Starr on Pepperdine Short List

Times Staff Writer

Former federal special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr is on the short list of candidates to become the dean of Pepperdine University School of Law.

It’s the second time Starr has shown interest in the top post at the Malibu law school.

Students and alumni hailed Starr’s selection as dean of the law school and its then-fledgling School of Public Policy in 1997, saying that the former federal judge would enhance the school’s reputation nationally.


But Starr never made it to campus. He turned down the job a year later, deciding instead to complete his investigation into President Clinton’s relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Now Starr is competing against five veteran law professors to replace Dean Richardson Lynn, whose five-year term will expire this year.

Pepperdine professors Richard L. Cupp, Charles I. Nelson and L. Timothy Perrin are candidates, as are Edward J. Larson, a law professor at the University of Georgia, and William Murray Tabb of the University of Oklahoma College of Law faculty.

Each finalist has been invited to meet with tenured faculty members, who will recommend the three top applicants to the university president.

A successor is expected to be selected in April.

Starr, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday, had previously expressed regret about losing out on his dream job to other obligations.

When asked about that decision a couple years later during a meeting with senior Los Angeles Times editors, Starr responded, “You really know how to make a guy cry.”

University Provost Darryl Tippens said the public’s negative perception of the man once mentioned for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court seems to have dissipated in recent years. In fact, he said, he is surprised at how muted the on-campus discussion has been about Starr’s reemergence as a top candidate for dean.

The reactions, Tippens said, are mixed. “I would dare say every opinion you find out on the street, you will find here on campus,” he said.

Meanwhile, Starr began this month teaching an advanced constitutional law course every other Friday at Chapman Law School in Orange.