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A Tulane University job ad for a “volunteer” adjunct professor of law raised eyebrows Wednesday before it was promptly removed from Tulane’s website. While many expressed concern on social media and off that Tulane was exploiting jobless academics, tempting them with teaching experience it should be able to pay for, the outrage was perhaps premature (though not necessarily undue, since academics elsewhere have been asked to volunteer their teaching labor and scholarly expertise in the name of experience or community engagement).

As Michael Strecker, Tulane spokesperson, explained via email, “For these positions, law schools seek well-established or retired attorneys, judges and industry leaders who assume a mentoring role by teaching small groups of students in specialized areas of law in which the volunteers have demonstrated, long-term expertise and leadership.” In many cases, Strecker added, “these volunteers are alumni who view their services as a way of giving back to the school and current students.”