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Making Fordham Law Welcoming and Inclusive

Clinic students

Too many students of color do not feel embraced and supported by Fordham Law. We are renewing and deepening our commitment to ensuring that students of color are welcomed into our community and are fully supported. In addition to delivering on the promises outlined below, we will continue to explore and implement additional means of moving Fordham Law beyond the structural racism that has impacted the experiences of students of color as well as of staff and faculty.



Action Items and Status


Implemented

Create Anti-Racism Book Groups

Launched book groups for faculty and staff that meet regularly to explore themes around discrimination, structural racism, and implicit bias.

Library Fellow

Hosted a George A. Strait Minority Fellow, Christine Park. The fellowship provides students from underrepresented groups with a unique opportunity to obtain meaningful and practical law library experience. 

Launch a Dean’s Student Advisory Council on Diversity

Established a Dean’s Student Advisory Council on Diversity composed of a cross-section of students to assist the administration in identifying concerns and implementing change. Student members meet regularly with the Dean to discuss diversity-related issues, and form community among diverse student leaders. The 2021 school year is the second year that we have convened the Dean’s Diversity Council.

Create Dialogue Days

Launched a series of Fordham Dialogue Days—programs that challenge all members of Fordham Law to engage in open discussion together and in small groups on social justice issues.

Expand Diversity Training for Faculty and Staff

Expanded training on diversity, equity, and inclusion for all full-time faculty, beginning in December 2020. Training is ongoing. In addition, expanded mandatory training of adjunct faculty includes issues of anti-racism, unconscious-bias awareness, and cultural competence in order to create a culture of inclusion in the classroom. To date, over 140 adjunct faculty have undergone training sessions, and these will continue. Furthermore, mandatory training for staff was implemented in November 2020 to provide diversity, equity, and inclusion education to ensure greater sensitivity to the needs and perspectives of students of color, as well as opportunities for staff to participate in discussions surrounding anti-racism and issues relating to social justice. Staff training is ongoing.

Institute Blind Grading

In order to eliminate the potential for implicit bias, first-year legal writing is now blind graded after the initial assignment. This conforms with the approach the Law School takes with other first-year courses. 

Review and Analyze Racial Climate at the Law School

Working with Dr. Roger Worthington, of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Maryland, we invited all students, faculty, staff, and alumni to participate in a climate study to assess the culture and racial climate at Fordham Law School. A special committee on Race and the Law School Climate led this process. The study results are being shared through virtual events and via LawNET. The research provides a lens into the experiences of our community and will inform the next phase of our action plan/help us prioritize our efforts.


In Progress

Strengthen Anti-Racism Programming

Building on programming on diversity, equity, and inclusion launched in January 2019 for all first-year students and focused on anti-racism, the Law School centered the spring 2021 1L orientation on anti-racism and DEI issues within law school and the legal profession. Additionally, the Law School has added a racial equity inclusion program to the fall 1L semester House experiences. The Law School also hosted DEI workshops for student organizations, including journals and competition teams. Read more.

Weave Issues of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Identity into the Curriculum Design

The Law School retained an expert to collaborate with the faculty in incorporating DEI material within the courses offered. The DEI expert partnered with the Law School to provide resources, encouragement, and support to ensure that DEI issues, especially those pertaining to race and gender, can be explored in courses within the core curriculum. More recently, faculty have held discussions around teaching on issues of race and inequality, and ways of creating an equitable and inclusive learning environment for all of our students.

 

Planned

Create a Strategic Plan for Diversity

Develop a comprehensive strategic plan on race and other aspects of diversity based on the results of the climate study. Implement recommended areas for improvement to enhance the experience of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

 


Increasing Diversity

Addressing Systemic Racism