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Initial Report

Levin College of Law - Dean Search Comment Form


February 20th 2017, 5:24 pm EST

Q2 - Candidate

(Please choose one):

# Answer Count

1 Alexander Acosta 80
Total 80

Field Minimum Maximum Mean Std Deviation Variance Count


Candidate

4.00 4.00 4.00 0.00 0.00 80


(Please
choose
one):
Q3 - 1. What do
you believe are the strengths of this candidate as you have observed them?

1. What do
you believe are the strengths of this candidate as you have ob...
Leadership; vision; can do attitude; confidence; awareness of the field; collegial spirit
The candidate may have some, but i find him unacceptable and want to focus on why (see #2).
Interesting man and backgroundHe seemed to be a strong talker - wanted to be open to students - has a strong
record of leadership at FIU Law - raising money and ranking. A pretty aggressive personality, but charming.
- Experience as current law dean
- Knowledge of actual law practice and how that is important for today's law students
- Willingness and desire to work with other colleges to improve the Law School and UF
- Many contacts in the legal system in South Florida, Washington, DC, and New York
- Did a good job of sharing his vision for the Law School at UF
None.
Limited experience as Dean of a Law School.
Bright. Good ideas, but others have same.
Has sitting dean experience. He is charming in his conversation.
None for the Deanship.
Knows a lot of people. Clever "idea man."
Dean Acosta had the clearest and most realistic plan to address the greatest challenges facing students: the job
market. He is clearly passionate about the subject and will devote a significant amount of time and attention to
getting students jobs. Furthermore, his record shows he is capable succeeding. UF Law's weakest area is its
overwork, underfunded, and stagnant Career Services office. I believe Dean Acosta has the experience and drive to
transform the office into a efficient and productive service for the students.
Is already a Dean (but at a much lower ranked, and relatively new law school)
He seemed personable, engages with students and has experience as a dean.
Creative
Energetic
Interesting ideas about future of law schools in changing economic climate
I believe he is probably good at networking and fundraising. He also appears very politically connected, which
could be beneficial in providing funding in a primarily Republican dominated state (where politics unfortunately
matter in state funding - as demonstrated with Dr. Judy Genshaft after her dealings with JD Alexander and the USF
budget cut showdown).

He also said he likes making time and interacting with students. Additionally, he has an academic background and
real world experience which could help students with job placement.

A huge strength of Acosta was that he discussed his desire to have a low cost of tuition for students. I think
affordable access to education should be a main concern for any state university and it was great to hear this
verbalized by Acosta during the student discussion forum.
I was impressed with his energy and enthusiasm during the interview session. Also his credentials are impressive.
Dean Acosta has a forceful and engaging personality. He has previous experience as a dean, albeit at a law school
ranked significantly below UF (and below Kentucky, where candidate Brennen has deanship experience).
He is very direct and honest about the strengths and weaknesses of UF Law as he sees them. He articulated a
vision for where he wants the school to go and gave reasons about why he thinks it is attainable.
That he was the Dean of FIU Law.
Acosta is is the strongest candidate for Dean. He knows the law as a practitioner and has proven successful in the
academy. Acosta has stronger ties to this State than any other candidate, and frankly, this is the only candidate
with an eye for the future of this program and it growing with our fast-growing State. U of Florida must ask what
kind of product it wants to put out into the legal market: practice-ready low skill para-legals; or highly skilled
"thinkers" that this profession has been predicated on for thousands of years. The latter is what Acosta
emphasized in his broadcast interview with the faculty and I could not be happier that at least one person in that
room views us students as top-caliber future lawyers (the others have advocated for Susskind lawyers as legal
technicians... )
None in particular for our law school - he does have academic administrative experience, but not such that would
prepare him for our school.
Strong understanding of how to expand access to the legal market for UF Law graduates. Holistic focus of how to
place graduates in different legal markets beyond Florida. Hard worker, seems to be very active and involved.
Interesting experiences prior to becoming a dean.
He is a Dean of a FL Law School
Experience, prescence on campus, personability, legal experience, reputation
He has a charismatic attitude and is good at being casual in the way he speaks.
Danced around every question students asked him. Had a cell phone out during hid presentation. Told students
UF is not the place to go when he was a Dean at FIU. He is a sale person not sure if he is a Dean though.
-Ability to connect with people, particularly potential students and donors.
-Leadership
He seems like a straight shooter and likeable. Given all he has accomplished with FIU, I think he would make a
good dean.
Dean Acosta has results. I was only able to watch two of the candidates but Dean Acosta really impressed me with
his experience as FIU's dean. He was very authentic and had concrete ideas to improve our job numbers. The fact
is even UF graduates are not getting jobs and we are not tapping into major markets like Miami. I want a Dean
that will produce results and not just give a great political speech.
Very charismatic
Strong Florida Ties, Strong fundraising capabilities, connections to employers in Florida.
He already has experience being a dean, which is good. I think he would be personable with the students.
He is very smart and a good presenter. He has a proven track record as Dean of FIU. He has connections in south
Florida which will help us move the needle quickly in increasing our fundraising in that area. He will relate well
with our alumni base and has the personality to cultivate large gifts. He greeted everyone as they walked into the
room during the faculty/alumni luncheon which is key to creating relationships and shows he is willing to take the
time to do this at alumni events and is approachable. He is dedicated to being on the road and understands the
importance of fundraising and the time it takes.
He is strong-willed enough to manage the faculty if he doesn't cause an outright rebellion.
experience as law school dean, demonstrated success in significant areas such as fundraising, placement and
alumni relations; connections to south Florida and Tallahassee; good administrative skills
He seems excited and he has political connections among Republicans
Successful dean at FIU. Increased rank, scores, etc. Very successful fundraiser
He is very successful as Dean at FIU. He would transition well to UF. He has strong leadership skills and a direction
of where he wants to take the UF law school.
Experience in practice. Contacts in South Florida
He has ideas -- that is a good thing! He'd probably be good at fundraising.
Prior dean experience; passion about improving the law school -- but for his own image; South Florida
connections.
currrently a dean at FIU
Personable and informal, but gets straight to the point. Recruiting seems to be a strong point. International Law
interests.
This candidate knows the ins and outs of a Florida Law School and has significant knowledge about the needs of
the Cuban community.
very focused and energetic; likely to be an excellent fundraiser; had a vision for finding outside sources of
financing for the law school; successful experience as dean of start-up law school; responsive and respectful even
when his positions were challenged
I believe Dean Acosta was very poised and articulate. During his time with the students, I feel like he answered his
questions very thoughtfully. He is very charismatic and comes across as genuine. When I was an applicant last year,
I narrowed my choices down to UF and FIU. He was a very good recruiter and advocate for his school. I believe his
connections to Florida, especially to the Miami market are great strengths he can bring to UF Law. As someone
from South Florida, I feel like I made the best decision in coming to the best law school in the state, however, I
know I am missing out on a connection to the largest market in the state. I know there are a lot of other students
at UF Law who want to eventually move to South Florida and work in that legal market. Having Dean Acosta as our
dean will hopefully bridge that gap and bring more Gator Law alum from South Florida to Gainesville and hopefully
get them excited to hire us for summers.

I believe Dean Acosta's ability to fundraise was also impressive.


He seemed smart, capable and a quick study. He is already a law school dean. He also is willing to try things that
others who are more steeped in the culture of legal education might not attempt. He may be bolder and more a
leader because he is not (yet) from a career perspective completely entrenched in legal education. He also struck
me as strong and decisive. I don't think he would be anyone's pushover and I do think that he would try to be a
leader and to challenge us to consider initiatives that might be a stretch for the faculty. Also, his practice
experience is a plus and gives him a perspective most law teachers simply do not have (or at least) don't have
anymore. I think he would be able to explore some new avenues in fundraising and has apparently been
successful at this already. I think he would be very focused on the students and the quality of their education.
He has experience as a sitting dean, but it is at FIU, a law school that in US News rankings comes in at 159th as
ranked by law school faculty compared to UF College of Laws ranking of 36 (tied). So I do not view his experience
as a strength. Its like saying being the manager of a single A minor league baseball team is a strength when
considering a pool of candidates to manage a major league baseball team. We would be a national laughingstock if
he were appointed dean. I do not consider that he recognizes that lawyers who clamor for practice-ready law
school graduates and suggest that the curriculum be revised to that end in fact, when asking for references want
to know about the students skills in legal research, analysis, and writing, all of which are and have been for many
years the core of law school curricula. Brennan and Donaldson are also well aware of this cognitive dissonance in
the practicing bar.
Political involvement
Zero
Approachable, keeps students as priority, history of success at FIU, member of "minority" population
He did a good job with FIU.
Very eager to bring his experiences to UF law.
Vision for the law school
very specific plans regarding programming (Miami and DC semesters), fundraising and student placement
dynamic speaker

Entrepreneurial; very intelligent; direct manner; observant; thick-skinned and self-confident; understands all
aspects of the position; experienced and successful fund-raiser in an academic setting; experienced and successful
in improving student placement; good connections to practicing bar.
He has an understanding of the challenges facing law schools and he has made good improvements to FIU's
standing within the rankings.
His strong political connections and ties to leaders in South Florida, combined with a strong vision for the
acquisition of new external funding could have a positive impact on the financial future of the school. His current
service as dean at FIU has given him great insight into how to succeed as a leader in an academic environment. It
is also likely that he would succeed in improving our school's employment statistics and help us move up in the
rankings.
Energetic
Dean Acosta is a smart person who presents himself well.
Dean experience; state of Florida connections.
Experience; leadership; ability to increase fundraising; understanding and knowledge of Florida's regional
differences.
He is good with recruiting. He is very friendly, and has positive ambitions for UF law. The network he already has
established in Miami will also be very helpful to our students.
He has AMAZING ties to many areas. He also has a great background and experience in being an attorney. He
seems very well connected to many areas UF needs to break into more and goes out of his way to be there for his
students. I have met him previously and I strongly believe that he would be a great advocate for UF.
UF is the staple school in the third largest state in the US and has the best law school in that state. Miami is the
biggest market in this state and its growing exponentially. Acosta understand that market and should open UFs
doors to it. Also, he rubs elbows with federal judges, law partners, and federal prosecutors. What can make more
sense for a law dean? Faculty forget that students want one thing, jobs! No student cares about someone's
pompous ideas in some publication about a niche area of law that nobody practices in. Those sorts of credentials
are great from the faculty. Not the dean. Acosta seems like a candidate that may deliver what his customers want.
Alamaba, in a land locked state school, jumped from #38 to #20 in three years. It bothers me that UF has stayed in
the same spot for over a decade. I challenge the provost to take this law school seriously and see if we can do
similar. If so, I guarantee many happy alumni will be glad to open up their wallets down the road.
Good work ethic.
Background seems strong. Has good ideas for areas to make changes in (and has visions for those changes).
Straightforward and open. Mentioned focusing a lot on students (which is why we are all here). Has good ideas on
how to better prepare students for jobs. Doesn't have strong ties to the school so it sounds like he would be open
to making appropriate changes rather than relying on tradition.
Connections in Florida.
He has experience, interesting ideas, leadership qualities, a great knowledge of the state, and potential untapped
sources of resources. Seems very personable and sensitive to the needs of the community.
Very well educated credentially. This is the type of Dean that could make a significant impact on UF Law.
- Strong fundraising skills
- Already a Dean
- Proven track record of improving a school's rankings
-Harvard education
-South Florida legal market connections
-Current Dean of Florida law school
Dean Acosta
law. He went He spent two hours
with us, answering any and every question we had.

He strikes me as a strong leader and a tenacious manager. In all honesty, I almost went to FIU over UF in large part
because of his personal touch and reputation for connecting his students to jobs in south florida.

I am a huge fan of his and would be sincerely pleased if he were to join UF.
Q4 - 2. What
weaknesses do you see in this persons candidacy for the position of Dean?

2. What
weaknesses do you see in this persons candidacy for the position...
Confidence
Academic experience limited.
I urge the committee to vote against forwarding Mr. Acosta's name to the provost and president because Mr.
Acosta's history casts serious doubt on his character, judgement, and professionalism. Many faculty members have
verbalized similar concerns.

Among other causes for grave concern is Mr. Acosta's unusual communication with a judge while Mr. Acosta
worked for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. As background, a lawsuit was filed after political
operatives had questionably targeted more than 20,000 African American voters for removal form the voter rolls
before election - creating risk of wrongful disenfranchisement.

Although the judge reportedly had not sought the federal government's input, Mr. Acosta sent a letter to the
judge, which essentially expressed support for the political operatives' potentially unjust activities.

One mission of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division is "to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans,
particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society." Playing fast and loose when people's
constitutional rights are at stake is the opposite of what Civil Rights Division attorneys should do.

Viewed in a light least favorable to Mr. Acosta, his sending that letter suggests (1) that he prioritized partisan-
political agendas over his duty to promote justice (perhaps to "score points" with superiors) and (2) that he
disregarded the rights of the people whom he was duty bound and paid to protect. Those possibilities cast doubt
on Mr. Acosta's character and sense of justice.

Viewed in a light most favorable, Mr. Acosta (while acting as an attorney and public servant) failed to avoid even
the appearance of impropriety, which casts doubt on his judgement and professionalism.

Our law school's reputation - and its ability to instill in students a sense of justice and professionalism - would be
undermined if our new dean's own character, judgement, or professionalism were subject to any such doubts.
A pretty independent guy - maybe a threat to staff in IT & Dean's office? He might be more likely yo "step on toes."
- I found myself counting how many times he referred to accomplishments in the first person instead of giving
credit to others
His ethics and character provide poor role models for our students and demean the reputation of our law school.
He was not articulate and demonstrated insufficient intellectual abilities. Lacks understanding of the current legal
education challenges. Faculty will not respect him as a leader.
Appears to take very divisive positions. In meetings with faculty, he did not listen to faculty concerns. Instead he
was disrespectful and dismissive. No significant teaching or scholarship experience. Does not know what legal
scholarship is - equates scholarship with practice-based writings, websites, videos.
- not a community builder; arrogant
- instincts tell me he will be divisive, we ca't go in that direction - we have to work together to achieve our goals
and UF's goals as top 10!
Lack of academic background and, notwithstanding 5 years as dean, seems to lack an understanding of an
academic culture of intellectual engagement. His point system seeking to measure scholarly value of work is an
example of his lack of comprehension of intellectual value.
If the law school needed a dance instructor, he would be qualified. in a one hour discussion with faculty, he never
once gave a straight answer to a question, but tap danced around. His extreme right wing political views were
evident, and even if not directly conflicting with those of most of the faculty, I do not see this candidate working
collegially.
Much too top-down oriented. Likelihood of creating conflicts and divisions within faculty is very high.
Dean Acosta may face certain geographical challenges when attempting to improve UF's employment statistics in
his move from Miami to Gainesville.
Some question about working with faculty . Questions about directness to inquiries.
Would be extrememly divisive among the faculty. Not a good fit for the institution. He is too much of a politician.
Does not really understand UF or its culture. Would cause much dissension with policies and practices.
I don't think he would be a good fit for the law school. He doesn't seem to have the same outlook and vision in
terms of the future direction of the law school (e.g., he has a rigid view of how the law school environment is
changing in terms of adapting for being practice ready and that doesn't seem to fit with what is going on now).

I don't get the sense he supports diversity in the way we need it. I meet with racial/ethnic minority student leaders
regularly and they recently brought up the major concerns they have with his politics (e.g., his
perspective/understanding of voter caging) and how those views would impact the diversity at UF law (in terms of
support for programming, admissions, students in general). They don't feel he would be supportive or advance the
diversity agenda. I also agree with that in terms of how he answered some questions. I think we need a dean who
is at the very least comfortable with diversity and understands it (I think Huebner or Brennen would be very good
at handling issues of diversity here).

I found that he had no concrete answers for any of the questions asked by students, and instead would deflect to
the success that he's had at FIU. He stated that UF was not currently penetrating large markets, but had no
solution he could offer for this. I feel that he fails to take into account the fact that he is the Dean of a school in a
large city. The students there have greater opportunities to network, and obtain clerk positions during the
semester, and are therefore more likely to be hired by whoever their current employer is.
Looks like he could make decisions on the spur of the moment without thinking through the consequences, and
without getting input from others affected by the decision.
Problematic decisions in pre-dean career
Unrealistic appraisal of realities of UF, especially as compared with FIU, a low-ranked law school
Not a legal scholar
While Acosta's political connections may prove beneficial with respect to being able to get funds from a republican
controlled state government, I believe that the bidding he performed on the behalf of the Republican Party (via his
role in the vote caging case) should have disqualified him as a candidate. This issue is too divisive politically and
has potential racial implications.

UF is a school that has a history of racism (just google "Virgil Hawkins") and racial tension (as recent as the
townhall discussion in Fall of 2012 to address diversity in the 1L class). We need a Dean that is willing to address
these and future concerns at a minimum but preferably will attempt to solve problems and act proactively to
ensure diversity. Academia at a state funded institution should be led by an individual that would not let his biases
affect rationale fair decision making. I fear Acosta's political ties will not allow him to be this unbiased actor or
fully support positions that may run afoul of his political beliefs. While I acknowledge the diversity he cited at FIU,
I question if this is an issue of correlation or causation. Is the diversity he mentioned actually caused by policies
enacted or supported during his tenure? Or is it merely correlated with his deanship at an institution with
historically greater cultural diversity that is located in a more diverse region?

Additionally, his unwillingness and inability to reconcile the story he has been telling potential law students
regarding FIU's greatness, superior opportunities and location when compared to UF, is troubling. During the
student discussion session, he admitted that he has not yet figured out a way to reconcile these opposing
narratives. I expect a dean that truly believes that UF is the number one law school in Florida (as Brennan and
Donaldson both stated during their respective sessions). I do not think UF should hire a dean that would only make
a statement to that effect after being offered the position. While I understand the delicate position Acosta is in as
the current dean of FIU, he still should have been prepared and willing to make a statement speaking to UF Law's
excellent standing in the State of Florida (at a minimum not make it seem that he believes that UF is at a parity
with FIU).

While I acknowledge that UF is not perfect in many respects, the degree and quickness that Acosta was willing to
question and state that UF Law is not successful in tapping into Miami's labor markets and not successful with
fundraising seemed to borderline on unprofessional. I question if he is aware of the efforts made by Dean Jerry
and OCI. While he was quick to point out shortcomings during the student session, he gave no actual details of a
plan of action to remedy the situation other than to host parties at his house (or other notable alumni's houses) in
order to mingle with alumni and potential donors. I am sure Dean Jerry has networked with alumni, has hosted
similar types of events and probably done much more. After Acosta was so quick to point out UF's shortcomings, I
was hoping that he would provide a novel or cutting edge plan for fundraising. However, I was left disappointed by
his answer.

Finally, he picked up and read his phone at least three times during the student interview session (which lasted
less than an hour). This was in direct contrast with the statements he made about his desire to communicate with
students. I was somewhat shocked at this behavior. I could not imagine being an interview and reading my phone
during a Q & A session.
His perspective seemed tethered to his experience at a fairly low-ranked law school in Miami. He did not seem to
appreciate the distinction between running a law school in a major urban setting, and running a law school in a
smaller college town such as Gainesville. He has no academic publication record. Although he had done his
"homework" in researching many aspects of UF Law, he fell flat in other fairly obvious areas with information
easily available online. As a result, he made some suggestions for programs UF could pursue (such as externships),
even though we already have a program similar to (and more expansive than) the ideas he recommended. In
making some of his suggestions for the future of UF Law, his tone struck me as mildly insulting of UF Law and of
past adminsitrations. Perhaps this is just intra-state competitiveness among two Florida law schools, but his tone
struck me as falling beneath the standard of graciousness and professionalism that one would expect from our
next dean.
The only weakness I see is that he has never been an academic and also does not have experience at a law school
that offers an LLM program like the prestigious tax program at UF Law.
He was involved in a political campaign that intimidated Democratic voters from voting. His answer to getting
more minorities in school as to give "first generation scholarships" which is an extremely stereotypical and racist
thing to say. He also talked about how he wasn't going to deal with the trivial issues in the law school.
Acosta's politics seem too radical. If Acosta were to become dean of UF Law, then the relationship that have
already established with the community outside of Gainesville may be in jeopardy. I also worry about the state of
the minority population here at UF. Acosta does not seem to be open to minority idea or involvement. If Acosta
were to become dean I believe the number of minority students present UF would drop back down to the
numbers seen in the 1L graduating class of 2015.
He's a terrible fit for UF - he is arrogant in thinking his experience at FIU is transferable to UF, which it is not. We
are the flagship state law school, located far from the urban centers he is used to having as a resource for his
various programs at FIU - there's no real comparison. He has a clear political agenda - his comments about
normalization of relationships with Cuba were offensive in my view, seeming to indicate a colonial patronizing
attitude toward Cuba. He would be a polarizing figure, and would be a major disruptive force, and not for the
good.
A strong weakness is a tendency to be abrasive.
Not many Gainesville connections (but enough Miami connections to compensate for this)
He is polarizing. He seems to look down on people when he answers their questions. I see him rubbing people the
wrong way and do not think he will be an asset to the University of Florida. He started out his student session
speech by telling UF students not to speak to FIU students about him. I think that him saying that speaks volumes
about how he is received by many FIU students. He also was very abrupt in the way he answered questions and
seemed to be shrouding a more combative nature. He was quick to hit his rankings point which seemed to be his
main goal as Dean at UF. While it is great to go up in the rankings, I do not believe that Acosta will go about it the
right way.
Refer to number one. Additionally he has stopped black and latinos from voting during his time as the US
attorney.
Coming from a smaller law school I don't know if he would be able to make the changes necessary here to make it
a more amenable working environment for faculty, staff and students.
He seemed a little nervous but I do not necessarily see it as a weakness. He was very authentic and genuine.
Provided false information about local programs with firms in one-on-one conversations. He grew very agitated
when other versions of the programs were mentioned. Very pessimistic.
None
Not having enough connections to Gainesville.
There are many things that make Acosta unsuitable for the position of Dean at UF. First, his focus on off-book
revenue streams does not serve the greater public interest of the State of Florida, nor does it serve our students,
who should be our primary focus. Second, his management style is dictatorial and that will not go over well here.
He expects to lead, not manage. His idea of incentivizing scholarship by paying bonuses based on a scholarship
metric is completely unacceptable. And finally, his views about the limits, or lack of limits, of legal arguments
places him squarely in the fringe of legal academics. His history of using law to further political goals and not the
goals of justice or equality or democracy make him a very troubling choice for dean. I liken his views on the
appropriate limits of the rule of law to views of creationists, holocaust deniers, and climate change deniers.
Although I don't care what views one has on creationism, the holocaust, or climate change in the dean of a law
school, I think it would be incredibly divisive and demoralizing to appoint a creationist to the position of chair of a
biology department, a holocaust denier to chair of a history department, or the climate change denier to the chair
of the environment and ecology department. Acosta's views on the rule of law would be a slap in the face to the
faculty who believe, with the vast majority of lawyers and academics, that law should be deployed for equitable
ends, not political ones, especially when those political goals entail undermining democracy, sanction the use of
torture by a civilized country, or blatantly disregard the law of this country.
uncertain how well strengths at FIU translate to UF
In my opinion this candidate was not acceptable. He has a number of troubling ethical incidents in his past. When
asked about those matters in the informal interviews he tried to minimize these incidents and was not completely
truthful about the circumstances under which the federal judicial criticism of him occurred. This seemed odd
because the matters do come up in Google search. In addition, he stated, in the context of Congressional
testimony that you read whatever statements your higher ups give you. He did not seem to recognize that the
person testifying, under oath, has an independent obligation to review the veracity of the statement. I do not
think this is the model for ethical conduct we want to place before our students and our community, particularly in
a time where the standards of lawyers' ethical conduct is under intense scrutiny.

On a different front altogether, he is not seasoned enough within the academic environment to be the Dean of a
school the size of UF. He was asked during his lunch talk about faculty governance and putting administrative staff
on sensitive faculty committees such as Appointments. His answer indicated that he now knows that practice was
unacceptable, however, any one who has taken time to understand what faculty governance means, would have
realized that was inapprorpriate. Our institution is very complex and we need a dean who knows the academic
environment or at least shows an awareness that one must investigate what the "normative" procedures are
rather than just acting and having to back track and repair later.
Finally, the law school community has been experiencing quite a bit of internal tension during the past five years.
We need a new dean who will assist the community in finding a way to work together. I do not have confidence
this candidate can accomplish this. In his own institution this year his administratively driven committee brought in
ten candidates to interview for faculty positions. Nine of the candidates were white. We do not need this approach
at UF. Our faculty is diverse and the fight to make it so and keep it so is on going. I cannot see this candidate
supporting our goals.
Vote caging issue when US attorney
He seemed aloof and uncomfortable talking with staff.
Smug, arrogant. I don't think he'd get the buy-in of the faculty.
Hiring Acosta would be VERY divisive for the law school. A substantial number of people expressed concern about
his candidacy -- both students and faculty. If the Provost hired him, this would really send a TERRIBLE message to
the law school. And it would do great damage to our inter-faculty relations.

Acosta is arrogant, misinformed about many aspects of UF (employment of students, externships). He carries a lot
of baggage and concerns regarding his commitment to social justice, and while others departments might not
worry about this-- as LAWYERS, this is a central role of our profession. Consider an analogy: hiring a Dean for the
College of Medicine who smokes and who works for a tobacco company.

Acosta is also regional. Even though he worked in national politics, his only reference points were South Florida
and Washington, DC. That's not what we need. Also, it seems that he only wants to create a stronger presence for
UF in South Florida, perhaps, allowing him to remain there much more. He does not seem interested in moving to
North Florida at all.

Acosta did not overcome his lack of academic credentials. He compared writing policy statements to producing
good scholarship. Also, he implemented a terrible "point system" for "ranking" legal scholarship. That is also
incredibly bizarre - and it discriminates against junior faculty who lack the reputation to get high placements early
in their career and against people who write more controversial scholarship. That ranking system would be a
disaster at UF, and no one would support it. He is bad news.
FIU is a new law school and is very small. Not sure the faculty is ready for someone like him.
The candidate may have views that border on subjective and obsessive that will reflect in his duties as Dean. It is
important that the Dean be objective when making decisions that affect the Law School.
lack of academic experience as faculty member; potentially divisive within the law school (but not sure how
serious this issue is); would likely view deanship as stepping stone to another position (but would have obvious
incentive to succeed in this position)
As much as he came across as genuine, I did not like how he was checking his phone while one of the students
asked him a question. I felt like that was a bit rude coming from someone who prided himself in his relationships
with his students and staff. However, as someone from South Florida, I know the environment is just fast paced
and he may not have realized how his actions came across. He would need to learn how to adapt to the Gainesville
pace.
Whatever Dean Acosta's strengths are, he is a mismatch in my opinion for this law school. I am afraid this will be a
replay of Richard Matasar's deanship. He came to the school with an attitude that we needed whipping into shape
and he was the guy to do it. He did not seem to have much respect for the school and its faculty. Did not work;
ended badly; cost the school in a number of ways. I worry in particular that Dean Acosta will not be sensitive to
diversity issues and how they play out in this complicated environment. We have had issues that were in my
opinion poorly handled in the past and the faculty's reputation suffered as a result. Dean Acosta has an elite
private education and no ties to this part of Florida. I did not get the impression that he had much respect or
affinity for the school. He evidenced no appreciation for the differences between a solidly ranked, 100 year old
school in north central Florida with a large, powerful, and entrenched faculty, and a new "blank slate" urban law
school like FIU. His attitude seemed to be "look how great FIU is...you guys could learn something." Perhaps he
is right, but I know that he will have to learn many things to be a success in this environment and frankly I am not
sure he has the temperament for it. In short, my prediction is that our faculty will provoke him to mishandle a
situation and his deanship will be ineffective (despite his best efforts) and plagued by controversy. The law
school's reputation in academia will take another hit.
Where to start, where to start. As noted above he is out of his league in trying to jump from the deanship at FIU to
UF. He is not an academic. Hes a politician who got to be a dean a law school based on political connections. He
is not remotely qualified for tenure at the UF College of Law. He is not a scholar or a teacher. He has no real and
significant first-hand understanding of what a law professor does either as a scholar or teacher. Like Huebner,
there is no evidence that understands what legal scholarship is, how it is conducted, or how to evaluate it in the
promotion and tenure and post-tenure review processes. He does not meet the College of Law's standards for
tenure as a lateral professorial hire, and I strongly believe that it is completely inappropriate for a law school at a
flagship state university, particularly and AAU university, to appoint as dean a person who could not be hired as a
professor with tenure under written tenure standards that are otherwise rigorously applied. His luncheon
presentation, in marked contrast to Donaldson and Brennans presentations, was boastful and arrogant. (For other
evidence of boastfulness and arrogance read his bio on the FIU website.) He failed to demonstrate any in-depth
knowledge of the publicly available information about the College of Law actually made some statements that I
(and other faculty members with whom I have spoken) consider to be factually inaccurate. When discussing issues
that arose and changes that were implemented at FIU during his deanship Acosta spoke in the first person singular
I, mine, me, unlike Brennan, who used plural pronounswe, our, usunlike. Acostas manner
reflected a very different a very different attitude toward the faculty and the institution. There is every indication
that he would attempt to be a top-down manager, which would be a disaster. I think Acostas lack of
understanding of academia and management style is reflected in his pride in devising a system for paying bonuses
to faculty members for publishing law review articles and books and his admission that all he does is count, not
measure quality. His view is that legal scholarship is like piece-work or billable hours. If this is his idea of a good
management technique, it evidences that he is a disaster waiting to happen. I am absolutely100 percent
certain that if acosta were the dean not only would the UF College of Law cease to attract to the faculty the
outstanding entry-level and lateral-hire faculty members that we have been attracting in recent years, but we
would lose many of our current scholars of national renown. Furthermore, it is my understanding that if an FIU
student seeks to transfer to another law school, before the student will be certified to be in good standing (thus
enabling the transfer), Acosta requires an exit interview at which he attempts to dissuade the student from
transferring. Such bullying practice is highly objectionable. Students do not transfer for frivolous reasons; it
typically involves transfer to a more highly regarded law school in an effort to better employment prospects (or
sometime family needs). To attempt to interfere with that process rather than to facilitate it reflects that Acosta is
putting his needsmaking FIU look good while he is deanover the students needs. That is unconscionable in
someone who purports to be an educator. But that is what to expect from a politician. I have absolutely no
confidence that in any decision he confronts he will put the needs of the UF College of Law, its students, and its
faculty above his own needs to burnish his resume to improve the chances of landing the next job that he seeks,
which in all likelihood will be in the political arena. Acosta is wholly unacceptable as a candidate for Dean of the
College of Law

Will have hard time getting faculty support


Never been a faculty person never at AAU university 106 th law school
Ties to Miami not really translatable to Gainesville (not the same legal market)- He didn't really have an answer on
how we can tap into that market from here. Success at FIU not something that can be necessarily recreated at
UF...its a lot easier to go up from the bottom then it is to move up at the top.

He seemed more interested in FIU and Miami than UF and Gainesville.


His experience is with Miami and it at least seems on the surface that things are done very differently in Miami
than Gainesville.

His major interest was in brining up the rankings, while it is quite easy in a lower ranked school I dont feel that
moving up to the top should be UF's main concern.

He seemed keenly interested in Miami, while a lot of students want to work in Miami many do not.
His message was not consistent. While he said that rankings were not as important, his presentations were filled
with ranking facts and data. He said that he was a hands off dean, it was obvious that he micromanages his staff. A
lot of double talk and assumptions on many issues.
some faculty seem to be against him
May come off as brusque or arrogant which could create challenges for forging and maintaining positive working
relationships.
He is very student-focused, in terms of being accessible to students, to the point of it being unrealistic (his
students have his cell phone number???). I think he would want to be too involved in the small details of each
office and I think he would constantly overstep on the authority of the department heads.
His confidence came off as arrogance to some audiences. He also lacks a strong academic background, and would
have to work hard to gain credibility with the faculty.
Despite his frequent statements about faculty cooperation, he appears to be very top down oriented, and some of
his ideas would clearly be divisive within a faculty. They might have been acceptable at FIU that has nowhere to go
but up, but there is too great a risk here that his management style will be very disruptive.
A lack of completeness and candor that I discuss further below.
Certain groups seem to have a strong negative reaction to him.
I do know he has yet to address his potential deanship at UF with his current FIU students. He has not made any
statement to them about this application process, and FIU students found out online without notice from the
school. Transparency seems to be an issue.
I did learn that he was involved in a voting issue about 10 years ago involving minorities, but I believe that his work
at FIU is superior. He also went out of his way to speak with and meet students after the forum. I believe he will be
a strong advocate for students thus I do not really have an issue with this.
He's a politician.
Not trustworthy, willing to abuse power, lousy listener, lack of understanding of what goes on at a law school
ranked as highly as ours.
None
I should preface this with the fact that Levin Board of Trustee members have already said that Dean Acosta has
been selected which is a little disheartening. However I will take the time to express the fact that Dean Acosta was
my least favorite of all of the candidates. I found him incredibly slimy and disingenuous. He has a lot of
connections in Florida, and can bolster our standing as a solid Florida school, but I don't think he has the capability
to bring us to the next level, ie graduating students who are competitive outside of Florida.

He repeatedly said that UF was doing a poor job with employment and pointed to the fact that his students often
work during school in the US attorneys office, state attorneys office, etc while in school and then get job offers that
way and thought we should do something similar. When I pointed out that those big offices are in Miami or other
cities, and you know, our school in in Gainesville, so that might be sort of difficult he acknowledged that his
current system was totally inapplicable in Gainesville but had no thoughts on how to adapt.

He pointed out that only 6 students went to DC after graduating last year, and that this was a low number. He then
asked us why we thought people were having trouble (not being able to get funding to accept externships in other
cities, etc.). However when I asked him what he was going to do differently to help us get to these places beyond
things we're already doing like externships and visiting other universities for a semester, he literally had no idea.
He seems all talk with no actual substance, and no good ideas. He's a lot of energy, and certainly has connections
in Florida, but I don't think those are the qualities that this school needs right now.
He carries baggage. If the faculty cannot accept him or work with him, then it will not be productive. Although I
do not like when the faculty members say we should not hire him because he is a Republican or a Bushie, the
controversy surrounding the voter dilution issues has resonated with the faculty (and this is a legitimate concern).
Although I have talked with faculty from his school and they seem to think he is fair and a good leader, his part in
the voting issue has created a hostile environment that he would be walking into.
This is a strong candidate that would dedicate themselves to the position.
None
-FIU is a poor law school, although an up and comings law school.
n/a -- nothing intelligent to add here.
Q5 - 3. Is there anything else you would like to add
as to the candidates suitability for the deanship?

3. Is there anything else you would like to add


as to the candidates suit...
I thought he was a terrific communicator. His plan for community engagement and collaboration with public health
and medicine were forward thinking.
Need a more proven academic.
No.
Alex A. and David B. were the strongest candidates. I think Alex A. would be less status quo - more likely to make
changes.
- This person could step right in and lead the Law School in new directions
- Impressive candidate
He is totally not suitable.
I think he is not respected in legal education or law practice and will harm the reputation of the school. I believe
he will be divisive and will further divide an already divided faculty.
I fear that this candidate would do active harm to the health of the law school. This is, sadly, a very divided place
and he would further divide the faculty. His record is problematic and we are a much more complex and larger
institution than FIU.
He actually scoffed at the idea that skills courses require "critical thinking"!
Absolutely not!
During my meeting time with him, he made a side comment about how he is different than his Senior Associate
Dean at FIU (Dean Mason). He described himself as leading with his head and his associate dean as the one who
makes decisions with "heart." I don't think that's a good fit with our law school. I think the new dean needs to be
able to have both. He gave a lot of examples of this.

I was also concerned when he mentioned how Dean Mason told him when he was getting too involved with the
students. That is a red flag for me. It doesn't seem like he thinks things through all the time and in this case I think
it reflects his lack of self awareness and understanding of boundaries with students. I think that would be
problematic for a dean. I'm not sure what happened in this situation, but as a dean you should be able to manage
boundaries and assess what is appropriate.

He repeated a lot of what he said in his meeting with assistant directors in the faculty/alumni presentation.
It concerns me that he was previously involved in voter suppression. UF has made great strides this year in
increasing minority enrollment. As a minority student, if I found out that the Dean of a school I was thinking of
attending had previously been involved in something like this, there is no way I would matriculate.
I would put the other three candidates ahead of this one
The negatives outweigh the positives
I would just like to add that
I think he is an incredibly competent and skilled man and I believe he would be an excellent
addition to UF Law. I have no particular allegiance to Dean Acosta but I think if he
had the access to the resources and alumni base that UF Law have to offer, he could accomplish incredible things.
I know the main critique of Dean Acosta is his lack of academic experience but I can say that while at FIU he did an
incredible job working with the faculty and earning their trust. His reputation is great among the students and
faculty I know at FIU Law.
He is NOT hands on. He is extremely politically biased which is a huge issue for not only the school but for the
students. How are the Democrats of the school supposed to feel that their potential Dean encouraged the
intimidation of Democratic voters. We want a Dean who can keep his political views as far out as possible but his
comment about diversity shows that he is NOT worldly. While he was a law school Dean that can be an inhibitor
because he's stuck in his ways. Not flexible. I will protest if he is chosen.
I think he would cause major problems for this institution.
No.

Seems the most qualified


I think that there are much better candidates than Acosta for Dean of our law school. While I am sure he is a great
person and very accomplished, he is not a good fit for the University of Florida. Dean Jerry is such a wonderful
person and so charismatic. I would feel awful if we got a Dean candidate who would not feel comfortable having
all kinds of students, people, and importantly alumni in his home.
I believe Dean Acosta is the best candidate to become the next UF Law dean.
He would be my 3rd choice.
He seems to interact with students a great deal which is always a plus. Sometimes Deans are isolated but he is
very personable and seems to really help you out if you need it. I have friends that go to FIU Law and they
absolutely love him. I think this is a great opportunity for our law school and we should capture it.
We are the Flagship of the state of Florida, we need someone who is tapped into the state's market.
I believe he will make a positive impact on our program and will help build our relationships in south Florida which
will help increase our fundraising dollars and career placement numbers.
I am also troubled by Acosta's record on diversity. Although he is a Latino, his background and life experiences
show that he has little understanding of the matters facing other minority groups. His record on civil rights does
not make me optimistic that he can handle the issues that are likely to arise at UF, and I suspect that if he were
appointed you would see a large exodus of faculty.
signs of animosity among faculty seem to stem from Acosta's perceived political leanings rather than from his
record as dean; his professional demeanor and specific, direct answers to challenging questions made a favorable
impression
In my opinion he is not suitable.
He would have had my full support if not for the vote caging issue. Because of this, and the fact that we have
another candidate that I think will be successful, I think we should pass on him and go with Brennan
He would be divisive, but at least he would try to improve the College.
If the Provost wants to create an environment where the law school is a part of the University's Top 10 initiative,
then he should NOT hire Acosta under any circumstances.If the Provost wants to divide the law faculty and create
a very tense environment among the faculty, then he should hire Acosta. I am one of the most published and cited
members of the faculty. I would seriously consider looking for another job if Acosta becomes the Dean.
Said that he doesn't change things for the sake of change. I think this may be good in terms of evaluating the law
school once here, and continuing things that work well and adjusting things that may need improvement.
I believe that this candidate is realistic in his view on funding.
I had expected to rank him near the bottom of potential candidates but was extremely favorably impressed. Based
mainly on the strength of his performance in interviews and presentation, I would now rank him among my first
two choices.
I did not get a chance to see any of the other candidates. However, given my interactions with Dean Acosta during
my application cycle and during his visit, I would be very happy to have him be my dean here at UF Law. I was very
close to deciding FIU over UF just because of how much I liked him and what he had to offer. I believe he has what
it takes to take us to a higher level- he is a politician at heart and knows how to work a crowd and how to recruit.
He is charming when he needs to be and very persuasive. I think his ability to fundraise for his college is a positive.
If he could do well at FIU, imagine what he would when he has a chance to mingle with the UF Law alumniI and
fundraise for our college. I think he would be a great fit here and would do great things for the law school, its
students, its future students and the alumni.

My biggest worry is going through this educational process and not being able to find a job after I graduate. It's
already difficult trying to find a summer experience now. Based on his connections to the state and the South
Florida community (where I eventually want to end up), I would feel good knowing I had him reaching out to
prospective employers and alumni on my behalf. I don't think Dean Acosta would have applied for this deanship if
he wasn't ready to leave FIU Law. I think Dean Acosta is a go-getter and he would be great here at UF Law.
I don't think the potential up side with selecting Acosta is worth the risk. He does not really bring anything to the
table that Brennen and Donaldson do not also offer, except perhaps a greater ability to stand up to controversy
and potentially more of a willingness to push the faculty. Maybe you think I am wrong about the "down" side risk
of choosing Acosta, but why take the risk when we have other viable candidates? If you are willing to take a risk, I
would suggest Huebner who does bring a non-legal education perspective--an "up" side--that might justify taking a
chance.
Will be good in fundraising and perhaps in relationship with central administration
None
I didn't like how he kept throwing numbers at us in response to questions.
He came across more as a used car salesman rather than a viable dean candidate. Due to his involvement with
voter caging I really question his motives. As a minority student I would feel concerned about the future of UF Law
with Dean Acosta at the helm.
Not really, not impressed.
I don't think he is the right fit for our law school.
There is great concern that he is a divisive candidate, with many at UF's law school who are expressing strong
feelings against his ability to succeed here as dean. He may be able to overcome this, but it would be a challenge.
Most definite negative among all the candidates.
Dean Acosta is an extremely intelligent person who presented himself very well as a decanal candidate.
But the public record strongly suggests that his answers to questions and presentation statements lack the level of
complete candor that one ought to expect of the Dean of any law school, let alone that of the flagship law school
in Florida. On multiple occasions I found Dean Acosta to be less than forthcoming about important facts in his
performance as Assistant Attorney General, United States Attorney and in his current deanship. This not mere
puffing by a job candidate, rather it looked to me to be a clear pattern of lack of candor and completeness that
was entirely disingenuous. This behavior is deeply troubling and leads me to conclude that Dean Acosta is not a
satisfactory candidate for this position.
Scholarship record not sufficient for P&T process and probably not for entry-level position. That being said,
candidate is still acceptable because of strong academic administrative experience.

Since this is final candidate, I would rank the candidates as follows (1) Brennen, (2) Donaldson, (3) Acosta, (4)
Huebner. I see prior academic experience as most important followed by administrative experience.
I don't like being accused of being racist for saying something positive about Dean Acosta nor do I like being
accused of being a racist if I point out a negative aspect of Dean Brennen.
Dean Acosta seems very goal oriented and also seems to achieve the goals he sets. If FIU does break top 100, I
would be extremely impressed with his ability to better FIU's reputation. I wonder what improvements he could
make to UF's reputation.

and he made sure


to introduce himself to me. He is a very approachable person.
I think that he is the best choice out of all of the candidates. He understands what we need here at UF and I
believe that he can definitely help UF to succeed even further. He is very concerned with employment rates and I
believe that that is where the focus should be. I feel that his connections more so than the other candidates will
help UF Law students to achieve job offers in places they actually want to work.
No, however I would like to speak to the Provost directly: Take your law school more seriously. I came to this
school for a better opportunity. What I found was a dysfunctional faculty and a complete disregard for students,
best reflected in the budget--raising professor salaries by cutting out our healthcare! I personally now owe $2000
for a single Shand's visit. And no, mom and dad don't make money. In fact, one works minimum wage and the
other is on disability. Also, the $500 for books per semester does not afford us even half of our books. I find that I
am doing well in spite of the school I attend, but hope that this soon changes. Maybe Acosta is a step in that
direction. Maybe not. But, respectfully, I hope that you personally become more involved.
Seems very honest and open.
After having seen each of the candidates, Mr. Huebner is my favorite without reservation. I feel that he has the
connections and experience outside of Florida to bring this school to the next level. Further he was the only
candidate who really had novel ideas, who had taken the time to actually think of things we can do differently. The
others at best just had a grand plan to take what they are already doing and putting it here. I feel that Mr.
Huebner's lack of experience in academia is almost a plus in this regard in that he does not have preconceived
notions of what a law school should look like, and is open to really changing things for the better.
I think it is time to have someone who is of Dean Acosta's stature as the dean at UF Law. We also need to be able
to bring on someone who will be a hispanic dean and highly qualified. This is the type of candidate Mr. Acosta is.
I honestly think this is the only candidate we should be looking at.
It should be noted- I want a Dean that will work to make UF students more competitive in landing Big Law jobs. We
need an overhaul of the Career Resource Office and need to triple our OCI employer participation.
n/a
Q6 - 4. Please provide your assessment:

Is the candidate acceptable?

# Answer Count

1 Yes 38
2 No 40
Total 78

4. Please provide your assessment:


Count
Is the candidate acceptable?
4. Please provide your assessment:
78.00
Is the candidate acceptable?
Q7 - I
base my comments based on seeing the candidate at:

I
base my comments based on seeing the candidate at:
An interview in early morning
comments are based on research
staff 1/2 hour
The Dean's breakfast
informal session, law faculty
meeting with faculty, presentation to faculty
several interviews, lunch, reception
small group
discussion with faculty and lunch presentation
The student open forum
sessions; talk
Lunch Presentation and meeting
student forum
several group meetings and lunch presentations
Three presentations
Student Session
his formal presentation at the law school; his informal presentation to the law faculty; review of his cv and cover
letter
Student availability session, spending 1L year at FIU Law while he was Dean
Open Forum
Info session
noon presentation.
His Forum/Meeting with UF Law students.
FIU, his own school, and how he handled a situation during a trial team that FIU law offered scholarship and had at
their law school.
the student Q&A
His student answer session and speaking to him while he walked around campus
Student Q&A session on Friday
the Dean Candidate interview with the students.
Reception & lunch
Speaking Q/A, Research
Student Q and A session
faculty/alumni luncheon, one-on-one meeting
faculty discussion and his presentation
two small group sessions, lunch presentation, and reception
informal meetings and watching his luncheon talk and the Q&A that followed.
student forum
Feb 20 Staff Q&A
schedule meeting
Presentation & session
Morning meeting.
Two small group presentations, lunch presentation, talking to people at his home institution
Staff Discussion/Presentation
Live streaming site of his presentation on 2/24/14 at 6:15am.
interviews and presentation
His open forum to meet students
lunchtime talk
luncheon presentation (I was out of townon law school business when teh faculty interview sessins were
scheduled)
Faculty open session
Breakfast meeting
Open Forum
Q and A session
Open forums and sessions.
meeting and lunch
Faculty presentation and smaller group meeting
director's session
Multiple interviews with various audiences at the Levin College of Law
Lounge, Lunch
Small faculty meeting, reception meeting, luncheon presentationa and QA, judicial opinions, published reports of
his performance
Faculty lunch
Luncheon
The student forum on 2/20, and personal experiences with Mr. Acosta.
Open Forum
The student forum
Student forum
presentation to the faculty
Q&A Session
Lunch in NYC's Ed's Chowder House almost a year ago today
Q10 - Your Name
(optional):

Your Name
(optional):
Linda Cottler, filling in for Dean Perri
Allen F. Wysocki

2L
Danaya Wright
Prof. Michelle Jacobs
If this were not a public record, I would sign my name.
Victoria A. Redd
John kraft
Stuart Cohn
Pedro A. Malavet, Professor
Q12 - Please indicate whether you
are:

# Answer Count

1 Faculty 34
2 Staff 8
3 Administration 7
4 Student 30
5 Alumni 0
6 Other: 0
Total 79

Other:

Field Minimum Maximum Mean Std Deviation Variance Count


Please indicate whether you
1.00 4.00 2.42 1.37 1.86 79
are: - Selected Choice