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Columbia Law School Appoints New Dean
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Introduction
Columbia University has announced the appointment of Daniel Abebe, a University of Chicago law professor, as the new dean of its law school. Abebe will officially assume his new role on August 1, replacing Gillian Lester.

Daniel Abebe’s Background and Experience

Academic and Administrative Roles
Daniel Abebe has been a prominent figure at the University of Chicago Law School since joining in 2008. In addition to his teaching duties, he has served as the vice provost for academic affairs and governance for the past six years. His academic focus includes the constitutional law of U.S. foreign affairs and public international law.

Free Speech Advocacy
During his tenure as vice provost, Abebe played a crucial role in clarifying the University of Chicago’s free speech policies, showcasing his commitment to upholding academic freedom and open dialogue.

  
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Transition at Columbia Law School

Gillian Lester’s Tenure
Gillian Lester’s decade-long tenure as the dean of Columbia Law School is coming to an end. Her departure coincides with a turbulent period on campus, marked by conflicts related to the war in Gaza. Despite announcing her plans to step down in November, before the protests, Lester will continue to serve on the law school faculty.

Challenges and Controversies

Campus Protests and Judicial Response
The campus has faced significant controversy, particularly concerning pro-Palestinian protests. In May, a group of 13 conservative federal judges declared their refusal to hire Columbia students, criticizing the university’s handling of the protests and labeling the campus an “incubator of bigotry.”

Defense of Columbia Law Students
In response to the criticism, Lester defended Columbia law students, highlighting their consistent appeal to legal employers and their strong professional reputation.

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Looking Ahead

Abebe’s Vision for Columbia Law School
Expressing his enthusiasm and humility about the new role, Abebe acknowledged Columbia Law School’s unique attributes and expressed his commitment to furthering its distinguished legacy. His appointment is seen as a significant step towards continued excellence and growth for the institution.





 

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