Increasing Diversity and Supporting Our Students
Historically, Fordham Law has opened its doors to people not welcome at other law schools due to their religion, gender, race, or class. Today, we are building on this legacy by working to create a learning environment that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive to students of all backgrounds, religions, and orientations, and to ensure that students from underrepresented groups have the support and services to thrive.
Action Items and Status
Bolster Diversity Leadership
Created and filled a new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion position to oversee diversity initiatives, strategy, and planning. Kamille Dean has been appointed to that role, working with Kimathi Gordon-Somers, dean of student affairs. In the spring Jennifer Haastrup, a licensed social worker and certified crisis counselor, was appointed the diversity, equity, and inclusion program manager. Read more.
Support Peer Mentorship
Foster greater peer mentorship among our students of color by supporting the peer mentorship programs within affinity groups, in collaboration with the Office of Professionalism.
Expand the Pipeline
Expand the Law School’s commitment to building the pipeline of diverse students coming to Fordham Law. Pursue this by enhancing and growing the Increasing Diversity in Education and the Law (IDEAL) program. IDEAL is focused on nurturing interest in legal careers among college students and provides expedited consideration in the Law School’s admissions process. Concurrently, continue to nurture other partnerships that foster an interest in the legal profession for college, high school, and middle school students, such as Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), the Justice Resource Center, The Scales of Justice Academy, Mentor Moot Court, and Legal Outreach. Additionally, the Feerick Center for Social Justice is launching a new Civics Education and Pipeline to Law School Pilot Project, which will focus on programming in underserved communities. Law students will deliver lessons on constitutional rights to eighth-grade students in a Bronx middle school. In conjunction with these lessons, the law students will share their pathways to law school.
Launch New Scholarships
Launch the new Deborah A. Batts Scholarship program, honoring the first tenured African American member of the Fordham Law faculty and the first openly LGBT member of the federal judiciary. The scholarship, which was seeded by funds donated by Fordham Law faculty members, will provide support for students dedicated to using their legal education to promote social justice, civil rights, and equality. In addition, the Law School will draw on money previously donated to the Law School scholarship fund and part of its operating budget to establish the Lawrence W. Pierce scholarship program. The program will provide opportunities to students from historically underrepresented groups in the legal profession. It is named in honor of Lawrence W. Pierce ’51, who had a distinguished career in public service and was the third Black judge to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Fittingly, we launched these scholarship programs together as Judge Pierce was a mentor to Judge Batts.
Reexamine Recruitment and Admissions
Review and reform processes for recruiting and admitting students from underrepresented groups. For example, collaborating with BLSA, we are launching a new program through which current Fordham Law students will reach out to students from their undergraduate alma maters who may be prospective future law students. Additionally, we are strengthening our ties to minority-serving institutions.
Broaden the Diversity of Our Faculty
Recruit new faculty members who broaden the diversity of the faculty. Deepen our recruitment efforts to expand the candidate pool.
Offer Mentorship and Guidance
Create a new pre-orientation program for incoming students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to help prepare them to become leaders in both the Law School community and in the legal profession.