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Legal News: Law Blog - WSJ.com
Taking Stand Against ?Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell?, VT Law School Bars Military
By Dan Slater
How much does it cost a law school to bar military recruiters from campus? If you’re the dean of the Vermont Law School, whose endowment is about $14 million, you may be denied federal research money to the tune of $300,000 to $500,000.
According to the one analyst’s estimate, that’s the price that Vermont Law’s Jeff Shields, the school’s president and dean, is giving up in order to take a stand against the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prevents openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military. Here’s the story from the NYT’s Katie Zezima.
“Every once in a while an issue comes to a community and, despite a cost, it comes to the conclusion that it has to stand up for its principles,” said Shields. “It has to do with speaking truth to power, and it’s one of those roles that those of us lucky enough to be trained as lawyers hopefully take from time to time.”
In 2006, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, upheld a law — the Solomon Amendment — that withholds some federal money from law schools and universities that do not give military recruiters the same access to campus as other employers. (William Mitchell law school in Minnesota also bars recruiters from its campus, but apparently loses no money since it’s research isn’t financed out of four spending bills affected by the Solomon Amendment.)
Richard Eckley, a former marine and 2L at Vermont law, doesn’t agree with the school’s decision to bar military recruiters, saying it is not constructive. But Kathy Stickel, a student who served in the Army and who is also a lesbian, doesn’t think the school should change its policy. “There’s great value in doing something right when there’s a cost attached to it,” Stickel said. “You shouldn’t change because someone is waving money in front of you.”
Vermont Law School’s Keg Tossing Contest: When we were searching for a picture of Vermont Law, we came across two photos of burly, youngish looking guys tossing what appear to be 16-gallon kegs across a campus lawn. At first, we figured they must be undergrads. But the captions prove us wrong. The two men, Justin Mowitz (pictured) and Mark Seltzer — both Vermont law 3Ls at the time — were competing in the annual beer keg toss competition as part of the law school’s annual Oktoberfest celebration. (Photo: AP)
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