Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Professor Ogletree’s Latest Response

Dear Colleagues:
In the attached email Professor Ogletree declines to make the two simple statements which, as said in a blog of November 11th, would, if true, lay to rest the questions arising with regard to his authorship of parts of his book. The two statements were: (1) "Except for normal word changes made by others in the editing process, I personally wrote every word of the first and all subsequent drafts of the book and made the initial decision on whether to include any and all quoted material, including the Balkin material." (2) Although I received and adopted ideas and suggestions from others, those ideas and suggestions did not come to me in the form of drafts which I then inserted in the books pretty much unchanged except for some editing. Rather, I myself wrote the language that reflects those ideas and suggestions."

Rather than make these two statements, Professor Ogletree says, "I have answered these questions." He then goes on to give a number of at least purported reasons why he apparently (and understandably) wishes to no longer continue email correspondence on the matter. (Here he has my sympathies. As said in the post of November 11th, this blogger too does not intend to continue the email correspondence between us).

This blogger is one who believes that, especially in context, Professor Ogletree’s prior statements have not in fact answered the questions and have not established his innocence beyond peradventure, but have instead led to doubt. For those who believe this, as well as for those who seem to already have arrived at a conclusion of guilt, volumes are spoken by Professor Ogletree’s declination to make the two simple statements which, if true, would clear his name.

For those who hold this position, the "only" remaining questions (which would be of interest to others too) might be these:
• How frequent is the problem at the Harvard and other law schools, i.e., how
often do Harvard and other law professors have assistants write parts of their
articles or books? (God forbid that they should have assistants write the
entirety of their articles or books. This doesn’t happen, does it?)
• How
frequent is the foregoing problem, at Harvard and elsewhere, in departments
other than the law schools? (There has been Internet traffic leading one to
believe it may be distressingly common.)
• What has Harvard done, or what
does it intend to do, about the problem? Also, what do other schools intend to
do about it?
• Will anything be done about the problem as it exists -- to a
fare thee well -- outside the academy, i.e., will anything be done about the
parading of assistants’ work as one’s own by judges, politicians, corporate
leaders and others? In fields such as these the problem is an everyday one that
exists to an extent that seems not even conceivable in one’s worst nightmares
about academia.*

*If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at velvel@mslaw.edu. Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.

To: Dean Velvel
From: Charles Ogletree
Date: November 14, 2004

Dean Velvel: I have answered these questions. It is the middle of November, and my students seek my advice and counsel, my clients( including those facing the death penalty) seek my services, and my family is reasonably insisting that I modify my practice of working seven days a week. I will attend to these matters with dispatch. Signing off.

CJOAt 04:25 PM
11/11/2004 -0500

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