Via Daily Nous, we learn that Leiter has reached an agreement with the PGR Advisory Board to step down as editor and join the Advisory Board at the conclusion of the 2014/15 edition of the PGR, at which point Berit Brogaard will assume the role of editor until a co-editor can be found. The fifty members of the Board voted 45 to 0 to approve the following statement:
The 2014-15 PGR will proceed as planned, with Berit Brogaard joining Brian Leiter as co-editor and taking over responsibility for the surveys and the compilation of results, with assistance as needed from Brian and the Advisory Board. At the conclusion of the 2014-15 PGR, Brian will step down as an editor of the PGR and join the Advisory Board. Berit will take over as editor until such time as a co-editor can be appointed to assist with future iterations of the report. After 2014, Berit will have ultimate decision-making authority over the PGR. Upon completion of the 2014-15 PGR, Berit will appoint a small advisory transition committee that she will consult on possible improvement, both substantive and operational, in the PGR going forward.I was hoping to see a less centralized editorial structure, but I guess I see this as progress. However, if the editors and board don't make some long-overdue changes to the PGR's survey methodology, statistical procedures, and leadership structure, it will be a really unfortunate waste of an opportunity and a majorly huge bummer.
I also had some quibbles with a passage near the end, which Leiter says is an excerpt from an email from someone on the Advisory Board (other than Alex Rosenberg), who writes:
I really do not understand what is going on. You used some strong, and arguably inappropriate, language in mostly private communications with people who had criticized or threatened you.For starters, that's not what happened. I wonder why Leiter's supporters have such a hard time acknowledging what the objection to his behavior is. The problem with the emails disclosed in the Statement of Concern is not the strength of the language; it is the threatening and abusive content. That is, the problem is what he is doing in those emails, not the language he uses to express himself.
Anyways, back to the excerpt:
The response has been a well-organized attempt to force you to give up the editorship of the PGR.Yeah, that's basically right. But it's not so crazy. The argument, as I understand it, is this: Leiter's tendency toward hostility and abusiveness makes him undesirable as someone who possesses a great deal of influence over the profession--that is, in light of his penchant for hostility and abusiveness, he ought to be less influential than he is. It therefore makes sense to attempt to deprive him of some of his influence, and the primary source of his influence is his editorship of the PGR. The only way for this attempt to be successful is for it to be well-organized, so it makes sense to organize it well.
But, as has been repeatedly noted, the intemperate language that has provoked the politeness police had exactly nothing to do with your behavior as editor of the PGR.a) "Politeness police"? come on. No one is complaining about his being impolite. This is just a bit of misdirection and/or horseshit.
b) As I just got through saying, it has to do with his capacity as editor of the PGR, if hot his behavior in that capacity. For that is the ultimate source of his influence.
You have consistently let important matters be decided by a vote of the board. You have scrupulously maintained the confidentiality of people’s rankings. You have worked hard over many years to improve the methodology and usefulness of the PGR.As far as I know, all that stuff is true. I wouldn't say I think he's done everything he could to improve the PGR's methodology--I have some suggestions he hasn't acted on--but he's done a lot over the years to make it much better than it was.
So why is your use of intemperate language any more relevant to your editorship of the PGR than it is to, say, your law school professorship?For a variety of reasons that I think are easy to understand, as long as you have a moderately subtle grasp of the issues involved. For one thing, Leiter doesn't derive any of his influence over the profession from his status as Law Prof. For another, Leiter enjoys a significant range of freedoms and privileges in his capacity as law prof--academic freedom, tenure, what have you. Now, Leiter owns the PGR, and it would seem that my earlier contention that he is not its king was incorrect. So there's a very real sense in which his freedoms and privileges as PGR honcho are unlimited. But in order to produce the PGR in a responsible manner, he requires the cooperation of (certain prominent members of) the profession, and each member of the profession is free to decline to cooperate. Which is exactly what happened.
Would the politeness police urge that you be fired from your teaching position because you called someone a "sanctimonious ass"?I think the answer to this last question is, "no, the so-called "politeness police" would not urge that." For the so-called "politeness police" have not urged that. No one has so much as suggested that. As far as I can tell, the few times this subject has come up, it's been in the context of, "of course no one is suggesting..." So this concern strikes me as falling somewhere in the range between unfounded and nonsensical. No one is threatening his job; they are threatening his status as influential member of the profession, in that influence is derived from his status as editor of the PGR.
So let's just cut this shit out from now on, ok?