From: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
To: Berkeley Law community
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Dear Law School Community,
My enormous thanks to everyone for a truly remarkable transition to on-line instruction. I am so grateful to all of our instructors and students for implementing this in a very short period of time and to our staff, especially our IT staff, for facilitating this. There are inevitable hitches, but everyone’s patience is enormously appreciated. If you have overall suggestions, please do not hesitate to send them to me or to Associate Dean Molly Van Houweling, who is doing a terrific job of overseeing this transition to on-line instruction.
A few clarifications:
The issue has arisen as to whether a professor may allow students to be present when a class is being held by Zoom or recorded. With apologies and with understanding for those who want to do this, our conclusion is that this is against the campus policy. It is then an in-person class for the professor and the students who are present. We also fear that allowing this would create pressure for other students to attend and other professors to allow students to be there. We restrict the autonomy of faculty and students with the greatest reluctance, but the ban on live classes does that in an effort to prevent the spread of disease and to protect the health of our community.
Professors may continue to have in-person office hours if they wish, but it is essential that there also be the opportunity for students to attend office hours remotely.
Everyone’s health is our paramount concern. If you are feeling ill, please don’t come to the Law School. Although the Law School remains open, I don’t want anyone to feel pressure to come in. As I have written, we will do all we can to facilitate staff working remotely if they wish. Every meeting will have the capacity to participate by Zoom or phone.
I know that everyone is feeling anxiety and stress in this unprecedented situation. This is a wonderful community and I know we all will draw strength and comfort from each other at this difficult time.