No time for patience

As students were settling in for midterms, hopeful for a change in weather during spring break, a piece of news broke across the university that, while not creating much buzz on campus, stirred an already rampant conversation across the internet and throughout academia. On March 1, 2014, Lawrence Mitchell, Dean of the Case Western School of Law, resigned.

For those unfamiliar with the scandal surrounding Mitchell, the story is one replete with drama, fodder for a good Hollywood screenplay if there ever was one. In late October 2013, law professor Raymond Ku filed a suit against the former dean, naming Case Western Reserve University as a co-defendant. Ku, a tenured professor and former associate dean, alleged that Mitchell committed sexual harassment against law school faculty and staff. Mitchell is accused of touching female staff members inappropriately, propositioning students for sexual intercourse, and making disparaging comments about women including that one student was “wasn’t good for anything but keeping the bed warm.” When Ku tried to report the inappropriate conduct, the suit alleges, administrators were nonresponsive. Ku later alleges that he suffered retaliation from Mitchell for trying to report the conduct, including loss of his deanship and directorship of the Center for Law, Technology and the Arts. The lawsuit also states that reports to the University Provost and Vice President of Diversity, William Baeslack and Marilyn Mobley, respectively, went unanswered and uninvestigated. Later additions to the lawsuit allege that a staff member in Mitchell’s office was assigned to watch Ku and was given a raise for actions taken against Ku.

But the story hardly stops there. The lawsuit also describes a pattern of such behavior for Mitchell. Ku argues that before Mitchell became dean here, he was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct at George Washington University, where he previously taught. Additional allegations about Mitchell’s behavior arose at a talk downtown where fliers were passed out including the aforementioned quote.

That was in January 2012. Mitchell was brought to CWRU in 2011. The lawsuit was filed in October 2013.

Since receiving and responding to the lawsuit, the law school’s response has been relaxed. They stand behind Dean Mitchell and trust that the justice system will absolve him of any accusations. However, the university’s confidence means little when all it portrays is a façade.

It is because of that, then, that Mitchell resigned earlier this month. He remains a tenured law professor, but will no longer hold the deanship, even if he is found not liable in court. In his message to students as he left the office he bemoaned that these events had distracted from the law school’s mission. The university, standing behind Mitchell, states that “the decision to step down” supports “the best interests of the school.”

On March 4, the university publicized Mitchell’s resignation, delivering a stirring biography in The Daily. Minimizing, or omitting, references to the accusations against Mitchell, the university delivered magnificent propaganda, which was insulting to me and others I know who are familiar with the pending case. The article has since been updated, but that the university believes it can propagandize to avoid discussing uncomfortable subjects is complete nonsense. While it is true that we should all allow the courts to determine truth and fault in this case, painting over the facts with broad strokes of unallowable optimism is an awful recourse of action.
And people wonder why no one reads The Daily.

The argument goes farther than that, though. Upon the revelation of the allegatio