There is considerable concern at the university -- and some elsewhere -- about what it means to open exchange of ideas to have a professor sue his students.The dispute over Peltz concerns his opposition to affirmative action -- and how he expressed it.In 1999, Lefkofsky and Keywell created an early Internet company called Starbelly that specialized in promotional products.
A law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has -- and the ramifications could extend well beyond his dispute. Peltz is suing two students who are involved in the university's chapter of the Black Law Student Association, the association itself, and another individual who is affiliated with a black lawyers' group.
Peltz charges them with defamation, saying that his comments about affirmative action were used unfairly to accuse him of racism in a way that tarnished his reputation.
My teaching method spurred a productive class discussion."After Peltz filed the suit, he was removed from teaching all required courses -- a fact that the university confirmed but declined to explain, saying that it related both to personnel issues and litigation.
Goldner, the dean, sent students and professors an e-mail in which he said that "we recognize that an individual is within his or her rights to file claims in our courts.
In examples of the defamatory material that were submitted with his suit, however, the view of the black student organization about his actions becomes clear.
In a memo sent to Charles Goldner, dean of the law school, the students accuse Peltz of engaging in a "rant" about affirmative action, of saying that affirmative action helps "unqualified black people," of displaying a satirical article from The Onion about the death of Rosa Parks, of allowing a student to give "incorrect facts" about a key affirmative action case, of passing out a form on which he asked for students' name and race and linking this form to grades, and of denigrating black students in a debate about affirmative action, among other charges.The student memo said that the organization had "no problem with the difference of opinion about affirmative action," but that Peltz's actions were "hateful and inciting speech" and were used "to attack and demean the black students in class."The black student group demanded that Peltz be "openly reprimanded," that he be barred from teaching constitutional law "or any other required course where black students would be forced to have him as a professor," that the university mention in his personnel file that he is unable "to deal fairly with black students," and that he be required to attend diversity training.While Peltz in an e-mail said he could not discuss the case in detail, he suggested -- as have his supporters -- that the accusations that he was unfair to black students were a misrepresentation of his criticism of affirmative action.After graduating from Southfield-Lathrup High School in 1987, Lefkofsky attended the University of Michigan and graduated with honors in 1991.He continued on at University of Michigan Law School to receive his Juris Doctor in 1993.Lefkofsky began his career selling carpet at the University of Michigan.