Legal Law

Dean of CUNY Law School leaves the slave owner’s comment

Mary Lu Bilek is leaving her post as Dean of CUNY after a spontaneous remark at a staff meeting convinced her that rebuilding the trust required to run the school would be too much of a burden on the school.

The reveal came in an email sent to the CUNY community over the weekend. According to the New York Post:

Bilek said that when she dropped the “slave owner” reference, she took the blame for a recruitment proposal that some colleagues believed would have “different racist effects”.

“In a misguided attempt to draw an analogy with a model of reparation to blame myself as dean for racial inequalities at our school, I thoughtlessly referred to myself as the ‘slave owner’ who should be held accountable,” said Bilek wrote.

“I realized it was wrong when I heard myself say and couldn’t believe the word had come out of my mouth.”

It’s still not entirely clear from this report what happened, but Bilek took full responsibility for what happened, apologizing and seeking advice on what makes such a refreshing change. The beat of the law school is peppered with professors who brazenly engage in repulsive behavior and double up in the affirmative. In contrast, Bilek’s handling of the situation should be the norm.

Well, the norm should never be for these situations to arise in the first place, but other than that, this is the right way to deal with them.

Joe Patrice is Senior Editor at Above the Law and co-moderator of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter for all the law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe is also the managing director of RPN Executive Search.

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