Law Review Editors Respond to Above the Law Email Disclosure
Editorial Note: The article which sparked the original controversy can be found HERE.
October 7, 2011
The staff of The George Washington Law Review was disappointed and saddened to discover last Wednesday that one of our editors had anonymously submitted an e-mail communication from a first-year student to the blog Above The Law. Today, we write to explain why we strongly reject that sort of behavior, what we’ve done to address the situation, and what we’re doing now to prevent it from happening again.
First and foremost, we condemn the public exposure of private e-mails sent from students to Law Review staff members because it is unfair and harmful to the student involved. The Law Review values its role in The George Washington University Law School community, and any act that is designed to insult or otherwise harm a member of that community is both contrary to our goals as a student publication and violative of the mutual respect that all members of the GW Law community owe to one another. Further, such action potentially deters students who would otherwise interact with us on joint projects, contact us with questions, or seek membership on the Law Review. Candor and—when appropriate—confidentiality are important parts of our relationship with our fellow students. This sort of mean-spirited disclosure damages that relationship by reducing students’ confidence in us. Finally, public incidents like this harm both the reputations of the Law School and the Law Review, reputations we work hard to maintain and enhance.
The Law Review has already taken several actions to respond to this problem. A representative of the Law Review met with and apologized to the first-year student involved, if only to express our regret over what happened and explain our proposals going forward. The Law Review Editorial Board held a meeting to condemn the behavior and decided to amend our policies to make clear that the knowing disclosure of a communication received by virtue of one’s position on the Law Review is an act of misconduct that potentially carries serious penalties (up to and including dismissal from the Law Review). This policy is currently being developed and, once adopted, will appear in all future membership materials as a formal disciplinary policy. We believe this final step will deter future irresponsible behavior like the kind that resulted in the Above The Law post.
We were surprised and deeply concerned by this incident, and now hope to move forward and ensure that it does not occur again. We welcome all inquiries, comments, and observations.
Matthew Radler Richard Crudo Lauren Miller
Editor-in-Chief Senior Managing Editor Senior Notes Editor
Benjamin Kapnik Tyler Evans Stephanie Trifone
Senior Articles Editor Senior Production Editor Senior Projects Editor
Writing on behalf of The George Washington Law Review.