What happens when no student leader emerges in an organization and complacency causes membership to dwindle? The answer is simply that the organization or publication is put on hold until a great enough interest accrues and the group is reestablished. This is precisely what happened with Res Ispa Loquitur, the student newspaper of the University of Miami’s School of Law.
Last spring, the newspaper was temporarily postponed for revisions with no expected date given for the next publication. Matthew O’Brien, who had been elected as the editor-in-chief, became ineligible to carry out his duties after having been voted by the rest of the staff to that position.
Justin Ganderson, an associate editor, assumed the position, only to resign shortly thereafter, leaving the paper without a student leader.
“There just wasn’t anyone else who was interested or qualified to take the position at the time,” said Stephen Schnably, associate dean and professor at the law school.
Schnably would not comment as to what made O’Brien ineligible or why Ganderson chose to step down. He did say that students in the School of Law are usually extremely busy with internships, heavy class loads, and other social activities. These may be reasons why student participation in some areas is lacking at times.
While the actual student newspaper of the School of Law is on hiatus, there are still a number of thriving publications within the school that have had no trouble finding an ample amount of student contribution.
Six law review papers can be found on campus, including the UM Law Review, the Inter-American Law Review, the Business Law Review, the International and Comparative Law Review, the Psychology, Public Policy, and Law Journal, and the Tax Law Chronicle. Each of these is a well-respected review of a given aspect of the legal system and differs greatly from a student run news and opinion based newspaper such as Res Ispa Loquitur.
“We value having a law student paper filled with lively interests, legal issues, and problems that are relevant to the student body,” Schnably said. “It’s unfortunate that we haven’t had one for so long.”
Currently, there is no set date for Res Ispa Loquitur to reappear, but it is expected to be an active part of UM again late this semester or early next semester. There is no elected executive board yet, but a group of students have been meeting with Schnably and Dennis Lynch, dean of the School of Law, to work on reinstating the paper.
“The publication wouldn’t have run out of steam if there were more law students involved and committed to its production, which is what we will try to establish this time around,” Schnably said.
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.