The Why, Who, and the How of the New SALT Blog

Society of American Law TeachersWritten by: Angela Onwuachi-Willig

A  few years ago, at a retreat where we set certain short and long term goals, the SALT Board agreed that SALT would have a blog.  None of us knew much about blogs at that time, but we were persuaded that alternative methods of reaching the public to provide information about issues of social justice and human rights should be an integral part of our agenda as activist progressives.

There are many opportunities for SALT members to speak out. We have our classrooms, and SALT, through its teaching conferences, has advocated for teaching that is activist, inclusive, and self conscious in focusing attention on issues of social justice. In our institutions, we can sponsor teach-ins, conferences, and symposia.  As legal scholars, we can write and publish law review articles.  As clinicians, we can represent clients from subordinated communities. As members of the academy, we can show up to public hearings on issues of importance in legal education like the accreditation standards for law schools. We can and do submit comments or responses to reports issued by the American Bar Association.

Like many organizations with members who are knowledgeable people with something to say and information to share, however, SALT has had to adapt to a new world in which electronic and social media play a significant role.  While it may appear that the openness of the internet places us all on an equal footing –we can all write and we can publish what we write — attracting an audience is not as easy as it might seem. It helps to have some name recognition.  It helps if an institution has a reputation which makes it a site in the virtual world where members of the public search for information that they need.  SALT has that reputation and its website is one of the places where people go to find out what position progressives have taken on a variety of issues.

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THE WHO OF SALT

The blog is different from our website.  On our website, we publish the letters and formal positions that the organization has taken.  The blog is not a forum for the expression of SALT’s positions, but a place where our members can publish commentary on emerging issues in law, politics, and education or where they can develop arguments about policies and problems that are persistent or seem intractable.  The SALT Board has no list of topics that should be addressed or any agenda that it has set for this blog.  The blog is owned by the membership, and the individual posts are not official, quasi-official, or even remotely related to SALT public positions.  We are offering the progressive community of law teachers an opportunity to be heard.

The SALT Blog Committee has put together a packed, year-long schedule of regular and guest contributors who will add voice to progressive issues, cultivate and reinvigorate SALT minds, and, we hope, inspire individual action and activism from both SALT and non-SALT members.  Blog topics will include both legal and non-legal issues and will range from conversations about the economic crisis to questions about U.S. torture policies to discussions about the lack of diversity in baseball management to the development of a hip-hop theory of justice.

Regular contributors will submit posts at least four times a month.  Regular contributors include new, renewed, and long-standing SALT members.  They are Raquel Aldana (McGeorge), SALT Co-President; Margaret Barry (Catholic), 2008-2010 SALT Co-President; Steven Bender (Oregon), SALT Co-President; andre cummings (West Virginia), new SALT member; Benjamin Davis (Toledo), SALT Board member; Anthony Farley (Albany), lifetime SALT member; Kristin Miccio (Denver), renewed SALT member; Jeff Pokorak (Suffolk), renewed SALT member; Susan Maze Rothstein (Northeastern), new SALT member; and Deborah Post (Touro), SALT Blog brainchild and 2008-2010 SALT Co-President.

Monthly guest contributors will share their posts at least eight times during their assigned month.  Guest contributors include Muneer Ahmad (Yale), Lillian Aponte (FIU), Michael Avery (Suffolk), Deepa Badrinarayana (Chapman), Jeannine Bell (Indiana), Kathy Bergin (South Texas), Bob Chang (Seattle), Frank Cooper (Suffolk), Tucker Culbertson (Syracuse), Rose Cuison Villazor (Hofstra),  Nancy Ehrenreich (Denver), Erika George (Utah), Joanna Grossman (Hofstra), Aya Gruber (Iowa), Angela Harris (Berkeley), J.D. King (Washington and Lee), Martha McCluskey (Buffalo), Karla McKanders (Tennessee), Adele Morrison (Wayne State), Camille Nelson (Hofstra), Ngai Pindell (UNLV), Katie Porter (Iowa), Lisa Pruitt (UC Davis), Ezra Rosser (American), Denise Roy (William Mitchell), Jessica Silbey (Suffolk), Terry Smith (DePaul), Kellye Testy, Dean (Washington-Seattle), Michael Waterstone (Loyola-Los Angeles), Adrien Wing (Iowa).

Now, that’s a whole lot of blogging.  The SALT Blog Committee invites you to add blog.saltlaw.org to your “Favorites.”  Visit the website every day.  You are certain to see action on the site.  Recruit a friend to visit the website and join SALT!

The Blog Committee looks forward to having you, SALT members and soon-to-be readers of the blog, sit back and enjoy the posts from the website’s regulars as well as from its wonderful slate of visitors.

If you are interested in blogging as a guest contributor, please contact Angela Onwuachi-Willig at angela-onwuachi@uiowa.edu or Hari Osofsky at osofskyh@wlu.edu.