Thomas Miles, Dean of the Law School, sent an e-mail on diversity initiatives today to the Law School listserv. A controversial whip sheet on immigration, written by student debate group the Edmund Burke Society, sparked recent dialogue about a perceived lack of diversity at the Law School.
The events of the last two weeks have been extraordinarily difficult for the entire Law School community. The faculty and I recognize that we must work harder to be a more open, more inclusive, and more welcoming environment for all of our students. We are dedicated to improving the student experience and making our community a model for diversity, respectful discourse, and civility.
As in our society more generally, we must take meaningful steps to improve our climate and culture. A single report or meeting will not be sufficient to create the open and welcoming environment that we want the Law School to be.
I announce today several steps directly focused on improving the student experience at the Law School. First, the release of the Diversity Committee's report on March 26th will be followed by opportunities to meet with me, the Dean of Students, and members of the Committee in small group sessions to discuss the report and its recommendations. The Dean of Students in the near future will provide a means to sign up for these sessions. It is important that we as a community have the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss the findings of the report.
Second, we must put in place a process for implementing the recommendations of the Diversity Committee's report, so that implementation is both prompt and careful. I have identified six areas in which we must focus our attention going forward: (1) faculty diversity; (2) admissions and student recruitment; (3) reassessing the Law School's art work; (4) the appointment of a director for diversity and inclusion; (5) working to promote meaningful opportunities for students to engage in dialogues with one another across ideological and other boundaries; and (6) working to promote the values of civil discourse and the norms of professionalism as a central part of the student experience.
Beginning soon, I will put in place committees and programs to address each of these priorities.
Again, I want to affirm that the faculty and I are fully committed to the promise of making the Law School a more open and welcoming environment for all of our students. We look forward to working with you to achieve these goals. While we recognize that meaningful change takes time, we also know that our new work must begin now.