Interviewee: Michael Moorheado VU -.t-..
Interviewer: Becky Hoover
Date: March 21, 1990
**SIDE ONE ERASED**
H: We are talking about Cleo. When you left there, you went to serve as a consultant to the
M: I really left there to return back to Howard University and full-time teaching. The
consultancy was at the beginning of the Carter administration, not the Ford administration.
When the president came in, a number of task forces were set up and people [were]
brought [in] just for the organizational part of that. Some stayed on and actually worked
in the administration. Howard Glicksteen headed the Civil Rights Free Organization Task
Force, and asked if I was interested in doing some consulting on the civil rights
reorganization. That lead to a temporary assignment that was no more than two and one-
half months in preparation for the president's new term. So that occurred between the
election period and the time the president took office.
H: What were you working on? What was the substance?
M: Basically we were a small procedural in substance. We were looking at the civil rights
apparatus determining what adjustments should be made for the new administration, and
also, even though I did not play a part in this, the beginning of the identification of
persons who would serve in those assignments. The issues that were primary were how
does the president take charge of this part of the bureaucracy, get it up and running, and
have it effectively achieve his goals. We focused on the Civil Rights Commission. We
looked at justices, and civil rights ethics. We looked at HEWs. My focus there was
more with OMB, the Office of Management and Budget, and what role they could play
in making these operations more effective. That was done not by me alone, but by a
small group coming together, looking at the structure, and seeing how it could be oiled
to work better.
H: Then you were a consultant to the Office of Management and Budget Reorganization
Task Force. Can you tell me about that? Was that an appointment? How did that work?
M: Those were associated--the two task force. [Although] it was a civil rights effort, it was
not from the traditional civil rights vantage point, but [from] the management and
organization standpoint. Since the Office of Management and Budget is a critical agency
for all of the other agencies in the government, we wanted to make sure that structure was
in place and could be responsive to the individual agencies. That is a consolidation of
H: So they standout as independent operations then? I believe on your old resume that it
appeared to me that they were two separate [task forces].
M: They were related. When a president comes in, that is the agency that one has to take
charge of to manage the whole federal bureaucracy. Whether it is labor or defense, a
good part of the management occurs in OMB. So we were restructuring that to be
responsive to the civil rights effort.
H: Why did you take on all these responsibilities?
M: One primary factor was they were fun. I think also spiritual commitment to the interests
that were at stake there. I would not undermine the selfish component; they were
interesting, I would even say exciting, opportunities. Teaching has a stability and
continuity. I think it is enhanced by that kind of divergence from time to time.
Everything was positive about it. I look for opportunities to have for involvement as a
compliment to the society. I think this is pretty close to the best job one could have,
constantly learning and getting paid for learning.
H: In 1977, you were visiting professor at the University of Richmond. How long were you
M: I was there for one year. I took a leave from Howard to teach there. It was the first time
that Richmond had a black faculty [member]. It was beginning to bring in black students.
It was an interesting time. Again, it had a complimentary effect. I think I made an early
decision though, that Richmond would be a visit then and nothing but a visit. As it
turned out, I ended up doing a second visit immediately after that, which was here at
Florida. My expectation then was to go back Howard. You only get two consecutive
years of visiting. As it worked out, that did not happen.
H: So you came here in 1978 then as a visitor?
M: In 1978 as a visitor, yes.
H: Tell me, how did that invitation come about?
M: I knew a number of folk on the faculty here. I had visited here once in regard to an
inspection of a summer institute that was here. It was headed by Fletcher Baldwin
[Fletcher Nathaniel Baldwin, Jr., Professor of Law]. Interestingly enough, I assigned
Winston Meagan to come here to fill a role. He lingered after the Cleo Program. He had
been talking to me about the prospect of my coming down since I had left Cleo and
returned to Howard. It seemed a very good prospect for a visit. Without casting any
blame, I would say Fletcher and Winston were primarily responsible for that.
H: Then you decided to stay.
M: Then I decided to stay.
H: Why leave D.C. and your roots there to come to Florida?
M: Good question. If I did something of a short hierarchy of considerations, one was to
enjoy a different experience. I had literally spent all of my life in Washington D.C., and
with the exception of Richmond, I had not lived outside of D.C. This was hospitable, and
I thought it made sense to look at it. I still held open the prospect of returning to
Howard. I did not close that all together, but as time moved on, that got to be more
remote. This was an attractive assignment. There are resources here that would rival
almost any law school.
H: Which resources?
M: In terms of being able to have flexibility in one's assignments so one can take on other
responsibilities, [and] to have financial support for research that one wants to do. It is
a large enough faculty that there is a lot of flexibility if one wants to meander through
the curriculum. It is an institution that responds well to folk on a professional and an
economic basis. My wife and I had two kids, and we knew college was coming up. That
was another thing that made Florida very attractive. A dollar here and a dollar in D.C.
are not the same dollar. It is almost fifty cents in D.C. To get ready for that event,
which is now unfolding, it made sense to have the ability to save and also to give them
a slightly quieter environment than Washington.
H: Are they going to school here in Florida?
M: The youngest is a senior in high school. The oldest is at Stanford. I would say they got
their start from Florida.
H: What about the reputation of the college when you came? What was that?
M: I would say it is not as high as it is now. It certainly was in good standing. I think it is
significantly more than that. If we did three tiers of school, I think we probably would
have been [in] the lower end of the first tier. Now I think we are at the center of the first
tier, and probably still rising. We are going through a number of faculty changes, but I
think that is more a reflection of the strength of the institution as opposed to an indication
of a weakness. More and more folk are going on to better established schools. I think
if we look at the people we are bringing in to fill these positions, they are very strong,
credentialed, and by and large, better than members of the faculty than we were at that
stage. That is the kind of positive upward movement that any institution wants.
H: What were your impressions of the University as a whole?
M: One thing about law schools generally is that they seem to find the edge of the campus.
You do not get a full perspective of the university. My sense on coming here was that
it was a reasonably troubled place on the race issue, and that struck me very strongly.
Indeed, there was some effort [to drive me out] in my first year. I would not say this
played no role in my decision to stay. There was [an] isolated effort to drive me out, in
the sense that article was placed in The Alligator indicating that I had leaked exams to
black students. That was published as a fact. So it was an annoyance, and something
that had to be addressed.
H: You believe that was generated from the University or [do] you have an idea of where
that came from?
M: I would say it [was] originated by students who got support by a faculty member or two.
As it was printed, there were no names. They were just identifying students and a faculty
member anonymously. It was annoying, but not anything that would move me. I
thought, I cannot let it appear that I am leaving for this reason. Maybe staying even
makes more sense than initially thought. We went back and forth on that in the press.
We finally ended up going to the Gainesville Sun and had it publish a response to The
Alligator, since The Alligator would not play fair. They accepted a letter and published
it as it was written. That was an end to a very small chapter that should not have
occurred, but did. On race relations, the school is a good half century beyond what it
was, I think, ten years ago. I think the progress has been very significant.
H: I wanted to ask you, as the first black law professor here, what was it like coming to a
predominantly white school after teaching at Howard?
M: I would say I was not the first black law professor. A tax professor from Howard had
come down on a visit. He left shortly after someone fired a gun in his apartment. So he
was the first.
H: Do you know what year that was?
M: Let us see--three years before I was. I think that was for summer term.
H: So it would have been about 1975?
M: It would have been about 1975. It could have been 1976.
H: But for you, what was it like? You had been at Richmond, which was predominantly
white, so you had some experience. What was it like here?
M: I would say not much different from Howard. A different group of faces. Race was
certainly more of a factor, but not a significant factor. You would have some students
that would find problems with that. That would not surface that much in the classroom.
You could detect some of some of that, but it was such a small minority that [it did] not
[have] a noticeable effect. I am not saying that there were not larger racial concerns, but
in the classroom you had a narrower assignment, which was to deal with the subject
matter of the course. It would have been, I guess, more revealing if I were teaching a
course like civil rights law, but I was doing administrative law, property, and standard law
school courses in which those issues were not at the fore.
H: As a new professor, how were you treated by the faculty?
M: I would say probably as well as I treated them. I think that was reasonably good. There
were a couple of incidents, but you are again isolating individuals. I can identify a
professor who had very substantial problems with my presence here. [He] would make
his protest in the lounge, and participated in the student effort with The Alligator piece.
Generally, [there were] no real problems. If you do not put your hands on me, everything
is reasonably okay.
H: You said that in the classroom you had a focus, so you did not get into the major issues.
What were the issues?
M: At that time, we were not at the front of the Civil Rights Movement, but race relations
in the country were high agenda items. I think that has been consistently true since then.
It is now in sort of a waning field. The economic disparity is perhaps more significant
now than is the element of race. There were still major issues. The University was under
court order at that time to diversify--not only this university, but all of the southern
universities and some others. So it was a period of real evolution on those issues. I think
the University recognized reasonably early on that a function of quality was to get that
behind it. No one is going to consider an institution of higher education that is in anyway
overtly racist a high quality institution. I think Marston [Robert Q. Marston, president,
University of Florida, 1974-1984] certainly recognized that. I think his appointment
probably recognized the need for a changed image of the university. I think there was
rather consistent growth. There were also consistent problems, but as they were addressed
and the underlying causes were progress has steadily grown.
H: How many black students were enrolled when you first came?
M: I would say considering the two classes, the entering and upper class, you probably had
a high of about fifteen students. That is very small for a school of this size. We have
not gotten to ten times that, but we are probably at eight or nine times that now.
H: What was your relationship with those students?
M: I would say probably significantly closer than with their successors at this point. One
[reason] was [it was] a small group. It was also a new experience for both of us. The
communication was very natural, very free, and on a very consistent basis. So I think
much closer than with the black students now.
H: I know I have read an interview from George Allen, who was one of the first black
student graduates here. In his transcript it says that he was running scared the whole time
he was in law school. I was wondering how did the students feel in 1978?
M: In terms of academics?
H: Right. How was the atmosphere for them?
M: I think it was probably significantly poorer than it is now. Certainly that apprehension
was there. I do think they probably took the initiative not only with me, but also with
other faculty members who they felt were receptive-- Baldwin, Meagan, and maybe three
or four others--and would seek moral or academic support. My basic approach to those
who had problems and asked for assistance was to sit down and work out [a] legal
analysis. We can do that in four or five sessions. What looks like a very difficult
assignment is really not difficult. What we do is much more modest than what we report
to do. While we screen very rigorously, this is a discipline that takes reasonable talent
and common sense. I think a good number of people make it without the common sense
but have the intelligence. So if you look at the basic paradigm that underlies legal
education, it is fairly simple. Master that and it is a matter of putting in long hours to
distill information, synthesize it, and marshall it for problem solving. That is all we do
in every course we take. We just change the subject matter. The factors are adjusted a
bit, but once you can identify those, marshall, synthesize, and adapt them to problem
solving, it flows quite naturally. I still think there is probably too much mystery in how
one learns a discipline like this, which if foreign to most students, or at least they think
it is. We are probably doing better on that than we have in the past, by hiring a number
of instructors who focus on legal writing in the traditional sense, and on drafting. When
you have that close supervision of a student, give the student feedback, and get to the
point where the student is not overly self-conscious about being criticized on something
as basic as writing, one can make strides very quickly. We still have a problem with not
seeing that clear enough and not showing it to the students clearly enough. It is hard to
do with 100 students in a class, when you either have people who see it on the first day
and run, or people who are going to struggle for half a semester and some for a whole
semester without seeing it. I think with a lot more one-on-one we could cut that time
immensely, but it is hard to get a lot of one-on-ones in a school this large.
H: I guess part of my question was do the students feel comfortable? I was here for the
Balsa Reunion to take some photographs. I sat in on a networking workshop that they
had here in February. There were African-American students there. There was one girl
speaking for herself, and she was saying that she still does not feel comfortable here.
M: In the sense of what?
H: Of being a peer or colleague among the students. [The lack of] camaraderie, even among
the white and black students. She felt very isolated.
M: I think we are looking at a much more diverse group of black students than we were ten
years ago. There was an outlook, a commonality of concerns among black students.
Now the performance range of these students is much wider. We have students who are
very strong in their own right; their records indicate that. [We have] a good middle
group, and a rapidly decreasing group that is at the struggle stage, if I can put it that way.
Now we have a diverse interest because of that stratification. We find that some had
gone to predominantly white graduate institutions. Some have had a predominantly
integrated educational experience from day one. We still have others who do not have
that exposure. They are products of what we call old time or traditional segregation, but
not segregation by law setting. I do not like the word insecure, but I think that is an
adequate description about what an institution like this means for them. I think that
insecurity would be relative, in terms of students ten, eight, maybe seven years ago.
There is more confidence in their own abilities. It is a hard thing to describe. It is a
stronger group, a more confident group. It seems to be not as tough a group as students
who came in [years ago].
H: A stronger group academically.
M: Yes. In terms of the traditional credentials that one presents for admission.
H: But not as tough.
M: I would say the timber is not quite as tough from the early days. They had more of a
struggle. I guess my children have some idea that they have struggled. I have no idea
that they struggled; life has been pretty much a breeze for them. In a way, there is the
struggle in both. In the group that we are seeing now, the issue before them has been
academic success. They worked harder at that with less distraction, and they have
succeeded better than the group ten years ago. So in that sense, there has been [a]
meaningful struggle and they want that recognized. Others have still struggled to have
obstacles out of their way so they could focus on that same thing. I think that produces
a different kind of student with an outlook that is at variance. I must say I also see a
degree of simplicity that says we need our exclusive institutions to gain greater strength.
That is an issue that has been on the table. [It is] an issue, that I would have to say in
all honesty, has created something of a division between me and some of the students.
I think we are at the point now that setting up racial barriers for ourselves is not needed
and is counterproductive. There is some of that occurring.
H: So what is your stand on that?
M: We are bringing in a reasonably competitive group. I would like us to gamble more, and
bring in students who we can assess ability for but may not have the record, especially
if we can see adversity in the background justifying the disparate performance. Once one
is here, we expect a certain level of social responsibility. I do not want to say morality
even though that element is in it. Recently, and this is on a national level, we had an
incident in BALSA in which the Mississippi team showed up for the Frederick Douglas
Moot Court Competition with a white on the team. [That person] was someone who was
obviously committed to the same set of values as the other students competing in that
competition, but was denied an opportunity to participate. It can only be characterized
as exclusion on the basis of race. That presented to me a question about our structure
here and the need to show support for Mississippi, disassociate with the national policy,
and to borrow a little phrase from Spike Lee, "Do the right thing." So we have been back
and forth on that. To some extent the debate has affected their resources. When it was
not resolved as I hoped it would have been resolved, then we had to make sure that state
funds were not used for that purpose. Since I initiated that, one could expect that there
would be some bad feeling. It seems to me that is a smaller segment than the folk that
realize why that might be important. You have a reminder each year when the
competition comes up and somebody wants money to go there. When Dean Read [Frank
T. Read, dean of the College of Law, 1981-1988] and Dean Lewis [Jeffrey E. Lewis, dean
of the College of Law, 1988-1995] were approached on that [issue], they said, we will not
advance the money until that is changed. We will make funds available for the limited
purpose of participating in the debates about the policy, but short of that, we cannot
support that activity. I think in the minority communities generally, and certainly in the
black community, that is still a divisive point.
H: So you do not see a decision being made on that one particular issue with BALSA
coming up in the near future?
M: By the students? ,,
H: Is [it] something the national organization [supports]?
M: The national organization has a responsibility, but right now, I would have to say they are
the bad guys. Our responsibility is for the local [chapter], and also for the integrity of
our operation. I think we have come out correctly on that; no funds for the BALSA
competition or for anything else that Balsa is to do. It would be a good idea to get
diversity in this program. I am not going to require everybody to go out and recruit, but
to be receptive to students. You can go to the competition, [but] you just have to do that
as a private citizen, not with funds from the state of Florida.
H: This is a policy of the national organization, and our students here are abiding by that.
M: When you say they are abiding by it, the students would say, this is not my state of mind,
I just want to participate in the BALSA activities.
H: But until the national organization changes that policy, they will not be able to get funds.
M: They will not be able to get funds from this source.
H: You do not foresee them making a change? It is still very divisive.
M: I do not see national making a change. I am still hopeful that the local chapter will play
a more active role in facilitating a change, or go the route of establishing a competitive
forum with National BALSA. It seems to me that there is no percentage in going along
appearing to go along with that kind of policy. It is an area, even in the National Moot
Court, where blacks do well, [and are] very competitive at the forensic level. I think it
was the most unwise and unnecessary decision that was made. The only reason it recurs
as a problem here is that students very much want to participate in the activity, not the
policy. It requires fairly substantial funds to attend. Most do not have that in their own
pocket, and if they do, there is some other priority that taps it. So we are going to work
through that, I guess, over the next year or two, and hopefully get a favorable resolution.
H: You said you thought that we probably have about eight or nine times as many students
today. I believe we have around seventy black students currently enrolled.
M: Seventy? I thought we were in the eighties.
H: I am not sure. I could check on that. Tell me about the progress--do you feel that we
have made substantial progress in the recruitment of black students?
M: I would say we have a good ways to go, but on a comparative basis, we have made very
substantial progress. The school was not much smaller ten years ago, but the black
component is getting close to 10 percent. I do not set that as a satisfactory figure, but
that is much better.
H: What would be a satisfactory figure?
M: I think [a figure] approaching 160 or 170--between there and 200. I do not want to put
a cap, but it seems to me that not only do we have a responsibility to continue to
progress, [but we also] need to think ourselves in terms of furnishing attorneys that will
not just stay in Florida. This country, certainly this state, is much more diverse than its
law student body. If that persists, one wants to know a rational explanation as to why it
persists. I do not think we need to spend a lot of time on that issue. We need to work
to make sure that it is more diverse group. I am sort of surprised at the figures in Miami.
I think Miami is now the largest city in the state. [It is] 55 percent Hispanic and about
25 percent black. Whites in the city of Miami would be a small minority. I think we are
going to see that occurring in the counties, the state, and the country over time. There
is going to be more and more ethnic and racial diversity.
H: A year ago in February, there was an article in The Orlando Sentinel about black students
and the Bar Exam. They did a survey. I cannot remember how many students they
surveyed. I think it was in the 200 or 300 range. From that survey, they said that roughly
70 percent of the black students did not pass the Bar. I was wondering why there is this
M: Do you know the comparable figure for whites?
H: It was much lower. I am not sure what it was. I figure it was 10 or 20 percent,
something like that.
M: Historically, it has been a significantly lower figure. I would say for those who fail
generally, I have to assume that the process has been cleansed enough that race is not a
factor anymore. I would be surprised if the papers are identifiable on that basis or that
before the scores are put down for the final time, someone could identify individuals by
race. I am assuming that is not occurring, and I do not think that would occur now.
There is a disparity in terms of performance. There are historic reasons for that. I think
there is also this basic problem of not mastering an important point of this learning
process, and that is the thinking skills part as opposed to mastering a lot of information.
Once one knows how to approach legal issues, the need for an extraordinary memory
capacity or information byte becomes a lot less. For some reason, my suspicion is that
we are not picking that up as well as we should, and we are not teaching that nearly as
well as we very easily could. Historically, a part of this educational setting has been to
hide the ball. That is fun in [the] classroom for some period of time, but at some point,
you clear the air so those who did not succeed at the game now have another bit of
information that facilitates in drawing that connection. I think we probably need to get
more explicit about teaching and how one learns than we are inclined to do. I think that
we will. That is not what we consider our legal training directed at. We want to sort
more than we want to bring folk along. The higher our credentials on the front end, the
less need we have to teach. We can just present information and the students can take
it from there.
H: That appears to be something that would be very difficult to incorporate with a large
faculty. Could you set up programs? Now earlier, you talked about the research and
writing programs that would be helpful. Do you think there could be some other type of
program that could just help with clearing the air?
M: I think the best way to clear the air is probably to put the issue on the table, but
sometimes this issue can get so highly charged that it can start getting little
groups at odds with one another and rekindling some debates that will have feelings
flaring again. A quieter approach is better. If black, white, or brown students can
appreciate that not everyone is going to pick up at the same rate, which is not a definitive
statement about intellectual ability, and that there is no need to feel self-conscious or
uneasy about it, then there is a chance that one could address it. If ever a student asks
me, I will sit down with that student for about three sessions. Usually at the end of three
sessions, [he/she] will see the essential mechanism, and if [he/she] is a diligent student,
[he/she] will preform differently, sometimes very significantly from the prior performance.
I must say I have had a few white students and a few black students ask me, and we have
gone through that process. I probably have not done that with anyone for two years now
because I do not advertise. I really do not recruit, but if someone comes in troubled, I
say if you want to spend a few hours or a few days, you can easily turn it around. So
I do not know. I am uncomfortable with taking that approach. We all have agendas--this
is excuse time--and things that consume our time. That is a fairly significant devotion
of time for a student. It really takes better one-on-one than in a large group. You are
assured of having the person's attention at all times and this is something that has
bothered the students that I have worked with, so they are ready for a change. There is
no motivation issue on the table--it is just how do I do it. The only thing we do over and
over again is analyze, synthesize, and problem-solve. That is key to most intellectual
disciplines, and you just have to adjust for the discipline material. I do not think that we
will ever get a broad program in that area; there has not been any pushing for it. I would
suspect that a good number, I might even say the vast number of us, would say that is
beneath us--that is not the kind of teaching you do at a law school. Maybe high school,
maybe some in college, but at this point you should have it.
H: Or get it on your own.
M: Or get it on your own.
H: During your nineteen years of teaching, have you seen any changes in the whole student
M: My thought is that the energy is a little lower than in 1970s, even the mid 1970s. Now
how much of that is the teacher and how much of that is the student is a fair question.
H: Now you had Vietnam vets coming back at that time. When I interviewed Professor Van
Alstyne [W. Scott Van Alstyne, Professor of Law], he mentioned veterans as having,
generally, more energy. Do you think that was a part of it?
M: I would wonder what the numbers would be in that. I would not think ...
H: Not like World War II?
M: Yes. Not real large numbers, but I certainly think that is maturing experience. One
thinks about life differently. One thinks about focus, and what I want to achieve. That
allows you to deal with any obstacle that you encounter, so I think certainly think that
kind of factor plays a role. It would not just be that, it would be other maturing
experiences as well, [like] people dropping out for awhile, working, and coming back.
Those [people] are motivated individuals. I think when you have to pay your own way,
as opposed to parents being a source of income, it gives you a different spirit about this
H: Do you have any ideas on why you believe the energy level is lower today?
M: It would be speculative, but I would do some of the traditional speculation. We are not
as socially conscious today as we were then; we were more self-oriented. Even though
I wear a Republican hat, I think the Reagan years have put an emphasis on being self-
oriented. We had a group of black, white, or whatever gender or ethnicity who bought
into that--doing for myself is a good in itself.
H: The "me" years.
M: The "me" years, yes.
H: You were here during the last two years of Joseph R. Julin's deanship [dean, College of
Law, 1971-1980]. Could you describe his administration and his style of leadership?
M: [That is] somewhat difficult to do. I saw it mostly in the faculty meeting context. How
would I describe the leadership? Both democratic and not democratic. Certainly if there
was an issue that the faculty wanted to press, I do not think Julin would try to block that.
On the other side, if there was a matter that he was significantly concerned about, he
would know how to maneuver around or maneuver the faculty itself to get what he
considered a principal matter resolved in a particular way. I think on the diversification
issue, while his thinking was right, I do not think his performance was what it could have
been as dean. We could have come along a lot faster on that issue if he looked at the
issue as more of an institutional-wide issue, as opposed to a matter of his personal
commitment to that kind of development. So if there was an opportunity for him to do
something to enhance it, he would, but we did not get to the point of directing the
institution towards that goal during his tenure. It picked up a bit later, I think, during
Tom Read's administration. It still did not get to the point that I thought it should have
been. We had at one point traded memos on how to move better than we were. I think
major progress has occurred during Jeff Lewis's administration. A good part of that is
associating with Rahim Read [Assistant Dean for Student and Minority Affairs, College
of Law], spending the time, being interested in this, having it as a primary assignment,
and moving fairly decisively.
H: You are speaking of student recruitment?
M: I am talking about student recruitment at this point. Were we talking about faculty
H: Well I am going to get to that, but go ahead.
M: I think we are now--and we need a couple of years of this to see if whether we have a
trend or whether we just have a blip on the screen--a little over or a little under 10
percent coming in with each new class. The big thing that is happening now is that Reed
[Rahim] is working on the second entering class of the year. In the past we have been
bringing in fifteen blacks in the fall out of 200. When we get to the winter, [we bring
in only] one, two, and occasionally none. Your presence dwindles significantly. I believe
this term we probably had close to 10 percent of the class, which may be a little high, but
certainly about 8 percent of the class was black. Time will really integrate the school.
I think we will change the dynamic significantly and permanently.
H: Very good. I did not know that. That is great. Back to Dean Julin. What was his
relationship with the faculty?
M: I would say probably a good professional relationship. I did not see signs of close
friendships between faculty members and the dean. Dean Julin is a hard worker, [and]
has a number of activities outside of the law school that he pursues. I think he gave a
prestige to the institution because of his national exposure. When we get down to
something as isolated as dean/faculty relations, I would describe him as trying to do as
much as he could as dean. Pushing ahead without declared support by the faculty was
potentially detrimental. At that point, we would have that kind of consultation. I look
at him as sort of in the mode of the old-time deans, who existed at a point [in time when]
the dean was the one who ran the school. He was somewhere in between that and
recognizing that the faculty plays a significant role, and putting the faculty in the position
of asserting itself if it wanted to play that role. Otherwise, he would fill the vacuum.
That can be good. It is not a style that I rate very high.
H: What was your personal relationship with him or interactions [with him]?
M: I would say very good to excellent. I like him as a person. I think he has a good set of
values, which is rather egotistical to say. I could always find fault with a piece of
movement on issues that I was concerned about. I thought we could have moved much
faster. He was a dean that believed in promoting the faculty in activities that they took
on, [and] research that they took on. [He was] very much at the center of the school, and
managed the school along the lines that he desired. My concept of the leadership role is
to build consensus if you have an issue of importance, recognize consensus [among] the
faculty, debate the consensus head-on when you oppose it, determine whether it is your
authority or the faculty's authority after the issue is resolved, and carry out the decision.
That is not the traditional dean, and I do not think that was Dick's approach. Often he
had a clearer vision from his perspective, and would implement it.
H: What issues would you have liked to have seen him move faster on?
M: I think the minority issue would be at the top of the list, and certainly playing a role in
changing the character of the faculty so it would have a significant female component.
Those things did not occur and were not occurring at the end of his deanship, [nor were
they] a part of his deanship. It seemed to me there was a height as it picked up. It is
now really getting into high gear. Interestingly enough, I would place a good part of that
on a young colleague's initiative. Anthony Cook [Assistant Professor of Law] has
probably played more of a role in that than any of us has just by force of personality and
intellect. He has played that role.
H: I wanted to ask more [questions] about Dean Julin, and then we will get into faculty
recruitment. When Dean Julin was here--I mean when he was dean, he is still here--he
implemented higher admission standards. I was wondering whether that had any affect
on black student admissions.
M: My thought would be no, only because with the adjusted standards, we always drew an
exception. We have been under court order, and have a particular responsibility to move
in this area. The court order does not play a role that much now, but at this point, we
seem to have grown to understand that is a requirement of ours. I thought the movement
could have been much more rapid in his administration, especially given his personal
outlook, and also given the number of chips that I thought he had built up. He could
spend them on an issue like this. I was not satisfied with the movement overall. I
thought the potential for greater movement was there.
H: Then Frank T. Read came in, and you believe there was some progress made during his
M: Indeed. I think he built on the progress that Julin had. I must say, coming from my
perspective, progress is probably different from what my colleagues would call progress.
They would probably look at the Julin years as breakthrough years. It was a breakthrough
in the sense that it was the first time there was any emphasis, but the accomplishment was
still quite modest. So we still struggle with it today. Read spoke about it more. It was
on the open agenda. I think that was helpful. I was still quite dissatisfied with the pace,
and indeed had an occasion to prepare a report for President Criser [Marshall M. Criser,
president, University of Florida, 1985-1989] on the pace issue.
H: When you did that, were you speaking to student recruitment and faculty recruitment?
M: Largely student recruitment, but faculty recruitment was a background issue. We have
folk in state. Since we are not limiting ourselves to the state, we certainly have a pool
we could tap. We have the resources. We are an attractive institution, [but] we just did
not have a high enough priority. It was on the priority list. Part of that is political; it
could not be [excluded] from the priority list. My expectations were just different. I
think where we are now, we should have been at least seven or eight years ago. If that
were so, we would be in good shape. It is possible to get this issue behind us. It seems
to me that ought to be [our] aspiration as opposed to doing as much as necessary to keep
the heat off. The sign now is that we are doing the important work of trying to get it
behind us. I think that is occurring not only here but [also] elsewhere, so we get some
sort of uniform statement that it is okay now to move a little faster. Dissent is still
among the students, [and there is] certainly substantial dissent among certain faculty
members. We need to do this one right this time and go on to another problem.
H: You mentioned earlier that Dean Lewis is making progress in faculty recruitment. Is that
H: Or were you speaking to student recruitment then also?
M: I had student recruitment in mind. We are certainly making strides in faculty recruitment
in terms of women, not in terms of blacks.
H: I know that they are negotiating with, I believe, five new faculty members right now. I
am not sure if they are final.
M: I think we are down to three with four already tied down.
H: And no blacks?
M: No blacks. We had black candidates come through, and there is still a black candidate
that is alive. We have not been that generous with black candidates this year, not in the
sense that they were not presented to the faculty, but the faculty accepting them. There
is an individual who was made an offer who has turned us down--a black not of American
descent, but of Ethiopian descent. He is an Ethiopian by birth. He has elected to go
elsewhere so that sets us back some. My thought, which may be a little narrow-minded,
is that the kind of enrichment that someone like that individual would bring is good
enrichment. When we focus on diversifying the faculty, we need to have a prime concern
for American-born blacks. We want the larger international aspect, white and black, but
we also have a primary concern. I almost we wish we could put on some blinders for a
short while and go after this vigorously so this can be behind us. Now we were making
progress but we lost Taylor [W.F. Taylor, Professor of Law], which is a very substantial
loss. Looks like another colleague is going to be away for a year. There is a prospect
that Anthony Cook will take a year leave to study at Harvard on a grant, which is a big
plus and a big minus.
H: It is scary.
M: It will be reminiscent, it seems to me, of the old days when I was the only one here
among the teaching faculty. That is a bad state of affairs, I think. The only way we will
overcome it is with significant diversity.
H: So are there not enough blacks coming to apply for the positions?
M: We do our application through a central process, so everyone who is interested in law
shows up on this AALS listing. There is a summary biography. All the vital statistics
are there. So we are all competing for the same group of blacks and whites as well. We
have the ability to compete successfully, but it takes a good deal of time. I think the
committee worked hard at producing black candidates, but the faculty was not as
receptive. I still think there is more the committee could have done. There is also a lot
more flexibility that could have been exercised by the faculty. One candidate that we
turned down seemed to me to be a very substantial mistake. [The candidate] was well
credentialed, just at the beginning of her career, articulate, [and] I think effective. I
suspect our perspective was maybe in two years we can look at her, which means that we
are going to have a dry year this year.
H: How do we compare nationally in terms of our ratios here of black law professors, and
also in terms of recruitment? Is everyone having trouble or is it just isolated institutions?
M: I think our ratio is going to look very bad. There are not too many that have four, five,
or six faculty members. You are going to be talking about a school like Temple,
Wisconsin, or maybe UCLA, which is getting close to that. San Diego, a smaller school,
is perhaps moving ahead nicely. There are not many schools that are making this a first
priority, and that is what it takes to make the difference. Wisconsin said, we are going
to go out and we are going to have three minority faculty. They hired three minority
faculty who were all strong, and all assets to the institution and to the community. It is
almost a blind commitment that this is what we are going to do and then set about doing
it. We are a large faculty, still fairly conflicted over this issue, and we cannot quite
muster that reserve. We will say it sometimes, but when it comes to actually voting by
secret ballot, the result is different.
H: It seems that way for women faculty also, regardless of their race.
M: I think this year we are going to perhaps do fairly well on that front. I will say three or
four women faculty will come on next year.
H: That is great. How much do you think Dean Lewis has to do with that?
M: Some. I think it is the faculty and dean. This sufficient segment of the faculty, and
generally the younger faculty, has probably now made this a priority. Recruitment is
largely a faculty function. The dean is then concurring partner in this. We are fairly
jealous about it. A dean can play the cheerleader role, and that can be very helpful. I
have not seen that down in my time. It is a segment of the faculty that is doing the
H: Who are the people who are leading this?
M: I would put Anthony Cook at the center. I do not know if I would say [he is] leading this
or [if he] is a substantial force in the process. I really think his presence has energized
others of the younger faculty, and that is where the thrust is.
H: With him gone for a year, do you foresee things slowing down?
M: That is a possibility. I am also thinking that if we have four additional women, that is
a prospect for an additional black. Certainly we had five new folk who would seem to
be oriented in that same thing, [which] is going to change the faculty dynamic. The
problem I see now is one of patience or impatience, and it is coming. It is going to be
sort of fits and starts, but the change is going to occur. We have broken through the
notion that there are no women out there, which was always something mind-boggling.
When we look at our own enrollment, enrollment nation-wide, and undergraduate
performance, women have had an edge on men for a long time. That is happening in
law school as well. People are still living in another time zone, and do not see what is
happening right around them. I think within ten years, we will certainly be close to 40
percent of the faculty being female. I would be less optimistic about the prediction on
blacks being close to parity in the population. I do not think that is as assured.
H: What percentage is the parity? What would that be?
M: We would need a census to tell. We would probably get a good count. I think we would
be talking about something like 15, 16, or 17 percent.
H: It is still open for the new faculty that is coming on.
M: Yes. I think it is pretty much closed. I hope we have had our last candidate yesterday.
H: But there are seven positions open, is that not correct?
M: Yes, but they do not have to be filled for the full year. We are large enough and have
two entering classes, so a lot of us teach the same courses and we can move things
around. I think we might get one or maybe two additional students from people who
have already been interviewed. We have four tied down.
M: Candidates. They will be here next year. I think we will get one more, maybe two more.
H: Today's date is April 4, 1990. It is Wednesday and this is the follow-up interview with
Professor Michael Moorhead. We had talked about student and faculty recruitment. This
morning what I would like to go into your University experiences, campus-wide. You
are currently chairman of the Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Council,
is that correct?
H: Can you tell me how long you have been doing that? When did you start? What is
M: I have been on the council for five years. The last two years I have chaired the council.
This is not a University-based operation. It is a project that is owned and essentially run
by the Educational Testing Service. I serve as chair of what is best described as an
advisory committee to the Educational Testing Service, which owns the GAPSFAS
[Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Service] operation. This is a needs-
analysis program that seeks to standardize the measurement of need among those who are
going to graduate and professional schools, at least those who are focusing on a member
school for attendance. Rather than have several universities trying to make those
decisions independently, that has been centered in the Educational Testing Service. Our
advisory board oversees the progress of that kind of assessment. It really requires an
ongoing review of factors to be considered in the award of financial aid, [and] also
staying in touch with what occurs in Congress in terms of legislation that affects financial
aid. Right now, a fairly large issue or concern that we are on the periphery of, which is
still absorbing a bit of attention, is the desire on the part of Congress to simplify the
process of determining need. We hear rather often that it is much easier to handle an
income tax filing than it is to fill out the kinds of forms we produce and analyze.
H: They are not so easy.
M: That is a fact, but what the program is trying to do is more intricate than financial aid.
In order to determine whether you are going to grant someone money, not only do you
want to know what their income flow is, but you also want to evaluate all of their assets.
Since an enterprise involves not only the student, but [also] the student's family, you are
going beyond the individual in collecting information. We are in a hectic time focusing
on some reforms that are going to come down the pipe. Congress seems to have made
up its mind that it is going to do something with these kinds of projects.
H: Why have you taken on this responsibility?
M: With the graduate and professional schools? It is a personally rewarding opportunity.
I do not want to put that at the top of the list, but it does seem to me that in terms of a
larger social good, this is a significant activity. It is reasonably important given the
limited amount of resources that are available, to assure that some system is in place that
will target those who are in the most need of funds. While this is not a purely need-
based program, we do examine need closely along with other qualifications, and try to
make sure that those who could get into college are not impaired by financial inability.
I say college, but I am talking about graduate and professional schools. That is something
that is quite necessary, [and] I would say quite significant.
H: I was thinking that was campus-wide. Are you involved in any campus activities or
M Yes, [I was involved for] a number of years. I am now involved in the Steering
Committee of the Faculty Senate. I am also a member of the Nominating Committee of
the Faculty Senate, which has a lot of responsibility for coming up with a group of names
to present to the University Senate on who will serve in what faculty administrative posts.
Excuse me, I have to clarify that--not the operational line of the University, but the
committees that have a substantial impact within the University. So we have a committee
on athletics. Those folk would be nominated by this committee and appointed by the
senate. Every University-wide committee comes to that group for setup of nominations.
We start by canvasing the full faculty, asking A&P [Administration and Personnel] staff
about participating, and organizing all that information. A group of about six folk would
sit down and make nominations.
H: How long have you been doing that?
M: I am in my second year, and that is usually a two year appointment.
H: Do you think you will be staying on or reappointed?
M: Probably not on the Nominating Committee; perhaps on the Steering Committee. That
committee has a different task; it sort of controls the agenda of the Faculty Senate. It has
not been, at least in my assessment, a very activist or even mildly aggressive group.
Some would say, and certainly my experience over the last two years would confirm, that
this is largely managed by the administration. I think we are in for a market change
within the next year or so. I think it will be more significant and more interesting serving
under the new president with a revitalized senate.
H: Right. I guess in yesterday's paper, [it mentioned] a stronger group academically.
[[Interruption on tape]]
M: Even though at points it appears that one is splitting hairs, I think you are really engaged
in the heart of the activity that law school is about. The information is very small. The
analytic, synthesis, and problem solving skills that we talked about last time are the key.
H: So what kind of atmosphere do you enjoy in the classroom the most?
M: That is ambiguous. It is what I enjoy and what is being enjoyed in class. I would say
generally in the classroom, at least for the first few weeks, there is a desire for more
dynamism. I think I convince them after three weeks that is not going to come. From
my standpoint, what is enjoyable is a constant dialogue. The issues are placed on the
table and we interact. They lead to another set of issues and we follow that vein. My
role is primarily to direct that development, but my hope is always that I can do that
without really being the initiator, identifying the comments of students, [which is] the next
step that we want to go to. Sometimes that means jumping down and working back up
towards your starting point. Just an ordinary dialogue, as you and I are having, is a little
harder when we are in some of the classrooms and we have 100 people. When I teach
property, that is a difficulty to contend with. It usually leads to my lecturing more. In
courses like administrative law and labor law, where you may have anywhere in the
semester from twenty-five to fifty students, the closer you are down to thirty, I think it
is quite natural to have that dialogue.
H: How do you prepare for class?
M: How do I prepare for class? In a number of ways, I guess. The first order of business
is to reread the cases again. No matter how many times you have read them before, you
will discover something new or another slant, another way to look at it. My habit is to
reserve the two hours before class for that purpose. Indeed I will read treatises and
newspaper articles that I clip on such matters that relate to what we are doing. I do that
the day before, but prior to each class, I like to block off those two hours to focus on
those thoughts and refresh myself on the detail of the cases. While I sit down in the
preparation, I try not to present that in the classroom. I still pull the teeth to get that
information on the floor. I must say I am sort of at a crossroads on that issue. When a
class moves quite slowly, it would be easy to speed it up by then moving into the lecture
mode. At this time of year, that seems to be more in demand. Folk want to be told and
rather understandably because everything is converging now. Once you get a little earlier
in the semester, I am a little more stubborn about pulling the teeth than I am now.
H: Spring fever too. Can you describe your feelings about your tenure here? Has it been
supportive or productive?
M: I would say yes to supportive, and yes to productive. Support coming from where? The
dean's office or faculty?
H: From all those areas.
M: Yes. [Support] from students would be an area in which that would be at issue. [They
are] sometimes not as supportive on issues that I feel very strongly about because at that
point, we are usually locking horns on something. [There is] certainly no feeling of
restraint on the part of colleagues. [We have] vigorous arguments and on rare occasion,
warm arguments. I cannot think of a recent occasion in which there was a heated
argument. So I would find the atmosphere good. I think the working relationship is
good. It may have something to do with the extent of my activities outside of the law
school, consuming some time and focusing less on law school issues. After one has dealt
with issues of race and discrimination over a period of time, [he/she] yearns for a younger
colleague who will pick that up and serve as a substitute. I must say I have been more
on the periphery of those issues. Cook particularly has been more at the center, at least
this year. I think that is very good. I hope it lasts for a couple of years.
H: Why have you stayed?
M: Why have I stayed? There are both professional and personal reasons. One thought in
coming out of Washington into Florida was not only the educational opportunity, but
[also] the economic opportunity. I have a wife and two children. Both of the children
are bound for college. It is easier to give them a college of their choice from this
economic setting than from Washington, D.C. It is a life style change that has been very
pleasant. I must say so is Washington. I had a very pleasant setting, but I would not say
that I am going to die at the University of Florida. I should put in more gently--retire at
the University of Florida. I should say we have been able to meet what we consider a
very pressing interest, and that is a high quality education for our children. It has been
doable here; it would have been harder to do elsewhere. Personal development has been
good, I think, for both me and my wife. There has been a career change for her, going
back to school, and then assuming a career six years ago.
H: What does she do?
M: She is a statistician. She is working in the bio-statistics department of the medical school.
H: I think you mentioned that.
H: Her name is Jacqueline?
M: Jacqueline. I can see beginning to visit at schools within the next two years, not with
a particular eye of moving, but to have a new experience, a refreshing process. The
problem will be Jackie and I working out a move together. That complicates it a bit, but
it is solvable.
H: I wanted to ask about that. I had some other questions here though. Are you involved
with the law school's Financial Aid Committee?
M: I am not immediately. I was up until a year ago. These appointments have terms. I have
now been nominated for the board, but that will be determined in an election in June.
H: That is a matter of some of your other experiences on other committees of evaluating the
M: No, no. Those are policy making committees. Even with GAPSFAS, we do not evaluate
applications. We do evaluate the structure by which the individual schools make those
H: On the law school's committee, what would you be doing?
M: On the law school's committee, I am only dealing with admissions issues in the graduate
tax program. The Law School Admissions Council is a separate organization.
H: The Law School Financial Aid Committee.
M: Oh, the Law School Financial Aid Committee.
H: That is what I was asking about.
M: I am not currently serving on that. I did [serve on that committee] maybe three years
H: Okay. Now you are up for the Admissions Committee?
M: No. There is the Law School Admissions Council, which is an organization like the
Educational Testing Service, and that is a separate focus. No, I am not on the
Admissions Committee or the Financial Aid Committee this term. I am on the Graduate
Admissions Committee which deals with
H: You served as a visitor on the Board of Visitors to Brigham Young University College
of Law. You are currently serving on the Visiting Committee of the University of
Kentucky. I was just wondering why you get involved in that?
M: It is an opportunity to look closely at another law school. I guess it is just a pleasant
activity and informative as well, plus you meet more people in the profession. Those are
programs that certain law schools offer. They want other faculty members to come in,
look at their operation, and comment of their operation. They find it helpful; I find it a
learning experience. There is something for both sides. It is a means of getting another
input into a school's self-evaluation. I think that serves both the inputer and the recipient
of that input. You do see things happening a different way from how they are occurring
here. I must say generally when I look around, what I see here impresses me more
favorably in comparison, in the sense that we are fairly decentralized. There is a great
deal of autonomy. There are definite professional expectations, but still one [has] a sense
of [his/her] own agenda. Sometimes when we go to smaller schools still in the
progressing stage, there is a bit more regimentation. I would not say in either of the
schools that I have an ongoing relationship with that has not been but it is
an interesting contrast between Florida. Plus they are schools of different sizes, generally
half the size of this institution..
H: Do you have any schools in mind that you would like to visit?
M: I almost feel two [schools] have approached me often enough that I probably would
consider [them]. One would be Brigham and the other would be the University of Utah.
I would not be looking for any particular setting. I just think the idea of a change
periodically is helpful to me and probably helpful to the school. Often that change occurs
at some place where you know someone.
H: Could it be that both kids would be in college over on the west coast?
M: You know that could be a factor, but they may get wind of that and move to the east
coast. The California trip is not a long trip. It is perhaps one of the cheaper ones to take.
Once you get to the latter, they are all long trips. That is a real possibility.
H: So [there are] chances of looking around in the next couple of years?
M: I would say high or to a certainty. I am talking about for visits, not for permanent moves.
H: Just for visits. Are you active in the Gainesville community?
M: Not significantly. In the back of my mind, I think I should be, but also have in the back
of my mind I think that I do not need anything else right now. At some point, I will
make that shift. It is important, I think, for folk to take up those involvements, [and] that
a changing group participates, not just a group of folk that moves around in the
bureaucracy. It is important work. It is time consuming work, and we all have to make
H: What do you do for fun?
M: For fun, what do I do? Believe it or not, I find my outside activities fun, like volunteer
H: Your professional work?
M: Yes, that is highly enjoyable work, and I guess that is a selfish component of that kind
of service. It is hard to say whether you are satisfying some internal need or giving some
assistance to someone else. It may be a little of both, but I suspect that it is the selfish
aspect that is the real motivation for doing it. I do enjoy that. I also cut a lot of grass.
That is not necessarily fun. It does give you the opportunity to think about some things
and even though you are in a back yard, a fairly large back yard, you kind of feel like
you are away with your thoughts.
H: Sports or fishing, any of those activities?
M: At a picnic, I will play softball or volleyball and enjoy them. [I participate in] no sports
on a routine basis. I guess if one focused on law school, outside activities, and family,
that probably takes care of the twenty-four hours in each day.
H: So you get to spend time with your family, pretty much?
M: I try to make it home for dinner every day. I spend time in terms of being in the house
at the same time, but everybody has an agenda. The work that Jackie does is demanding,
so it consumes a good bit of evening time. My work consumes evening time. Homework
consumes evening time. On occasions, [we] just get up and get away--over to Crescent
Beach or maybe over to Jacksonville. If time permits, [we go] up to Washington to make
the rounds. You just kind of fit it in. Every now and then, even though the time is not
exactly appropriate, the batteries need charging, so you do something.
H: Are you affiliated with the church in town?
M: I am a not, nor out of town.
H: Those are all my questions. Is there anything that you would like to add about whatever?
M: No, not really. I must say I am bit surprised at the length of this interview. When you
called me, I thought we could wrap this up in fifteen minutes to a half-hour.
H: I am sorry.
M: No, no. Only in the sense that one does not usually talk about oneself.
H: This is our Oral History Project and you are part of the College of Law and the history
that will be recorded.
M: I cannot think of a time that I have talked this much about me, which is a little strange.
H: Is there anything that you would like to add?
M: I think we have a complete record.
H: Thank you.
[Addendum: From 1976 to 1978, Professor Moorhead also served as chair of the District of
Columbia Rental Accommodations Commission, an appellate body of record
which reviewed decisions of the Rent Administrator's Office and issued formal
opinions disposing of those appeals. Professor Moorhead's wife's full name is
Jacqueline Elizabeth Jones Moorhead. His children's names are Brenna Elizabeth;
his other daughter is Cathryn Althea. Rahim Reed, mentioned in the transcript,
is assistant dean for Student and Minority Affairs at the College of Law.]