The Dawson paper trail
Law students in Florida apparently aren't the only ones who have been frustrated by FAMU law Professor Victoria Dawson. The editor-in-chief of the Missouri Environmental Law and Policy Review told The Gradebook that Dawson e-mailed him in September - two months after she agreed to let that journal edit and publish her now-controversial paper - to say she was going to let another journal publish it.
Editor Travis Elliott (then a Mizzou law student but now a recent grad) said at that point, he and other editors had already put in more than 100 hours editing the paper. "I was certainly dismayed," said Elliott, who called the episode "professionally frustrating." Dawson changed her mind, he said, after talking to the journal's faculty adviser. "I had to run a little bit of interference on this article," Professor Thom Lambert told The Gradebook. "I never had to do that before."
The paper in question is raising questions about Dawson's ability to teach and why she was hired. The version she posted on-line in 2004 - and shopped around to law journals like the one at Mizzou - is grammatically challenged and in some places outright confusing. A much-improved version appears in the fall edition of the Missouri journal.
Elliott said he offered to publish the piece because its subject matter - environmental dispute resolution - is timely and relevant. But he said the majority of the changes between the on-line and final versions were made by he and his editors, which is the case with most of the submissions they receive. He also said compared to other submissions, Dawson's writing was "substandard."
-Ron Matus, state education reporter