Blowback Against Harvard Law’s Decision to Hold Classes Online
June 22, 2020
After announcing that it will provide online instruction for the 2020 fall semester, Harvard Law held webinars and posted online responses to questions on topics such as tuition, grading, and leave of absence considerations. The responses drew criticism, and students drafted a petition for an alternative model. Some say remote learning will lower the quality of their legal education and disadvantage students facing difficult living situations. Others described the information provided by the school as vague and insensitive. A Law School student is quoted as saying the webinars included “insulting” comments from administrators, such as advising debt-ridden students to rent an office space if they need a quiet place to study. An Assistant Dean suggested that students should be grateful to experience an online education since the legal profession is increasingly relying on remote work. A petition signed by more than 400 students and alumni voiced concerns about remote learning. It included a survey showing that more than 80 percent of respondents would choose to defer their education if the Law School does not amend its policies for the fall. In his response, Harvard Law Dean John Manning cited health risks to students and faculty.
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