filling them out, right?

4/22/2011 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone who's taken First Amendment law tell me if there's a compelled speech issue here? I mean, they're forcing you to say something, and denying you a benefit (which you've paid for) if you abstain from speaking. Thoughts?

4/22/2011 9:58 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I'm pretty confident the answer is "no." First, the school is not compelling you to say any particular thing; that is, you are free to utter whatever content you want. Second, I doubt a court would find compulsion here. There are many situations in which we must provide information in order to receive a benefit, and so long as the benefit is trivial enough that a person could reasonably forgo it, it isn't compelling.

The relevant case, the name of which I can't remember, is the challenge to the "live free it die" motto that used to be on all Massachusetts(?) license plates. There, both the content (a patriotic message) and the benefit (ability to drive) were substantial.

4/22/2011 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The case was Wooley; the state, New Hampshire. And Patrick is right.

4/22/2011 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any Chance we get a post about the Dean's disrespectful comments towards a fellow Boaltie. This is truly a new low for the leadership of this school and should be widely known.

4/22/2011 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wooley had to do with a criminal penalty for covering up the message, not specifically the compelled speech issue.

4/22/2011 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- - - - -
[Dear student]:

I understand that you are frustrated with the new penalty for non-submission of course evaluations. This policy came from the faculty's Curriculum Committee, with the agreement of its two student members. It is a response to a long-standing problem of students failing to submit their evaluations despite our frequent requests that they do so and the incentives we give them for compliance (participation in the raffle, access to the Student-to-Student comments, as well as access to the course evaluation quantitative data). If few students submit course evaluation data, then neither the Law School nor the students obtain a comprehensive picture of the effectiveness of our courses or instructors. Course evaluation data is just as vital to the Law School's ability to evaluate faculty for tenure, merit and retention reviews as it is to students seeking course selection guidance. We believe that the penalty of barring students from reviewing course evaluation data if they don't submit all of their evaluations will increase participation and impose a penalty only on those who choose not to participate in the evaluation process.

The faculty decided there will be no appeals process. Students' will be reinstated on December 15th if they submit all of their evaluations for the Fall 2011 semester. If you feel that the evaluations forms are ill-suited for evaluating certain classes, then I urge you to use the Student-to-Student question section of the evaluation form to give us your helpful comments about a class or teacher. Faculty should have given you time to complete the evaluations in class. If any of your instructors did not, please inform me who they are so I can discuss this matter with them.

On a separate note, I find the accusatory tone of your emails and their failure to address me by name to be inappropriate. If you had sent emails of similar form and tone to a partner at a law firm or other legal supervisor, you would likely face negative employment consequences. I am saving you the trouble of "forwarding [your] queries elsewhere and up the hierarchy" and am copying Dean E*ley and Dean H*rshen on this email so that they are aware of your views and how you express them.

Sincerely,

S*san R. Wh*tman
- - - - - - - - -
[Dean E*ley]
Thanks, S*san. In particular, thanks for taking the time to respond to [student] with such care. I completely agree with your note. ALL of it. -- CE
- - - - -

(continued...)

4/22/2011 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh, what's this about DE's "disrespectful comments?" Sounds like a student got way out of line...Please clarify, redacting the names that need redaction.

4/22/2011 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:24 = Student who wrote a bitchy email to Wh!tman after probably completely ignoring the issue while it was being debated by students/faculty and is now trying to shift blame to Edley - who the student believes singlehandedly caused the financial crisis, wrote the california constitution and instituted rising fees at boalt/berkeley. Classic member of the Boalt Whiner Class.

4/22/2011 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah...can the student post their original email?

4/22/2011 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so i have a random question. sorry that it's not the perfect post for it, but i didn't know where else to ask. hoping to benefit from some of the 3L/alums' experience. i'm currently #6 on the waitlist for choper's current SCOTUS seminar. there are 18 spots in the class. does anyone have any opinions as to how bad/good my chances are to make it into the class? (ps: i'm a rising-2L). thanks.

4/22/2011 7:22 PM  
Blogger Dan #2 said...

I fail to see why those of you who fill these out to be good citizens feel that this policy treats you like a child. Obviously, this policy isn't implemented for you, but is implemented for those who want to reap the benefits of reviews, yet don't participate.

Reviews play an invaluable role for the administration in evaluating the quality of faculty. Dean Wh!tman depends on student feedback to address problems with lecturers. Irrespective of whether you choose to look at the evals before you sign up for a class, or not, they are used for important administrative decisions.

What is wrong with the perspective of people here? Because of the implementation of this policy, people think that because they are being treated like children which justifies acting like it. Where is the internalized sense of what is right and wrong? If you think filling out the evals is right, then do it. If you think it's irrelevant, then don't. Carrots and sticks are for people with ill-formed senses of duty.

4/22/2011 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, am struggling to see the issue with the email quoted by 6:14. Is it that DE used caps (i.e., "ALL of it")?

The message from Wh*tman seems appropriate, particularly if the student used a sarcastic or unprofessional tone in his or her original email. I suppose it might help to see the content of the student's email. But even if the student's email was professional in tone, it's hard to see Wh*tman's and DE's response as a "new low for the leadership."

4/22/2011 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:29, the email you read is not the controversial one, that is why you are confused.

4/22/2011 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I see nothing wrong with either email that was posted. And I think it's very likely that the student's email was the only thing inappropriate in the exchange. I think some students think that they deserve the same customer-is-always-right treatment from the law school faculty that they get when they order their caramel macchiatos. It's disgusting, frankly.

4/23/2011 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, the emails posted above are only the initial round of the conversation. There is a later email by Edl*y that goes WAY over the top. Far beyond what any Dean should ever be saying to a student.

4/23/2011 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until I see otherwise, I will presume that some whiny entitled student was told that the world does not revolve around him, which I think is an acceptable thing for a Dean to tell a whiny entitled student. I would consider it an aspect of legal education.

4/23/2011 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waiting to see this mythical Edl*y email that goes "way over the top"...

4/23/2011 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hard to judge the email without the student's first comments for perspective.

Email please?

4/23/2011 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it seems like we're missing the key ingredients of the controversy. We need the student's initial email, the student's response to Wh*tman's email, and then CE's "over the top" response to the student. As of now, we only have the 2nd part of what appears to be a 4-part exchange of emails.

If someone with knowledge of the situation felt comfortable posting Wh*tman's response to the student, I don't see why they can't post the other pieces of the correspondence (with names redacted, of course).

4/23/2011 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted the first part of the email. I don't know why the second part won't post - I almost wonder if it's getting deleted. This was happening last night, too. I'll post, it'll appear to go through, but it won't show up.

4/23/2011 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing. If this is accurate, I am stunned by the last two sentences of CE's final reply. I was with him up to those last two sentences. The student seemed to deserve a pointed response. I cannot believe, however, that a dean of a law school would ever think it appropriate to suggest to a student that it may have been a mistake for the school to admit him.

By the way, we're still missing the student's original email to Wh*tman, which is what precipitated this whole exchange.

4/23/2011 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, 11:52. Your posts are getting deleted. A couple of minutes ago, your post of the second-half of the exchange was here, and I responded to it in my 12:00 p.m. comment. It's gone now.

4/23/2011 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is strange. Who would be deleting it? Spam post it! I'll keep refreshing, and screen capture it!

4/23/2011 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you fucking serious? I'm really getting censored?

(By the way, I'm NOT the student - just someone who happened to mosey by on Facebook and witness the chaos.)

Here's the pertinent part:

"However one characterizes the behavior, it plus the tuition you pay do not entitle you to be disrespectful toward the accomplished professionals preparing you for the practice of law. If you disagree with that statement, either we exercised poor judgment in admitting you, or you made a sad (and expensive!) mistake in coming here, or both. And, of course, mistakes do happen. -- CE"

4/23/2011 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got all afternoon, boys, and the email exchange in a word doc. I'll post this shit until it shows up or until someone proffers an explanation for why it's getting deleted.

4/23/2011 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- - - - -
Associate Dean Wh*tman:

I second Dean E*ley’s appreciation for the thorough response. Not as many thanks, however, for the gang-up.

My issue is not with the policy but with its expression, with your signature at the bottom. Reading the new “penalty” policy was like listening to someone gleefully wielding newfound power. Professionalism should run both ways, and both I and many of my peers found your expression of the matter very disrespectful.

Thank you as well for the professional tips. I would however point out that the students are not Boalt employees; in fact, you are our employee. We the students run the journals, clinics, and competitions. We pay the tuition which goes into your paycheck. We wipe the pizza grease off the desks after lunch and we fold paper ream boxes into makeshift trash bins for the student center offices because many have no trash containers. We compact the paper towel waste in the bathrooms because the thin and hardworking maintenance staff has enough to worry about, and we thank them for their work when we see them come around late at night. We also convince the admitted students to choose Boalt over Michigan, NYU, Columbia, and the rest because we believe in this school and what it has to offer.

We do all of this and never think twice about it. In return, we ask that the you show us some due respect. I continue to find that your expression of the penalty system was out of line.

Thank you for the invitation to complete course evaluations. For the first time, this semester, I will politely decline.

Regards,
[student]
- - - - -

4/23/2011 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- - - - -
"Employees"? Actually, [student], your are purchasing (at what is still a discount below cost) a legal education and a credential with value in the world. We do not have an employer-employee relationship with you, as a legal, economic or ethical matter. You are a student. A trainee. Yes, you are entitled to respect, as are we. Assistant Dean Wh*tman, a former judge, is in fact well qualified to advise you on your professional conduct and demeanor--which is what we expect from students being trained to be professionals.

We have searched for years to find ways to incentivize response rates in the course evaluations because they important to teachers, our faculty personnel decisions, and to future students. We have often and repeatedly consulted with elected student leaders, to solicit their ideas. Nothing has worked well, so we continue to try. When students don't participate, there are a lot of costs, including costs to student peers. Since exhortation has not worked well enough, the faculty concluded that some form of penalty is needed. (For your information, a couple of years ago we implemented financial penalties for faculty who turn in grades late. We did that because we respect the interests of our students.)

As to pizza boxes, and slovenly offices in the recently constructed student center, it is of course a very good thing when students clean up after themselves--which is far from universally the case--although I'm sure you would agree that it's more "adult" than heroic. However one characterizes the behavior, it plus the tuition you pay do not entitle you to be disrespectful toward the accomplished professionals preparing you for the practice of law. If you disagree with that statement, either we exercised poor judgment in admitting you, or you made a sad (and expensive!) mistake in coming here, or both. And, of course, mistakes do happen. -- CE
- - - - -

4/23/2011 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote: no big deal.

I'd still like to see the first email

4/23/2011 12:22 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

You're not being censored.

Sometimes blogger filters comments that are long, especially if they are copied and pasted. Try breaking your post into three or four parts, and then post them sequentially.

4/23/2011 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the student here was out of line in writing the email and calling our teachers employees.

Still, the fact that our Dean responded by resorting to the same or even lower level of maturity is embarrassing. Any reasonable adult would have responded by saying, hey that's offensive and disrespectful, and we should talk about this maturely in person if you want. Instead our Dean resorted by shooting back an equally infantile comment. This is truly embarrassing, as students we deserve a Dean who can conduct himself as professional.

4/23/2011 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing inappropriate, at all, about DE's email. He's calling a spade a spade, and pointing out rightly that we are paying to attend a vocational school. The Employee/Employer relationship mentioned by the student is again a Boalt Whiner Class fantasy, nothing more. Surprising that the student knows so little about the subject since he/she insinuates his/her deep knowledge of the labor situation at Boalt and seems well acquainted with the schools actual janitorial employees. And yes, cleaning up after yourself is what big boys and girls do.

Disrespecting administrators (which I will assume happened until I see a copy of the initial email), bitching about a reasonable and thought-out policy that was submitted to student review, and acting like a hero for cleaning up your own shit aren't things that I, or anyone with any reason and life-experience, including our very accomplished and widely-respected dean, want at Boalt.

Whatever crusade you're on, its pathetic. And to try and indict our Dean for calling you out on acting like a child only goes to prove his point. You, not DE, are whats wrong with this school - entitled, whiny and not much common sense.

- 7:05 p.m./3L

4/23/2011 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just in: DE is blunt sometimes. My feelings would be hurt too if he told me I didn't belong here, but I like that he's going to bat for a colleague and taking the time to respond to a single student complaint.

Maybe it's because I'm a 3L, but I don't understand why everyone is so worked up about this. Either contribute to the evals and use them later, or don't, and don't. Whatever you choose, STFU about it.

4/23/2011 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I miss an email from Wh*tm*an? Because the ones I got from her in no way sound the way the student described them.

To me, it seems like this student is just out to pick fights.

The penalty is hardly a penalty anyway. In my three years at Boalt, I've never seen or heard of any one use the course evaluations to make decisions about classes. They really provide useless information since they pretty much are all just "4.3" in all categories.

This student needs to get a grip.

4/23/2011 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wh*tm*n wrote: “If you had sent emails of similar form and tone to a partner at a law firm or other legal supervisor, you would likely face negative employment consequences.”

Bad comparison. We don’t write to supervisors and bosses in frank tones because they pay us and we want to keep accepting their money.

In contrast, we pay Wh*tm*n. Wh*tm*n doesn’t pay us. And we are increasingly asked to contribute even more money to make Boalt self-funding. If she wants to keep accepting our money, she can take her own advice and start being polite to the people who are dishing out the cash.

4/23/2011 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone show me this disrespectful email that Whitman sent out that precipitated all of this?

Right now, this just sounds like some dick being a dick.

4/23/2011 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you really find the results useful, you should probably be filling out the evaluations, penalty or no penalty--share and share alike. And if you don't find them useful, what do you care? Is it really worth getting bent out of shape "on principle"? I'm not even sure what principle's at stake here: all bureaucracies treat people like children!

Anyway, I think the penalty is an excellent idea. If the administration can't get the response rate up by threatening to deprive us of access to the results, it should send a pretty clear message that we might not find the results all that useful.

4/23/2011 1:51 PM  
Blogger L'Alex said...

This seems like alot of strife about a system that, in my eyes, could be a worthwile business opportunity for the unemployed among us. That's right, I intend to become Queenpin of the blackmarket for course evaluations next year.

So listen up, people who don't fill out their evals this semester - if you're just DYING to know whether Prof. R*ssi got a 4.6 or 3.4 in communication skills, or whether the work load is "good" or "too heavy" in Civ Trial, etc. etc. - find me on the new air bridge between the hours of 4-4:30 pm starting next September. Flat fee of $2 per ranking, payable by cash or check.

4/23/2011 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Right now, this just sounds like some dick being a dick."

Aff'd.

4/23/2011 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The student in question is one of the nicest and most respected students in the 2L class. Just sayin'

4/23/2011 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know anyone in the 2L class was respected. Jerks, the whole lot of them!

4/23/2011 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The student's final e-mail was really rude. Edley's response, given the circumstances, was not disrespectful in the least. This is what he said:

"However one characterizes the behavior, it plus the tuition you pay do not entitle you to be disrespectful toward the accomplished professionals preparing you for the practice of law. If you disagree with that statement, either we exercised poor judgment in admitting you, or you made a sad (and expensive!) mistake in coming here, or both. And, of course, mistakes do happen."

Honestly, I agree 100%.

Furthermore, there was nothing wrong with Wh**man's "expression" of the policy. Get a grip and stop acting like a petulant child.

4/23/2011 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps 3:21 is right, and the student who participated in this exchange is nice and respected. But, based on the evidence we have here, the student wasn't being particularly nice. And the student won't be respected for long, at Boalt or elsewhere, if that email is indicative of the tone he or she adopts when upset with others.

I think the student comes off poorly here, and we haven't even seen the initial email from the student, which I expect would make him or her look even worse.

4/23/2011 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone please post the first e-mail. I bet that it's shockingly rude.

4/23/2011 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone needs to tell DE to stop spamming the comments.

4/23/2011 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were DE, I would be able to post the likely horrid initial e-mail. But sadly, I have to depend on the charity of my classmates in order to get it on here.

4/23/2011 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or, you wouldn't post it because it's not bad and you'd say that instead.

4/23/2011 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This 9th tier institution is really spiraling down the toilet.

I'm transferring to Hastings.

4/23/2011 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we seriously get a stapler in the copy room? How hard would that be?

4/23/2011 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rapidly declining garbage institution. The community college of west coast law schools. Bathrooms always smell, trash strewn about in every class room. Used to have great job prospects, now quickly disappearing. No deals being made.

4/23/2011 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there were a stapler in the copy room, it would inevitably run out of staples, leading students to ask the tech support person--you know, the guy or girl in the copy room who stays in the back in that little tech support cage--to replace the staples. Chaos would ensue.

4/23/2011 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really the Golden Gate University School of Law of the East Bay.

4/23/2011 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least we are the most expensive law school in the country to attend, gotta consider the upside.

4/23/2011 5:50 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

This is an embarrassment. As if it wasn't enough that so many students were complaining–pretty vociferously in some instances–about the prospect having to fill out a few digital surveys, now someone thinks that gives them the right to disrespect our faculty? To tell them that they are "our employees?" And this is somehow justified by the fact that we "wipe the pizza grease off the desks after lunch?"

I don't know this student. I don't know what he is like or where he comes from. But where I come from, you clean up after yourself when you eat. And the fact that there is not someone to come and wipe up your mess for you does not give you the right to disrespect those that teach you, or anyone for that matter.

We are professionals-in-training. And this is the behavior of an adolescent, at best. I really wish it had not come from a Boalt student.

4/23/2011 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, for one, am happy for the penalty system. I think the optics of throwing out $200+ in giftcards/day to incent the kids to fill out the surveys are particularly bad when tuition is taking off like Rebecca Black's singing career. (Both foundation-less and meteoric rises.)

-Oscar Wilde

4/23/2011 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for this policy. People who aren't willing to put in the effort to provide feedback on Professors don't contribute anything to the feedback system. Why should they get anything out of it?

I speak as someone who usually forgets to do all my evals. Hopefully this will get me to get off my ass.

4/23/2011 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently Corey comes from a place that produces insufferable douches.

4/23/2011 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really wish Corey was not a Boalt student, yikes!

4/23/2011 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give Corey credit for signing his name. Most on here, myself included, are too cowardly to attach our actual names to our comments. I think it's particularly unseemly to hide behind a veil of anonymity while implying that another student is a "douche."

I don't agree with every word that Corey wrote, but I respect him for speaking his mind.

4/23/2011 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Corey. The student was acting like a child and got called out. This level of immaturity is shocking.

4/23/2011 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Edley feels the need to respond that way. It's certainly not a politically smart response and it's also pretty defensive/combative. The ad hominem isn't worth it.

4/23/2011 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still need the original email from the student for context, please!

4/23/2011 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're not going to get the original student email. Whoever wrote it has been trolling the blog all day and would've already released it by now if he/she was going to. Word will get around though, and that student will be known as that childish 2L instead of one of the most respected students in his/her class.

Also, lets see if we can make this the least important N&B post ever to get 100 comments.

4/23/2011 10:20 PM  
Blogger Dan #2 said...

I'm glad you're here Corey!

Let's go for 100! What do you guys think of this weather!?

4/24/2011 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This weather is perfect for studying. This thread... is not.

4/24/2011 8:32 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Wooley case maybe?

4/24/2011 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's all fun and games until some rhodes scholar who clerked for the supreme court gets his feelings hurt:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/professor-deeply-hurt-by-students-evaluation,20130/

4/24/2011 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

really, 9:55? "politically smart"?

there's no politically smart or politically dumb way to respond to a snide email from a student (regardless of how universal the respect and adulation they command from their peers...eyes rolling out the top of my head right now).

there are hundreds of students at Boalt, and from time to time, some among us are going to act like entitled pricks. i feel somewhat reassured knowing that DE has it in him to just tell someone once in a while to stfu rather than obsequiosly setting up meetings to discuss feelings and hug it out.

instead of posting their initial email, the student in question (or his friends) want to hide behind blanket statements about how respected he is. the only rational assumption is that the first email was a scorching bag of flaming turd that deserved the response it got.

does anyone think wh*itman would have bothered drafting THAT LONG of an email to a simple, polite "my feelings were hurt by your wording" email? i don't think she's that bored.

4/24/2011 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@2:13 *obsequiously

But *fantastic* word choice. I could not agree more.

4/24/2011 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't find DE's email offensive. The student's email was over the top. And I bet the first email was as bad or worse.

As to the main topic, I agree with others here who've said "fill them out if you're gonna use them later." You sow what you want to reap. I don't plan to use them but I filled them out anyway, just as I do every semester. Takes 2 min tops for classes/professors you don't care about.

4/24/2011 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, can we get a stapler in the copy room in the library? I wouldn't mind being punished for not filling out evaluations if there were a stapler in the copy room.

-Oscar Wilde

4/24/2011 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want a Swingline stapler in every computer lab because they don't bind up as much.

4/24/2011 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Disappointed 3L said...

I am so sick of this chain.

Can we also talk about how an email that was sent between a student and administration was posted online for everyone to rip apart.

Even if, as I have heard, the e-mail was posted on facebook someone had to decide to post it here on Nuts and Boalts.

Why? If you think the e-mail and response were ill-advised don't you think DE and Wh*man's responses were enough? Did we really all need to add our two cents.

I will end it with to err is human and to forgive is divine.

4/24/2011 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:59,

The only way this e-mail could have made it out is if the student posted it online or forwarded it to others. This student is so deluded that she (or he) thinks she is in the right. That's a huge failure.

Finally, I don't see what forgiveness has to do with me--it's not my forgiveness the student needs.

4/24/2011 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't understand how anyone could read Wh*tman's email to the student body as disrespectful in the way she expressed the new policy.

I don't see how anyone could read it or construe it in that way at all.

If this person explains how it was rude, then maybe I'd be more sympathetic.

4/24/2011 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:59: "Can we also talk about how an email that was sent between a student and administration was posted online for everyone to rip apart."

Are you implying that someone in the administration posted the email. If that in fact happened, then I would be upset.

But it sounds like either the student posted the exchange on boaltalk, or the student publicly posted the exchange elsewhere and then someone else posted it on boaltalk. If either of these things are true, it's hard to have much sympathy for the student involved in the exchange, especially when the student has not been identified here.

4/24/2011 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, if no one wants to talk about Swingline staplers, I am going to burn this blog down.

-anon 3:48

4/24/2011 8:02 PM  
Anonymous disappointed 3L said...

5:59 here,

my point is let's just be and let be. And not rip someone apart.

And to clarify: I am in no way accusing the administration nor necessarily the poster of the e-mail of underhanded behavior. That is why I included the comment that the rumor was that the person him/herself posted it on fb.

4/24/2011 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get a separate post on Swingline staplers for crying out loud? The anonymous people want what they want.

4/24/2011 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

91st!

4/24/2011 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that we're never going to see that first email. This disappoints me as I was planning to print several copies to use for wiping pizza grease off the tables in the student center.

4/24/2011 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of Boalt's selling points is its relaxed, collaborative, less douchey (relative to other top law schools) environment. If this whiny, bitchy thread is any indication of the kinds of students at Boalt, not only has it fallen in the rankings, but it has also lost an important element of its character.

4/25/2011 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A chicken in every pot and a Swingline stapler in every copy room!"

-Dean Edley

4/25/2011 7:58 AM  
Blogger Dan #2 said...

Before any admit or non-Boalties look to this as an example of our school environment, don't judge too quickly!

First, the internet brings out the whiniest people. They can hide behind anonymity and try and garner supporters. It's low stakes for the selfish.

Second, despite a few students' comments on here lamenting our draconian new rules (tongue firmly in cheek) many more are reasonable, grounded, and in my opinion more sane. Don't forget to look at them!

Third, I would have lost my mind at any other law school. Law school definitely changes you, but I know that here, I have the opportunity to try and direct my change in a way that is better for my goals and values. That doesn't mean that other places cannot, but it does mean, that here you can still try and maintain your dreams of having a garden for you and your cats to play in. That is most people's dreams, right?

I'd rather bathe in pizza grease than feel powerless to choose a path out of line with my values as a human.

xoxo!!

4/25/2011 8:19 AM  
Blogger James said...

It's interesting, because on Facebook, where no one is anonymous, the student who received these emails has received a ton of support from a wide portion of the Boalt community. It's only when you get to N&B do be start suggesting it's appropriate for administrators to use this sort of tone. I expect DE to be the bigger person in these situations, not to throw in snarky quips simply because he can.

I wouldn't have written the original post if many of my friends hadn't suggested it. These friends tend to be the kind of people who read nuts and boalts, but never post because of the general atmosphere in many of the comment threads. I thought N&B had gotten a little better this year, but it seems like that's inaccurate.

4/25/2011 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James,

I don't think DE was out of line here, but even if he was, this does not excuse the student's conduct.

And it isn't in the least bit surprising that this person's friends support him on Facebook. I wouldn't expect people who don't support this student to post that sentiment on his wall.

Where is the original e-mail? If this student thinks he did nothing wrong he should go ahead and post it.

4/25/2011 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, James. The problem is bias in anonymous comments, and among your non-anonymous facebook friends.

/sarcasm

4/25/2011 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, James. The problem is bias in anonymous comments, and not bias among your non-anonymous facebook friends.

/sarcasm

4/25/2011 11:12 AM  
Blogger McTwo said...

100th!

Course evaluations are serious business.

4/25/2011 11:30 AM  
Blogger James said...

I just think it's interesting how moralizing the anonymous hoard has decided to be. "Doesn't excuse his conduct," is a ridiculous thing to say about a semi-sarcastic/annoyed email.

4/25/2011 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James,

It's not as if the student was content to allow this to remain a private argument between him and the administration. No! After behaving like a child and getting shut down by DE, this person then turned to the community for support and released only half the e-mail exchange.

So to summarize:
(1) Student sends offensive e-mail.
(2) Student gets called out on it.
(3) Student sends a second offensive e-mail.
(4) Student gets called out on this second e-mail.
(5) Student is offended that one of his "employees" has the temerity to call him out a second time.
(6) Student decides to get back at the administration by revealing only 1/2 the story.

Yeah...

4/25/2011 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that those who support the sentiment expressed in the student's email are actually disappointed with anonymous moralizing per se. Rather, they're upset that the anonymous moralizing is going in the wrong direction.

I suspect that the student, or the student's friend who posted the email exchange on here, was expecting an avalanche of popular support for the student's childish response to Wh*tman's email. But it hasn't turned out that way. Had the anonymous comments in this thread largely echoed the student's silly rant against the policy, I doubt there would be much consternation about how "moralizing the anonymous board has decided to be."

4/25/2011 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think both DE and the student sound like twerps over this. But nice 100+ post thread, now back to shitty Flash games and not studying.

4/25/2011 1:57 PM  
Blogger James said...

1:57 gets it right, as usual.

4/25/2011 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed with James, while this guy clearly was stupid in what he wrote, it still does not justify our Dean acting like a complete baby in response.

DE should be a leader by example and be the bigger man. But this all represents a more troubling trend with him. Whether it be at a student meeting, speech, lunch whatever, the condescending and childish tone he gives to anyone who chooses to disagree with him is irritating and completely unprofessional. As a leader, he needs to learn to take things less personally, and if he can't, he should not be leading our school.

4/25/2011 5:47 PM  
Blogger Andrew Fong said...

So I looked into building a separate course evaluation system. The biggest problem is verifying that people who enter information into the system are actually Boalties, and that they actually took the course they're entering info for.

We can't hook our system into the school's systems in any way, because they could lock us out at any time, defeating the whole purpose of building a separate system in the first place.

So, honor code? Anyone think that would work?

4/25/2011 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anyone really going to be motivated enough to write a review for a professor they did not take? As long as you can track IPs to not have multiple votes I'm sure it will work.

4/25/2011 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew, what about requiring people to opt in before giving them a password?

4/25/2011 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could require evaluators to supply a berkeley.edu email address with their evaluations. The system would then hold submitted evaluations in abeyance until the student verifies his or her email address by clicking on a link in an email sent to that address.

4/25/2011 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our dean may not be the most politic dean out there. But so what? If you can't parry with him rhetorically without whining about the outcome, then you probably shouldn't be in law school.

4/25/2011 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it's too much to ask for a Dean who doesn't act like a five year old when he hears information he does not like?

4/25/2011 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:01pm, the Dean wasn't acting like a five-year old, the student was.

Sure, the Dean might have been slightly more testy than some would like a person of that position to be, but the student was just plain rude, and even worse, rude to someone who works tirelessly for our behalf already. From what I've read of the exchange (limited to what has been slyly leaked to this board), the student is the one being disrepectful. It's sad that DE and SW had to take on an almost parental role in rebuking him.

Professional school staff shouldn't have to tell students how to mind their manners. Period.

4/25/2011 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A student is exceptionally rude to the administration. He gets shut down. And the story somehow becomes that the Dean wasn't nice enough in telling him how things work? Are we in kindergarten?

This is the way the world works: When you are rude to your elders/seniors/teachers you occasionally get called out on it. Sometimes you might get upset and feel like it was "unfair" or that the person went too far. But in almost every case the correct solution is to learn your lesson and move on.

Let me tell you what is almost never the correct solution: Crying to your parents/friends/classmates that "the teacher was mean to me."

4/25/2011 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was inappropriate about DE's statement?

Was it wrong for him to point out that the student was dead wrong about the student-school relationship? Or was it wrong for DE to suggest that the student might lack the maturity required by the legal profession? Please be specific.

4/25/2011 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet the 2L who wrote the letter came straight through from ugrad. Or, alternatively, worked at a fake job for a year between college and law school (e.g., non-profit; congressional staffer).

4/25/2011 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Vivek said...

I believe that the student acted foolishly here. I cringe at the thought of patronizingly telling professors that they are our employees. And I dig the deans' snarky responses.

But I think those of us who feel that way can and should stop short of a) imputing this to anything more than a dumb mistake or b) heading down the path of sweeping generalizations about large groups of our peers.

Having done my fair share of stupid things and sent my fair share of regrettable emails, I'm hoping for some charity when my inevitable fifteen seconds of ignominy comes around.

4/25/2011 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The student was incorrect about his/her relationship to the school. We're actually the school's clients, not employers. We pay a large amount of money for a service and a piece of paper (mostly the piece of paper, the education we get at Boalt isn't that different from any other decent law school). Academics hate to be reminded of the fact that what they do is completely commodified. Remind an academic of this, get head bitten off.

4/26/2011 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vivek, per usual, speaks the truth.

4/26/2011 11:17 AM  
Blogger Andrew Fong said...

@9:13, what do you mean by opt-in? Like -- physically verify the person?

@9:42, good idea -- problem is that students can have up to 3 @berkeley.edu addresses. We can combine with IP address and just hope no one's enough of a douchebag to enter in three reviews I guess.

4/26/2011 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@afong:

Yeah, there are a bunch of ways to make sure that people aren't duping. The most obvious one is to check the IP address of the person clicking the link, but this is problematic because people on the Berkeley wireless networks share a few public IPs (this wasn't always the case, but it now is--wireless IPs are NAT'd). You could get around this by using cookies instead of checking source IPs, but then people could clear their cookies (or use different computers) to get around the source checking. All of these would obviously require someone really interested in giving Professor R*kowski all 5s/7s, but such people exist.

Instead of all of this, you could force people to make their berkeley.edu addresses public on the Berkeley Directory (directory.berkeley.edu) before submitting a review, and then the server could do an LDAP search of the Berkeley LDAP server to verify the address. This would be a roundabout way of requiring individualized authentication, because the directory only allows students (and everyone else) to have one e-mail address active at any given time.

There are still more ways to get around explicitly asking the campus for the ability to use its CAS, but the point of all this is that it's possible. No solution is perfect, however.

4/26/2011 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of off topic related to 3L contributions but is there anyway Boalt could start a Graduation unemployment fund? I mean people on LRAP are already well provided for and do have jobs. Wouldn't it be nice if people with jobs could donate to their 3L classmates who after loan deferrment will be forced to go on welfare and potentially face homelessness? Shouldn't that be the first place for our funds rather than LRAP?

4/26/2011 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're kidding, right? I am in that same unemployment boat, but you must be kidding about this, right?

4/26/2011 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to take a moment to reflect that maybe this whole mess could have been avoided by using some word other than "penalty." I don't mean to blame anyone, but I think that word choice got a lot of people's ires up.

4/26/2011 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ "Oscar Wilde"

Careful. If there's one thing that DE has taught me in his public responses to 3 years of skyrocketing tuition and slashed services, it's that anyone who actually expects the $45k/year they shell out to this school to actually buy anything (you know, like a stapler, or adequate custodial staff) is an entitled brat.

4/26/2011 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:47,

Let's list a few things that we do get:

(1) A new student center.
(2) Journal offices with computers.
(3) The new patio.
(4) Classes from a number of great professors.
(5) LRAP (which is pretty amazing for the classes before 2013 and pretty good after).
(6) Summer stipends.
(7) OCI (for students interested in firms).
(8) Clerkship application support.
(9) Clinics.
(10) Great lunchtime speakers.
(11) A valuable credential.
(12) The law library.
(13) The new student meeting spaces.
(14) The new classrooms.
(15) A computer lab.
(16) Power at every classroom seat (that wasn't true a few years ago).
(17) Access to CDO (they can't guarantee you a job, but they can help).
(18) Wireless access.

So yes, crying about not having a stapler exactly where you want it is pretty bratty.

4/26/2011 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Generally I side with 3:01 over 2:47. Except that our custodial staff does suck in a major way.

4/26/2011 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:47 here.

3:01: exactly.

Look, obviously we get some things and are deficient in others. But we're now officially the most expensive school in the country for the vast majority of the incoming 1Ls who will be coming here from out of state. When you take a look at any of our peer schools, I don't think it's much of a stretch to point out that we don't exactly get great bang for our buck.

And the "great lunchtime speakers" aren't paid for out of tuition, for the most part. Journals and/or independently-funded institutes like BCLT and the Henderson Center pick up the tab for most speaker events out of separate fund sources including member dues, donations from local firms, subscription fees and Westlaw/Lexis pings.

4/26/2011 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And like DE's dismissal of the slack the students have had to pick up in the face of declining services, I would characterize the vast majority of your numbered list as comprising a bare minimum baseline for an institution with elite aspirations rather than anything that could reasonably be called a "perk."

4/26/2011 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2010-2011 Fees


Boalt: $44,244.50/$52,244 (instate/ out of state)
Columbia: $52,301
NYU: 46,840
Chicago: ~48,000*
UVA: 44,650/49,650* (instate/out of state)
Stanford: ~51,000*
U Penn: 51,104*
Michigan: $44,410
Duke: 51,275**

Keep in mind you can get in state after 1 year.

* (Tuition + Medical + Student Life fee, if broken out. These are already included in the other schools' figures so I added them in if they were left out. These fees are approximately the same for all schools.)

** Duke breaks theirs down into a number of fees. I added all the mandatory ones back in.

4/26/2011 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Keep in mind you can get in state after 1 year"

Subject to increase, of course. Which, in recent years, has occurred at a rate far higher than the national average.

4/26/2011 4:58 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown said...

This is amazing jackassery. The image we’re painting for our 0Ls is terrible. If you care enough to complain about the evaluations penalty, then you either care about access to future evaluations, or you are just upset because the admin isn’t afraid to use a stick to get the job done. If you’re concerned about future evaluations, you should stop being so selfish. If the rising 3L class had done a better job with their evaluations, than we n00bish 1Ls would have a better clue of what we’re taking next semester.

If you’re just upset because of the penalty, deal with it. The policy will help future Boalties and it won’t hurt you one iota. And if the pain you feel is because you want to view evaluations without contributing to them, then you shouldn’t be here; wrong fit.

To counter some of what I’ve heard about forcing students to contribute who have nothing good (or something bad) to say. Those with nothing good to say don’t have to leave comments in the provided space, and for those who have something bad to say… let’s not pretend that they need this as an excuse to post an anonymous rant. Just read some of the comments above. Anonymity breeds bravado.

4/26/2011 4:58 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

4:58 (1st) -- Yes, when X (cost of attending Boalt) is Y (cost of attending a private law school) minus 15 to $20,000, and your stated goal is to increase fees until you are at Y minus $5,000, then by definition X will increase at a greater rate than Y. Thank you for the lesson on the obvious.

4/26/2011 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:46, do not see why you find it so shocking that students from our school will probably have to go on welfare and could face homelessness. If you do not have a job, and don't have a social safety net, you need money to live which can only come in the form of welfare (if you can even qualify for this).

4/26/2011 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How on earth does the tuition hikes being planned affect the fact that the in-state "advantage" is disappearing?

4/26/2011 5:41 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I don't know how a plan to increase in-state tuition so that it's pegged to private school tuition affects increase of in-state tuition. I just simply cannot articulate an effect there.

4/26/2011 5:50 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Boalt 5 Years Ago -- We're going to raise in-state fees until they are $5 grand below peer schools.

You - Oh my god, in-state advantage is down to $5k.

...

Maybe I'm too dense, but what's the point here? You're shocked that the school has been sticking with its plans? You weren't aware of the plans? Yes, yes, you told Brandt on the phone and he told me.

4/26/2011 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how this conversation has gone.

Point: "Boalt is more expensive than other schools, so it's fair and not at all "whiny" or "entitled" to question whether we receive adequate services compared to what students at other schools receive."

Counterpoint: "Not really: see, here's the breakdown. We're really only the second-most expensive school among our peers, because Columbia beats us by about $80. Plus, after 1 year you get in-state tuition."

Rebuttal: "Yes, but the current in-state tuition isn't an accurate reflection of the future discount, because it will increase at a rate higher than that of peer schools."

Interjection: "The hikes are planned! Moron!"

I hope you now see the source of my confusion as to how the existence of a plan to raise tuition is in any way relevant to this discussion.

4/26/2011 6:05 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Actually that does help clarify. So I'll clarify as well. Looking retroactively at the rate of increase tells you very little at the rate of increase going forward. So in the past five years, the increases have been amped up to go from a substantial discount for in-state fees to $5 grand off from peer schools. It's not like in-state fees are suddenly going to be $10 grand more than Harvard next year. Who knows what the regents will do, but you can expect us to follow Michigan and UVA roughly.

As for the greater point about the services you get, I do have to quote the original Boalt Briefs extensively:

After a summer away from school, 2L’s and 3L’s returned to find that in-state fees would be $8,146 for the fall 2003 semester, a 45-percent increase over what they had paid one year earlier. Many were understandably upset, but Dean Berring was quick to reassure them.

“It’s true that our fees are approaching those charged at private institutions,” said Dean
Berring. “But that doesn’t mean students can’t expect the same level of public-institution service that we’ve always offered.”

“Boalties are used to a certain way of doing things,” added Berring. “And I think when they saw we didn’t have enough yellow
planners for them, they knew everything was going to be alright.”

4/26/2011 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the relative expense of Boalt depends a bit on whether you think we're at the end of the heightened fee increases or not. I remain a bit skeptical that we'll start moving in step with Michigan and UVA, though obviously I concede that we will not continue to double or triple the increases at those schools every year.

Either way, the larger point is that I get bummed that the administration thinks it's appropriate to hurl insults whenever students suggest that there are any deficiencies in the services we receive for a tuition that is by any standard very, very expensive.

4/26/2011 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Berkeley's in state tuition seems much lower than the tuition at most schools. Its out of state tuition is on the high end of the spectrum, but still not outside the range of peer schools.

In addition, most students do not pay the out of state premium for all three years. So its not as if Boalt's cost over three years is as much as most peer schools.

6:34,

I don't think its true that the administration "hurls insults" every time students suggest there are deficiencies. In fact, I think the administration has repeatedly acknowledged that janitorial services are less than ideal.

The fact is our tuition has been below market for many years. Now that its finally catching up we are getting more of the services that a top school should have. However, it is going to take some time. The school has to plan new facilities, hire faculty, fund an endowment, and, yes, buy more staplers.

4/26/2011 7:30 PM  
Blogger Andrew Fong said...

Two things re. tuition increase:

(1) Some of the increased tuition has gone towards funding construction. Now that construction is nearing completion, this might mean we finally start getting new staplers.

(2) In theory, increased tuition isn't quite so bad if it also means increased LRAP and other aid. It's a form of redistribution very much in line with Berkeley's liberal leanings. Does anyone have figures on tuition relative to other schools after it's been normalized for aid? i.e. how does our LRAP compare to Michigan's?

4/26/2011 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What’s lost from this discussion is the fact that the “market” for law school tuition is at an unsustainably high level. Maybe tuition can keep going up, and only up, forever (remember what they said about housing prices?), completely divorced from the actual value of a law degree, but I hope for the sake of future law students this is not true. With nearly 10,000 Biglaw jobs lost in the last two years (See Here) and the tuition levels at top law schools implicitly tied to the availability of 160k+ private sector starting salaries, how long can tuition keep skyrocketing?

4/27/2011 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see a chart which graphs the correlation between x (length of time until finals) and y ( comments on any given post). My sense of procrastination, and the number of comments on this generally uninteresting post, would tell me there is a strong inverse correlation in the two weeks leading up to finals (and I predict a sharp direct correlation once finals start). My sample size is small though. Stats geeks....GO!

4/27/2011 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Chris Brown: Please. Just because you used to be a cop, doesn't mean you are entitled to authority around here. Stop talking to us like we're your damn subjects.

4/27/2011 12:20 PM  
Blogger Jackie O said...

@A. Fong - It wouldn't be very helpful to compare our LRAP program with other schools, because after this year there will be no LRAP program. I might write a separate post about this soon, but I really wish Boalt students would stop singing the praises of "LRAP" to incoming students who are considering public sector careers. Students should know the truth, which is that to pay off loans with a public sector career it will require ten years of public work, dramatically increased debt should you ever leave the program, and faith in the federal government to fulfill their promise 10 years from now.

As for the class of 2012, the last beneficiaries of LRAP, LRAP is unfeasible for many of us, since it only covers $100,000 of debt and the majority of us will leave with significantly more than that, thanks in large part to fee increases that hit mid 1L year.

4/27/2011 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, there's no more LRAP? Seriously?

4/27/2011 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A cop with a false sense of authority, not everyday you see one of those... anyway seconded on the LRAP comment. All the most vehement defenders of Edley are 1Ls for a reason. They haven't had at least half their friends strike out at OCI. They don't know people who will be graduating this school without a job or any realistic hope of finding one. They think that if they strike out at OCI (a sure bet because Boalt is the greatest), they will easily fall into government or pub int work.

What they don't realize is that less than half of them will get high paying work, and the rest will be lucky to find work at all. That if they find a government job, they are relying on an IBR program that may not be around much longer, and an LRAP program that is about to implode due to the exponentially increased subscriber-ship. This will then lead an unrepayable mountain of debt which cannot be discharged for any reason.

4/27/2011 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should definitely write a post about LRAP. Bump this shitshow down the page a bit. And while you do, if you know the answer, will you address what happens to people with more than $100,000 in debt? They're not just foreclosed altogether from the program, are they?

4/27/2011 2:39 PM  
Blogger Jackie O said...

Well, I don't share 2:22's sense of doom. To say that 50% of our class will be unemployed is false. And I think our numbers at OCI this year were actually quite improved, though I guess we'll wait on CDO for the official word on that.

But yes, there is no more LRAP. Boalt decided it's no longer necessary thanks to the government IBR and PI loan forgiveness programs. The fact that more people don't know about this (especially 1Ls and incoming students) is disheartening to me. Think long and hard about how you plan to pay off six figures of debt before you take it on. You should be prepared to work really hard in school in order to then work really hard in a big firm for several years, or to work really hard in school to then work really hard in the public sector for 10 years. If that's a commitment you're ready to make, then I hope to see you at Boalt.

4/27/2011 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jackie:

Your statement that there won't be LRAP is false, sort of. Instead, the new LRAP will cover the amount due under the IBR repayment plan. You are right that this LRAP program is *significantly* worse than the current one.

Let's see how the 2013 LRAP program would affect a student with $150,000 in debt and a job a $50,000. We can play around with the numbers later.

At that income level and level of debt, the student owes $420 in IBR payments each month. Interest on the loan is actually around $980. Therefore you end up accruing around $540 in interest each month. This interest gets added back in to the total amount you owe (although I'm not sure if it gets capitalized in or gets held in a separate pool).

Bottom line: If you don't make additional payments, your loan increases by about $6000 a year. At the end of the first year your $150,000 loan is actually $156,000. At the end of the second year $162,000.

Of course, if your income increases your IBR payment and, as a result, your LRAP payment increase as well. (This benefit starts phasing out at around $65,000 in annual income and disappears at $100,000)

If you stay with public service for 10 years, the entire loan will be forgiven. Alternatively, even if you leave public service and go do something else, your loan is forgiven in 25 years.

Of course, the fact remains that LRAP is a loan repayment "assistance" program. It is not a way to make law school free. You remain free to make additional monthly payments to prevent or reduce the negative amortization on the loan. Yes, this will not be pleasant.

Takeaway: Do NOT leave public interest for 10 years and you are golden. Otherwise you are screwed.

In contrast, the current LRAP offered to 2011 and 2012 graduates is pretty awesome. A student with $150,000 in debt owes $1800 a month on the 10 year plan. LRAP will pay $1200 of this, and the student will need to pay the additional $600 a month. This works out to a 14k annual benefit--tax free. And the best part is that you can leave public interest at any time with no consequence.

4/27/2011 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are assuming IBR will stay which seems dubious given that it would be an easy way to cut some money. If IBR is cancelled you will be in debt until you die, but hey your loans are forgiven at death, so you got that to look forward to. Thank the lucky stars I'm not a 1L.

4/27/2011 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that the federal government would cut that benefit for already granted loans. I don't think that they have ever done that in the past. More likely they will say that future loans cannot qualify for IBR. If and when that happens, the school and prospective students can react accordingly.

4/27/2011 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:22. No "realistic hope of finding a job?" Really? I understand that everyone didn't get their dream job during OCI. Myself very much included. But the woe-is-me, I'm so unqualified to do anything attitude will be far worse for you than any extrinsic economic of academic factors. You have/will have a law degree from a top 10 school. Use it. Apply yourself. STAY POSITIVE. And for the love of god, quit bitching (or at least isolate your bitching by posting anyonymously on blogs - which I fully condone if it makes you feel better).

4/27/2011 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not someone only applying or foolish enough to call OCI my dream job. I have been applying myself and applying to everything available (including volunteer positions). I have been rejected by jobs that pay a salary similar to that which I would expect to earn at McDonalds. It's true, no one can take my Top 10 law education from me, but I didn't need such an education to work for the same money of your average drywaller or electrician. I guess that makes me a snob, whatever.

4/27/2011 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Chris Brown

I wanna have your babies.

xx

4/27/2011 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:04,

Do you think it's a matter of grades or something else? What are your grades like?

4/27/2011 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in a similar boat to 5:04, with reasonable grades (top 25%).

4/27/2011 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:14,

That's really weird. Are you PI or BigLaw focused?

Top 25% was certainly good enough to get a firm job during OCI. It is also more than enough for a ton of govt jobs.

If you are PI this sort of makes sense. A lot of PI places don't hire until after you pass the bar.

What do you think is going on?

4/27/2011 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:14 here: I tried the big law route in SF, got a number of callbacks but no offers. Aimed primarily at small offices, which probably hurt (especially being a non-diverse candidate). Probably should have applied to LA and NY markets in addition to SF.

As far as government goes, DAs offices in the bay area are barely retaining the lawyers they already have, let alone hiring people fresh out of law school. Hopefully that will turn around in the next couple of years...

Ultimately, I am sure I do not interview as well as many other people. My grades are good enough to get them interested, but not good enough to get me a job based upon them alone.

4/27/2011 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:04 here, umm I have no idea what rank I am, have very few Ps mostly Hs a couple HHs or so.

4/27/2011 10:31 PM  
Blogger Alex Bandza said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/27/2011 10:50 PM  
Blogger Boomtime said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/28/2011 9:42 PM  

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