To the University of Miami Community:
We write as faculty members of the University of Miami School of Law to address the recent public statements of Dan Ravicher, who currently teaches a University of Miami Law School practicum.
On his Twitter account, Ravicher has promoted baseless claims about fraud in the presidential election, suggested a need to use lethal force against protesters after the election, compared calls for political accountability to the Holocaust, groundlessly accused law faculty of retaliating against students for their political views and made several uninformed claims about race, ethnicity and identity in the United States.
These public social media posts demonstrate, at the very least, an egregious lack of professional judgment. While Ravicher’s unprofessional behavior may be defended as a matter of academic freedom or free speech, academic and free speech norms do not insulate lawyers from critique. To the contrary, the principles of academic freedom and free speech compel us to speak out against Ravicher’s promotion of disinformation, invocation of violence and racially derogatory commentary. We join the students, alumni and practicing attorneys voicing concern that these statements potentially reflect deeper failings.
Lawyers are called to bear witness to, and provide guidance on, some of the darkest days in the lives of individuals and communities. The professional obligation of lawyers in those moments, regardless of their personal feelings, is to uphold the rule of law, to reject unethical behavior and to model the values of respect, empathy and critical thinking. This semester follows a summer of historic protests against racial inequality in our country. This is the ninth month of a global pandemic that has exposed deep fractures by race, gender and class in the United States. We are in the midst of an unprecedented presidential undermining of the integrity of our electoral process. Our commitment to our students during this time, as faculty, as officers of the court and as professionals, is to exercise judgment and leadership in our public engagement—not to attack or appropriate vulnerable communities or promote unfounded claims that further destabilize this moment in American democracy.
(The list of signatories below is evolving. Miami Law faculty who wish to sign on to the letter may do so here; the list will be regularly updated at this link).
Anthony Alfieri, Professor of Law
Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Professor of Law and Director, Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law
Michael Chiorazzi, Associate Dean for Information Resources, Librarian Professor, Dean’s Distinguished Director
Caroline Mala Corbin, Professor of Law & Dean’s Distinguished Scholar
Andrew B Dawson, Professor of Law & Judge A. Jay Cristol Chair in Bankruptcy Law
Andrew Elmore, Associate Professor of Law
Mary Anne Franks, Professor of Law & Dean’s Distinguished Scholar
Frances R. Hill, Professor of Law & Dean’s Distinguished Scholar for the Profession
Elizabeth M. Iglesias, Professor of Law
Osamudia James, Professor of Law & Dean’s Distinguished Scholar
Tamara Lave, Professor of Law
JoNel Newman, Professor of Law
Jessica Owley, Professor of Law
Kunal Parker, Professor of Law & Dean’s Distinguished Scholar
Bernard Perlmutter, Professor of Law
Ileana Porras, Senior Lecturer
Pablo Rueda-Saiz, Associate Professor of Law
Stephen J. Schnably, Professor of Law
Becky Sharpless, Professor of Law
Kele Stewart, Professor of Law
Irwin P. Stotzky, Professor of Law
Scott Sundby, Professor of Law & Dean’s Distinguished Scholar
Craig J. Trocino, Director, Miami Law Innocence Clinic
Teresa J. Verges, Director, Investor Rights Clinic and Lecturer in Law
Kira E. Willig, Adjunct Professor