By Catarina Dutilh Novaes
Those of you who can’t get yourselves to be offline even during the Xmas break have most likely been following the events involving Brian Leiter (BL), Jonathan Ichikawa (JI) and Carrie Jenkins (CJ), and the lawyers’ letters regarding the legal measures BL says he is prepared to take as a reaction to what he perceives as defamatory statements by (or related to) Ichikawa and Jenkins. As a matter of fact, a blog post of mine back in July seems to have played a small role in the unfolding of these unfortunate developments, and so I deem it appropriate to add a few observations of my own.
On multiple occasions (and in particular in comments at Facebook posts), Leiter claims to have been directed to Jenkins’ ‘Day One’ pledge by this blog post of mine of July 2nd 2014, in defense of Carolyn Dicey Jennings. It begins:
Most readers have probably been following the controversy involving Carolyn Dicey Jennings and Brian Leiter concerning the job placement data post where Carolyn Dicey Jennings compares her analysis of the data she has assembled with the PGR Rank. There have been a number of people reacting to what many perceived as Brian Leiter’s excessively personalized attack of Carolyn Dicey Jennings’s analysis, such as in Daily Nous, and this post by UBC’s Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins on guidelines for academic professional conduct (the latter is not an explicit defense of Carolyn Dicey Jennings, but the message is clear enough, I think). [emphasis added]
Leiter claims that this observation is what led him to Jenkins’ post in the first place, which he perceived as a direct attack on him. He also claims that this is what the passage above implies, and continues to repeat that the post “was intended by Jenkins as a criticism of me (as everyone at the time knew, and as one of her friends has now admitted), and thus explains my private response, which she chose to make public.” However, there is nothing explicitly indicating that the post was intended as a criticism of BL beyond the fact that he read it this way and keeps repeating it.