Dear Dean Wippman

The University of Minnesota is another brick in the wall of the institutional left that holds Minnesota under its thumb. The university has done and continues to do some great things, but in many ways it remains an enemy of the ordinary citizen seeking to get on with his life. Its outré history faculty, to take just one example, is among the vanguard of anti-Israel, pro-Hamas supporters, and they’re not too crazy about the United States either.

I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and grateful for the education I received there, but along with the university as a whole it too is a big part of the problem. Under the leadership of deep thinking social planner Myron Orfield — he knows what is best for us and he means to give it to us good and hard — the law school hosts the blandly named Institute for Metropolitan Opportunity (formerly known with somewhat more candor as the Institute on Race and Poverty) that is the cockpit from which the regional planning assault is conducted in and on Minnesota. Without it, I doubt that Minnesota would be among the featured attractions in Stanley Kurtz’s Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.

This is how the institute describes its mission: “The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity investigates the ways that laws, policies and practices affect development patterns in U.S. metropolitan regions, with a particular focus on the growing social and economic disparities within these areas. Through top-level scholarship, mapping and advocacy, the Institute provides the resources that policymakers, planning officials and community organizations need to address reform in taxation, land use, housing, metropolitan governance and education.” I trust readers can translate that for themselves, but Kurtz, Katherine Kersten, and Paul Mirengoff have provided considerable assistance.

Given the existing malignancy that the institute represents, I was deeply disappointed to receive in the mail this week the announcement of a new law school project supporting illegal immigration. It is creatively named the Center for New Americans. Its mission “is to expand urgently needed legal services for noncitizens, pursue litigation that will improve our nation’s immigration laws, and educate noncitizens about their rights.” Its “partners,” of course, include Minnesota’s three biggest law firms.

The announcement I received was an invitation to the center’s kickoff program at the law school on September 30. The program is a discussion among like-minded speakers consistent, shall we say, with the center’s mission.

David Wippman is the dean of the law school. I wrote him to express my disappointment with the program and the center. There is nothing remarkable about the messages we exchanged, but I thought readers might be interested in seeing what Dean Wippman had to say. I wrote:

Dear Dean Wippman: I recently researched and wrote an article on the wave of illegal Central American immigrants with which we are contending at the moment. The article appeared in the July 21 issue of the Weekly Standard ( Through my work researching and writing the article, I got to know something about the issues raised by the current wave of illegal immigrants beyond the headlines.

I am so disappointed to learn of the law school’s new Center for New Americans project via the mailing announcing the September 30 event launch program at the law school. I am even more disappointed to see that the program launching the project includes no element of diversity of opinion on the subject. It seems to me that the program poorly represents the many sided nature of the issues involved and therefore detracts from the law school’s standing as something other than a partisan institution.

Very truly yours,
Scott W. Johnson ’79

Dean Wippman responded:

Dear Scott,

Thanks for your email and your candor. I understand that there are a wide range of views regarding immigration and I agree we should expose our students to a diverse set of viewpoints on that and other issues. I am convinced that the Center for New Americans is a great resource for the School and for the community. It substantially increases the number of clinic slots we can offer to students (though we still can’t meet the full demand for clinics). Our students have been enthusiastic about the opportunities the Center provides. The Center provides much needed legal services in collaboration with our partner organizations and it already has a case scheduled for argument before the US Supreme Court. The program launch is intended to highlight our collaborative model and so has several guest speakers from our non-profit partner organizations. I hope you will join us for the launch event; you could then speak directly to the Center director and faculty

Best regards,

I wrote back:

Dear Dean Wippman: I appreciate your gracious response. The opportunity to come talk with the protagonists is not what I had in mind, but I appreciate your pointing that out as well. When the law school has a program including discussion of the problems raised by the continuing flood of illegal immigration for American citizens, please keep me in mind. I would love to attend.

I had meant to add that my wife Sally (’80) is a legal immigrant and naturalized citizen from Peru. We went through the naturalization process together. That has given me some understanding of the system and the issues as well.

Thanks again.


I will leave Dean Wippman with the last word: “Thanks, Scott. I hope I will have the chance to meet both you and Sally some time soon.”


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