For Whom the Bell Tolls
by John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

As many of you know, a few years ago, Baylor University committed to moving up into the "elite" circle of American institutions of higher education. Many of us who loved and valued Baylor as it was, assumed that the transformation would entail a facelift and an increased commitment to research. We believed that an "improved" Baylor would continue to be what it had always been: a vital institution shaping the lives of Texans in a positive way; we believed that Baylor would continue to offer high standards in all facets of student life and a call to rigor and sacrifice in the name of human improvement and Christian obligation.

However, in its quest to woo the best scholars in the nation (as measured by GPAs and the LSAT), the law school may have succeeded in recruiting too many students who know it all already. The anonymous manifesto below comes from a group of unhappy law students, who posted this message on various blogs connected with the institution. What does John Donne have to do with this? My suspicion is that these sentiments are not unique. As a party invested in the future of American education, I read this particular declaration of independence, equality and hostility, and I worry that the bell tolls for all of us.

The Coyote Ugly Manifesto:

"I am really getting tired of the god-syndrome running around the Baylor Law school faculty. Teachers, you get paid to teach and that is all. You are not our parents, so please stop trying to give us life lessons. Frankly, most of us have been successful in our undergrad institutions and that is why we got to this "fine institution" where the "best belong." The faculty need to realize that we are the heart of this school not them. This school was created for the students not as a tool for the faculty to pick up outside consulting gigs...

"I think if the teachers want to embarass us, then we need to let prospective students know the truth. I have formed a group with 7 other law students. We call ourselves Coyote Ugly. We call ourselves this as the Law School as a prospective student looks like a hot girl/guy that you have just picked up at a bar. You take her/him home and the next morning after your beer goggles have warn off you realize that you have just hooked up with the ugliest human being in the world. Well after most students start law school here they realize they have made one of the biggest mistakes of their lives. In fact, most students have told me if they were not in so much debt they would have left this fine institution.

"The seven of us have adopted a mission to hurt the school in the same way it hurts us. We have all gone back to our undergrad institutions and told them the truth about this school, not the half truths given by Assistant Admissions director. We tell them about Promgate, the retaliation by the teachers,etc. Eight prospective students have come in and toured the school with assistant admissions director(AAD). After each one has left the presence of AAD, one of Coyote Ugly has intercepted the prospective student and told them the truth. Today, AAD was giving a tour for a father and son and in the parking lot a member of our group stopped him and his father and explained to them the truth about Baylor Law. The father was especially floored by the dean using a floor of the library for his son's prom during finals. He was asked to not give a description of what we look like to the administration. We are keeping track to see how many of the students we advise actually end up coming here. When the pool of applicants takes a hit, maybe the administration and faculty will figure out that change needs to be made.Frankly, I dont think they have gotten the point.

"Coyote Ugly will also systematically embarass each faculty member who has embarassed a student. First up is Professor XXX XXXXX. What is his offense? Well over the past week, members of his XXXXXXX class have told me that he seems more interested in his outside responsibilities then helping them with their brief. His punishment is that the profile he use to have on was captured and will be posted on an anonymous blog we will start in the near future(thank you current PC student). As he has taught us "your actions have consequences." We will soon have an webpage and an e-mail address where we can be reached. I ask the rest of my fellow students who feel the same way to participate in similar actions."