The law professor who kicked off the student movement against mandatory arbitration is now the subject of a university misconduct investigation.
Ian Samuel, who is in his first semester teaching at Indiana University Maurer School of Law and who is a co-host of the Supreme Court podcast First Mondays, has been placed on administrative leave while the university conducts a Title IX investigation, according to a Friday email to students from law dean Austen Parrish.
Parrish did not offer any explanation for the investigation, and a university spokesman Monday did not respond to a request for clarification of the circumstances that prompted the investigation. The university did confirm the investigation to an Indiana NPR affiliate Friday. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and such investigations typically result from allegations of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct.
“We take Title IX allegations extremely seriously, and the University will conduct a full investigation and follow their process,” Parrish wrote.
Reached by phone Monday, Samuel hung up and did not respond to a subsequent message seeking comment about the investigation. Parrish’s email to students said that Samuel and his wife had told the school that he had voluntarily checked himself into a hospital.
Samuel, a former law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia and associate at Jones Day, joined the Indiana law faculty this year after a stint as a lecturer at Harvard Law School. (He identifies himself as being on the political left, despite his and Scalia’s conservative bona fides.) Samuel was lecturing at Harvard in the spring when he leaked a copy of the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson’s mandatory arbitration clause for summer associates via Twitter.
That tweet spurred an outcry against the firm, which quickly backed off mandatory arbitration clauses. It also spawned a wider movement among law students at schools across the country to push firms to disclose their use of such agreements and to drop them entirely.
Samuel is also notable for his role with First Mondays, which dubs itself as an “entertaining podcast about SCOTUS.” The podcast issued a message via Twitter that Samuel, “will be on a leave of absence from First Mondays while he tends to personal and family issues.” University of California Irvine School of Law professor Leah Litman will step in to serve as co-host of the podcast in Samuel absence, alongside co-host Dan Epps, according to the message.
When listeners asked for more detail, Epps and Litman issued a second statement in which they said they did not know the substance of the allegation against Samuel, but they take this situation very seriously.”
“We haven’t spoken to Ian, but our expectation is that Ian will remain on leave from First Mondays at least as long as IU’s investigation continues,” reads the statement. “We understand he is currently seeking medical treatment and we hope he gets whatever help he needs.”
Samuel teaches civil procedure and cybersecurity, according to his profile on the law school’s website. Parrish wrote that both he and professor Charles Geyh will write and grade the final exam for Samuel’s civil procedure class.