CUNY law school dean self-cancels, opting to retire in atonement after calling herself a ‘slaveholder’

In what might be an illustration of how liberals are hardly exempt from the cancel culture, a law school dean is retiring because she foolishly reportedly referred to herself as a slaveholder during a meeting with faculty members.

City University of New York School of Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek, 65, claimed that she was shocked about what she blurted out during a faculty meeting in November 2020 and is currently undergoing bias counseling and learning more about systemic racism.

A 35-plus-year employee, primarily as a professor, Bilek is stepping down in June 2021.

According to the New York Post, the dean — who is a graduate of Harvard Law School (a degree from which is typically a fundamental prerequisite for obtaining a faculty position in legal academia) made the slaveholder analogy in the context of filling an associate dean position at the educational institution, as she explained in an email sent out to the campus community on Saturday, March 20.

Bilek said that when she dropped the “slaveholder” reference, she was taking the blame for a hiring proposal some colleagues thought would have a “disparate racial impact.”

“In a misguided effort to draw an analogy to a model of reparations in order to place blame on myself, as Dean, for racial inequities at our school, I thoughtlessly referred to myself as the ‘slaveholder’ who should be held responsible,” Bilek wrote.

“I realized it was wrong the minute I heard myself say it and couldn’t believe the word had come out of my mouth.”

Bilek went on to write that she apologized immediately at the meeting “and have since apologized without reservation to the faculty…”

She wrote that she ultimately decided to retire “because the work it would take to repair the trust necessary to lead the Law School is a burden I don’t want to impose on the faculty or the community.”


Bilek even said that she would exit the Long Island City, N.Y., school sooner than June if the school appointed an interim dean. She apparently announced her retirement in January, but this was the first time that she revealed the rationale for her departure. The Post has not reported as to whether the dean faced any behind-the-scenes pressure from faculty or the student body to self-cancel.

Parenthetically, Bilek last year reportedly backtracked after she first condemned hate and anti-Semitism when a CUNY law student allegedly brandished a lighter in front of an African-American man wearing an Israeli Defense Forces shirt and implied she would set it on fire.

After leftist students “rallied around” the woman with the lighter, Dean Bilek apologized for her earlier pronouncement and claimed the student was exercising her First Amendment rights, Reason detailed.

America’s campuses essentially in the grip of the left have, among other things, increasingly use hostility to Israel as a proxy for anti-Semitism. Israel, however, is the only multicultural democracy — although a messy one as it heads to its fourth national election in two years — in the Middle East.

In general, many law schools have, unfortunately, also become identity politics bastions rather than high-level trade schools. In December 2020, Dean Bilek cut a video in which she encouraged students to apply to law school to further the aims of social justice “so that you can help deconstruct the laws and systems that have oppressed.”

In 2018, Dean Bilek also claimed that left-wing CUNY students who disrupted a presentation by conservative legal scholar Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law, were engaged in “a reasonable exercise of free speech and did not violate any university policy,” Inside Higher Education reported.



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