Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legacy

This Tuesday Tip was written in collaboration with Legal Studies professors Mahalley Allen and Maitreya Badami.

Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union litigating cases advancing gender equality, before she was a federal appellate court judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and before she became the second woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, she was a professor, first at Rutgers Law School and then at Columbia Law School.

During her early career as a law professor, Ginsburg’s students asked her to teach a seminar on women and the law. Preparing to teach that class and finding there was little in the law about women’s place in the world set Ginsburg on a path to becoming a legal and feminist icon who changed the law in this country, not only for women, but for everyone.

In Our Revolutionary Spirit, a short film celebrating Rutgers’ 250th anniversary, Ginsburg reflected that her students “sparked my interest and aided in charting the course I then pursued. Less than three years after starting the seminar, I was arguing gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court.” In turn, Ginsburg inspired her students, working tirelessly with them as the first Rutgers Law School faculty advisor for the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, now the country’s oldest law journal focusing on women’s rights. While a professor at Columbia Law School, she invited her students to help prepare legal cases she was litigating on behalf of the ACLU. Since her passing on September 18th, many of her former students have released moving tributes about her influence on their lives.

Professor Ginsburg’s career, and the relationship she had with her students, is a powerful reminder of the importance of both inspiring students through experiential learning and letting students inspire us in return. Some of the very practices she applied in her classes are what we now define as high-impact educational practices. Our profession is one that feeds off this formidable exchange of ideas, experiences, and connections. While her career as a professor might not be what she will mostly be remembered by, we want to pay tribute to her today through the meaningful opportunities she created for her students and the endless impact of her teachings.

Forget I ever said that…

Image result for orange coast college

A flurry of national stories has highlighted the topic of recording classroom discussions. Earlier this year at Orange Coast College a student was suspended for recording his professor’s views about President Trump and then publishing them. At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference a workshop encouraged students to do that exact thing. Have you had a student record you? Without your knowledge? How would you know?

These are all complicated questions, so I did some reading and research.

  • FindLaw has an excellent article on the legal dynamics at work in these situations. California is a “two-party consent” state when it comes to recording. While this is typically in reference to wiretaps, they argue the same principles apply in the classroom.
  • Student Judicial Affairs provided some guidance: “Unlike other campuses we do not have a campus policy on classroom recording except: 1) Title 5 governing student conduct does state, in part, the “Grounds for Student Discipline include “unauthorized recording, dissemination, or publication of academic presentations (including handwritten notes) for commercial purpose.” 2) ARC has a specific policy on “Audio Recording Lectures” which states that students are eligible for audio-recording accommodations if their disability impairs access to classroom lectures. (see ARC for the process for requests).”

My strong recommendation is that if this if you are concerned about this you should create an explicit policy for the syllabus. Students often have legitimate reasons for wanting to record class, and their peers may have good reasons for not wanting a discussion recorded. Having a policy requiring consultation prior to recording is consistent with the law and gives you an opportunity to consider the interests of all your students.

Finally, a few reminders.

Join us for an open forum on Community Based Scholarship hosted by Faculty Development and Civic Engagement. Selvester’s 100 3/10 1-3pm.

Faculty Development is searching for the next director!

We held a popular workshop on Dossier Prep for Lecturers earlier this semester. Find the video archive and handouts here.

Dr. Sara Cooper has provided additional Book in Common Material. Check out this section of the CELT page for regular synopsis updates, discussion questions, and other resources.
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