So will Stetson, the private, 102-year-old law school that will be setting up shop in Tampa Heights, be some racially retro neighbor? According to one of its tenured, constitutional law professors, yes. Stetson University College of Law Professor Mark Brown says the school does an awful job of recruiting minority students. He cites a relatively stagnant black enrollment of about 5 to 7 percent for almost a decade, a figure that is lower than other law schools in this state.
Brown may or may not have valid points when it comes to Stetson’s aggressiveness in minority recruiting. He also may or may not be getting picked on for his racial critique of Stetson (“Affirmative Inaction: Stories From A Small Southern School”) that he published in Temple University’s Law Review and e-mailed to the entire student body during finals week.
But he’s definitely off base on one facet. He apparently thinks it’s Stetson’s responsibility to produce a black enrollment that’s reflective of this state’s black population, which is approximately 15 percent.
Stetson is a private law school, not a social experiment in diversity — which is typically defined in higher education circles by ethnicity and color. It is not the University of Michigan. Stetson shouldn’t be burdened with having to reflect the dubious presumption that abilities, aptitudes and attitudes — to cite just three factors — are proportionately parceled out in the population. Any population.
If that were the case, then obviously certain groups are disproportionately over-represented. Anyone want to tell Jewish Americans, for example, that their numbers are inordinately high for law and medical schools? Anyone want to make the case that venerating family, education and achievement is not a good enough reason for disproportionate representation?
“I’m embarrassed for my generation,” Brown told the Associated Press. So be it. So likely is the entire American Civil Liberties Union.
That, Stetson should be able to live with.