University of California, Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake announced on Monday that he is reinstating respected constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as the new UCI law school’s founding dean. The decision follows controversy and widespread outrage from both liberals and conservatives over Drake’s rescinding the original deanship offer.
Drake originally offered the position to Chemerinsky in August, but revoked it last week. A longtime defender of women’s rights, civil rights, and civil liberties, Chemerinsky has indicated that his liberal stances made him, in Drake’s view, too politically controversial. While Drake has denied this, the controversy became a national showdown over academic freedom.
Drake flew to Durham, NC over the weekend to meet with Chemerinsky face to face. In a conference call with reporters, Drake and Chemerinsky both agreed that Chemerinsky will have complete academic freedom and would continue to write opinion articles on a wide range of topics, reports the Los Angeles Times.