Open Records Reveal Personality Clashes, Power Struggle at Thurgood Marshall

One of Texas’s public law schools has reeled during the past year under the stress of a censure from the nation’s law school accreditor, exacerbated by personality clashes between leaders of the law school and central university.

A series of bad publicity has unveiled problems within Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The first problem became public in July 2017, when the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, which accredits law schools, issued censures against the school for violation of an anti-discrimination accreditation standard, as well as multiple academic standards. Another round of negative press hit in October 2017, when TSU President Austin Lane abruptly canceled a law student organization’s event, which drew rowdy, disruptive protesters. The fiasco—participants said the university violated their free speech—was quickly followed by the resignation of interim law school dean James Douglas.

Documents obtained through a Texas Public Information Act Request reveal details pertaining to personality clashes and power struggles between Lane and Douglas. Interviews with Douglas and former dean Dannye Holley provide more insight about what happened behind the scenes, before and after the ABA’s censures.

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PDF: Open Records Reveal Personality Clashes, Power Struggle at Thurgood Marshall _ Texas Lawyer

ABA Fines, Publicly Censures Law School

Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law was publicly censured and must pay $15,000 for not complying with an American Bar Association standard that prohibits schools from discriminating against faculty members.

In the public censure, the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar also found Thurgood Marshall Law violated an ABA standard requiring schools to file complete, accurate, and not misleading information to the ABA each year. In a second matter, the ABA section ordered remedial actions that raise questions about the school’s legal education program, academic support for students and its admissions practices.

James Douglas, interim dean of Thurgood Marshall Law, denied that there is sex discrimination or sexual harassment happening at the school.

Published on TexasLawyer.com on July 21, 2017.

PDF: ABA Fines Publicly Censures Law School for Noncompliance With Anti Discrimination Standard _ Texas Lawyer