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Topics - Burning Sands, Esq.

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Black Law Student Discussion Board / Recent Ban Issue
« on: December 17, 2006, 04:31:07 PM »
Fellow BLSD Members,

as you may recall, about a few months back we collectively came up with the following rules of self governance:

BLSD RULE #1: No discussions of Affirmative Action. (There is a separate thread for that topic)
BLSD RULE #2: Non-blacks are welcome to post messages.
BLSD RULE #3: No racial slurs or epithets will be tolerated. (Try to remain professional at all times; have fun and try to keep it clean)
BLSD RULE #4: No lewd/obscene pics please.
This board will be moderated in the following manner:

The substantive regulation of the board:

    * Exercise Respect towards each other
    * Exercise Tolerance towards each other's posts/expressions
    * Distinguish between Personal Harassment/Troll/Flame Posts and Merely Obnoxious/Subjectively Offensive Posts
    * Remove Personal Harassment/Trolls/Flames from the BLSD

The procedural regulation of the board:

    * Objectively offensive posts shall be removed to the Hate board initially
    * Personally harassing posts shall be removed to the Hate board and/or deleted as a last resort
    * In the instance of a good thread gone awry, care shall be taken to remove only those specific posts in violation
    * In the instance of a thread created in violation from its beginning, remove the entire thread
    * "Objectively Offensive" may be determined by either the subject of the attack (if there is one) or the moderator, with the advice of members of the board

To be clear on the matter, I took little issue with Opoto's jokes or insults.  People joke all the time. People argue all the time.  People even throw shots at each other all the time.  That's really not what concerned me.  What did concern me was his threat of future retaliation and escalating a matter that had, already by that point, gotten out of hand.  I viewed this behavior as harassment coming from a poster who has a history of disrespecting others (in particular newbies).  In short, Opoto was already on thin ice, even for a long time poster.  Indeed, there have been many complaints made by other posters with regards to his persistent breaking of Rule #3 above. 

However, there is something to be said for my participation in the back-and-forth.  Even though moderators do have the ability to take recourse against harassing posters, an appearance of impropriety can definitely emerge when the subject involved is the moderator.  Moreover, even if Opoto was on thin ice, my words arguably played a part in what he ended up doing, thus I cannot realistically place all of the blame on Opoto for how the situation played out. He may have also viewed my behavior as harassment and responded in turn, as most would, to being harassed. 

Nevertheless, the fact remains that even though we have outlined the rules above on harassing posts and objectively offensive behavior, the position was not made clear to Opoto before placing him under temporary ban.  I never gave actual notice that, given his general past offensiveness towards others, I viewed his current statements as harassment.  For that reason, I feel it is proper to remove the ban. 

We have all agreed in the above rules that harassing and/or offensive posts can end up resulting in the removal and ban of an individual from the thread, however, after discussing with many posters off-line, I must agree that notice should be given before taking such action.  That was not done here, therefore the ban should be removed immediately.

In the interest of keeping any further drama from the board on this matter, this thread is closed.  I am, however, always willing to listen to what anybody has to say on this or any other matter, so feel free to shoot me a PM.  And again, so as not to drag out what has already been properly labeled by others as board "drama," I ask that anything you may feel needs to be further added to this discussion be addressed to the appropriate individual(s) via PM.

For those who for brought your concerns in a calm and civilized manner, Thank You, and I appreciate your ability to provide checks and balances to the moderation of the board.  This is not a dictatorship, nor should it ever be perceived as one.



Northeast BLSA Regional Convention
Wednesday, February 21st - Sunday February 25th, 2007
(Competitors to arrive on the 21st, other conference participants may arrive Thursday or Friday)

The Annual Northeast Regional Convention will bring BSLA chapters together from 33 different law schools in the Northeast Region of BLSA, ranging from Maine to New Jersey.  This year, the University of Connecticut hosts the Northeast Region at the Hartford Marriott in Hartford, Connecticut.  There will be a little bit of everything for everyone:

  • Regional Business
  • Election of Regional Officers (Regional Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, etc.)
  • The Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition
  • The Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition
  • Helpful Workshops
  • Inspirational Speakers
  • Lunch and Dinner Provided
  • Professional Networking
  • Evening Socializing & Entertainment


Early Registration - Non Competitor (Nov 24-Dec 15) = $110.00
Regular Registration - Non Competitor (Dec 16-Jan21) = $125.00
Late Registration - Non Competitor (Jan 22 Feb 21) -  = $160.00
Early Registration - Competitors/Coach( follow same dates above) = $95.00
Regular Registration - Competitors/Coach = $110.00
Late Registration - Competitors/Coach = $145.00
Registration may be paid on Acteva using the following link -
Registration info available at

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Jersey Recognizes Same Sex Unions
« on: October 27, 2006, 09:11:39 PM »
This is the latest buzz in the legal world over here.  The opinion just came out Wednesday from the NJ Supreme Court:

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- New Jersey's Supreme Court opened the door to gay marriage Wednesday, ruling that homosexuals are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals, but leaving it to lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions.

The high court gave lawmakers 180 days to rewrite marriage laws to either include same-sex couples or create a new system of civil unions for them.

The ruling is similar to the 1999 decision in Vermont that led to civil unions there, which offer the benefits of marriage, but not the name. (Opinion -- pdf)

"Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state Constitution," Justice Barry T. Albin wrote for the 4-3 majority's decision.

Outside the Supreme Court, news of the ruling caused confusion, with many of the roughly 100 gay marriage supporters outside asking each other what it meant. Many started to agree that they needed to push for a state constitutional amendment to institute gay marriage.

Garden State Equality, New Jersey's main gay and lesbian political organization quickly announced Wednesday that three lawmakers would introduce a bill in the Legislature to get full marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Gay couples in New Jersey can already apply for domestic partnerships under a law the Legislature passed in 2004 giving gay couples some benefits of marriage, such as the right to inherit possessions if there is no will and healthcare coverage for state workers.

Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine supports domestic partnerships, but not gay marriage.

Supporters pushing for full gay marriage have had a two-year losing streak in state courts including New York, Washington, and in both Nebraska and Georgia, where voter-approved bans on gay marriage were reinstated.

They also have suffered at the ballot boxes in 15 states where constitutions have been amended to ban same-sex unions.

Cases similar to the one ruled on Wednesday, which was filed by seven by gay New Jersey couples, are pending in California, Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland.

"New Jersey is a stepping stone," said Matt Daniels, president of the Virginia-based Alliance for Marriage, a group pushing for an amendment to the federal Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. "It's not about New Jersey."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Northeast Region is coming to Harvard.


Northeast Region - Black Law Students Association

Saturday, November 11, 2006
Harvard University School of Law
11am-6pm WORKSHOPS
6:30-9:30 SOCIAL EVENT

BLSA Academic Retreats are typically geared towards 1L's and provide workshops on Blue Booking, Exam Taking, Resume Writing, etc.  This year's will have something for 2L's and 3L's as well by covering summer employment advice and Bar preparation. This year's Retreat will also be featuring a workshop with the author(s) of the acclaimed exam strategy book --GETTING TO MAYBE, and much, much, more!!

Hope to see you there....BLSA love.

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