- The Washington Times
Thursday, September 23, 2021

An Arkansas lawmaker is concerned that a state law school may have retaliated against a professor who questioned the school’s temporary decision to name a teaching chair after President Bill Clinton.

Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert said he is troubled by what appears to be adverse steps taken by University of Arkansas-Little Rock’s Bowen School of Law against Robert Steinbuch.

The professor says has seen his courseload changed and his request to teach constitutional law denied since he questioned emeritus professor John DiPippa’s move to rename his post the “William Jefferson Clinton Distinguished Chair in Constitutional Law.”

Mr. Clinton, a former president, governor and state attorney general, had not been associated with the chair since its inception in 1999.

Mr. Rapert, who chairs the Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, said: “We might have to have another hearing if there is retaliation, especially against those who work for the state of Arkansas and raised issues with the legislature.”

Mr. Steinbuch and professor Thomas Sullivan, who has since retired, had expressed the opinion that an attorney who had been found in contempt of court and surrendered his license to avoid disbarment was not the best example to offer budding lawyers.

“It’s remarkable how the left controlling legal academia across this country lament diversity but have no real interest in its most meaningful form: intellectual diversity,” Mr. Steinbuch said.

“Moreover, that I would be the first Jew to teach the Constitutional Law class at my school is of no apparent consequence because being a conservative cancels any other potential diversity considerations, notwithstanding that the left also conveniently ignores that Jews are minorities,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan told The Washington Times by email he chose to retire, adding that his departure was not tied to the kerfuffle over the chair’s name. He declined to discuss the matter.

Bowen Law School Dean Theresa Beiner did not respond to a request for comment.

Christina Drale, chancellor of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, assured the legislature that it had been an error to attach Mr. Clinton‘s name to the distinguished teaching chair and announced it would not be used in the future.

But Mr. Rapert said it is unfortunate the school was unable to resolve the issue quickly when it arose.

Records associated with the chair and shared with The Times show that after initially accepting the chair, a Clinton White House attorney wrote that Mr. Clinton was declining the offer.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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