Monday, November 14, 2016

UCI Forum on the Election



Held today, 36 hours after students expressed interest. The panelists are all professors in the law school and are from left, Mario Barnes, Christopher Leslie, Jennifer Chacon, Seth Davis, Song Richardson -  and the moderator, dean of the law school, Erwin Chemerinsky. Some will remember that Dean Chemerinsky was IVC's commencement speaker last May.

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's funny is how Erwin Chemerinsky used our commencement to assure us that Trump can't be elected.

Rebel Girl said...

Actually, 5:12, Chemerinsky did not say what you say he did. here's the relevant section of his speech. (I'd post the entire text but the system won't let me; it's too long.


Commencement Speech – Irvine Valley Community College – May 24, 2016

Graduates of the Class of 2016, congratulations! This is truly your day to celebrate the hard work and enormous learning that brought you to this milestone in your life. For some of you, this will be the end of your formal education. For some, it will be the foundation for the next step in your education. But for all of you it is a day to pause and celebrate your accomplishments.....

...Third, be nice. I realize that this might sound strange, and perhaps even trite, coming from a college commencement speaker. But it reflects my being increasingly upset at the nastiness and meanness that I see as part of our public rhetoric. Let me take examples from the field I know best, constitutional law. Just last spring, one justice referred – in print – to another justice’s opinion as quote, “nonsense” and as “gooblyedgook.” In another case, he wrote, “If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began [with language like that in Justice Kennedy’s] I would hide my head in a bag.” Such language does not belong in a judicial opinion, or even being said.

I never have seen the degree of meanness from presidential candidates that has been evident this year. I do not mean this as a partisan statement or an attack on the candidates of one party or of any particular candidate. But I never have seen a political campaign with the nastiness of this one. To pick one example, one candidate, in a tweet wrote, naming a particular media figure that she “is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”

I worry that reflects something deeper in our society. I worry how social media has contributed to the change in our discourse. Tweeting – saying something in a few words and without face to face contact – lends itself to the nasty comment and retort. We are at a time when snark is celebrated.

I urge you to resist and to emphasize niceness in how you interact with and deal with each person. In part, I could justify this in instrumental terms. It is a far smaller world than you can imagine. The people you interact with will be parts of your life in ways that are impossible to know.

Being remembered fondly and as a nice person will pay dividends in ways you cannot imagine. It was Maya Angelou who said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And if that is not persuasive, be nice because it will make you feel better about yourself. As I have gotten older, I have realized the importance of acting in a way that causes me to feel good about myself and how I am treating others.

There is a wonderful scene in Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, where a group that has shared an intense experience is about to go its separate ways. One of the group stands on a table and says, “in the years ahead, whether we find success or fall into misfortune, still let us remember how good it once was when we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling that made us perhaps better than we really are.”

If your time here made you better – more knowledgeable, better at thinking, more aware of injustice, more caring – then you have accomplished all you could in the time that you have had here. Then now is truly time for commencement, a time to celebrate the completion of this chapter in your life and the beginning of the next.

Anonymous said...

Facts are important.

Anonymous said...

Facts are, indeed, important.

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