University of Arkansas’ Dean, Michael Schwartz, has resigned after a backlash to his reaction over the election of Donald Trump. Schwartz, who has served four years as Dean, free counseling services to students who “feel upset” following the “most upsetting, most painful, most disturbing election season of my lifetime.”
I have previously expressed my concern over how schools cancelled classes and ordered “therapeutic” measures from puppies to counseling for students. One of those professors is Schwartz who combined his concern for the mental health impact of Trump’s election with his own obvious opposition to Trump. Previously, the only such occasion where the school offered counseling, according to one faculty member, was when a student committed suicide.
Here is the original email that was sent to students:
This election season was the most upsetting, most painful, most disturbing election season of my lifetime. And, as you know, I am old. …
For those of you who feel upset, we have arranged extra on-campus counseling services today. We will be offering 30-minute appointments between 2:30-6:00pm. If students do not sign up for all appointment times and/or do not use all of their allotted 30 minutes, walk-in appointments may be available on a first come, first served basis. Counseling will be located in room 423 – the office next to the Faculty Library on the 4th floor. If there are no more appointment times available and you wish to speak with a counselor, please sign up for a counseling appointment here.
No matter how you are feeling, the most important thing for you is to focus on your studies. If your goal, in attending law school, is to make a difference in your community, the first step has to be getting through law school and passing the bar. Please do not lose sight of that goal. Most of all, I want every member of our community to feel welcome and supported here. Our diversity is a strength and a goal that we need to cultivate in every way we can. Everyone deserves a safe, supportive, collegial learning environment. In fact, the research shows that learning from and with those who are different from us makes us smarter, more thoughtful, more tolerant, and happier. Please reach out to your peers and let them know they are valued. And, if you witness someone being mistreated because of his or her politics, religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, please do not sit silently by.
Once again, I fail to see how this measure is a constructive measure for law students. I have many students who were upset by the results. However, they were back in my class the day after the election. (I gave off election day so students could participate in this historic event). Lawyers need to learn to process disappointments and even draw strength from challenges. Schools today have wonderful counseling services that are always available and it is important to advertise such services (I mention our office repeatedly during the classes over the course of the year for students dealing with depression and other issues). However, to make such an intervention over an election is a problematic response in my view.
Schwartz will now teach full time—in as a member of the faculty after his resignation.