NEW YORK—A top law school at one of America’s most prestigious schools says it is taking the extraordinary step of declaring a national law to protect students from “brainwashing.”
The Law School of New York at the University of New Hampshire says it will adopt the proposal from a student-led campaign dubbed Brainwash Prevention Week, which is meant to “raise awareness of the harmful effects of indoctrination through coercive indoctrination.”
The proposal would also require that law schools teach students how to “defend themselves against brainwashing,” according to the school.
In the weeks since its launch, the campaign has gathered nearly 20,000 signatures.
The effort has been led by student-based advocacy group Free Speech for Everyone, whose mission statement is “to end brainwashing through education.”
“It is essential that law students be educated about the harms of brainwashing to society,” the campaign’s website states.
The campaign has received support from the New York Civil Liberties Union and the law school itself, which says it has received $1 million from students.
The law school is one of the nation’s top law schools, ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report, and its graduates are among the top law professors in the country.
But the school’s reputation has also been in question, as a series of high-profile incidents involving students have drawn widespread attention.
In 2012, students at the prestigious University of California-Berkeley took over the campus to protest the school president’s controversial plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
A year later, the school expelled a student who had allegedly made a racially insensitive comment about a woman with Down syndrome.
In 2014, students blocked the doors of the school after the school received a $3.8 million settlement for an alleged student harassment lawsuit.
Students at another prominent law school in New York, the University at Buffalo, recently staged a sit-in outside the building to protest what they called the university’s “hypocritical” response to a student death at the hands of an off-duty police officer.
In addition to the brainwashing issue, the law schools has also faced criticism for its high cost of attendance.
In 2015, a New York City judge ruled that a law school student who spent his entire college-age years on campus was not entitled to an education based on the “quality of life” that would be provided by attending a private college.
In another case, a law student who was once the dean of a prestigious law school was recently suspended for a year and was accused of sexual harassment.
Students have also raised concerns about the schools treatment of minority students.
In February, students staged a protest outside the law college over the school s refusal to accept any black students from the University and the College of William & Mary, saying they were victims of “racism.”
The New York law school said it is also working on a resolution to address racial and gender equity concerns.
But, according to its website, the college and the Law School have not yet responded to the group’s request for information.
In January, students in Massachusetts sued the school, saying it discriminated against them because they are minorities and because they were not accepted to other colleges in the state.