Actions for Freddie Gray in Baltimore

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Hello Coalition Members & Supporters,

As you know, the murder of Freddie Gray has led to numerous direct actions in Baltimore. Needs are many, so please find updates here:

#BaltimoreUprising – http://baltimoreuprising.org – Updated daily with action opportunities and itineraries, locations, required reading, and needs. Including legal observation, street cleanup, and packing lunches for the children who are not in school due to school closings.

Ferguson Legal Defense – http://www.fergusonlegaldefense.com/baltimore – You can sign up for information about legal observation trainings and their dates/times are updated here.

DC Ferguson – DC Ferguson sent out a call for law students and POCs for legal observation training, as well as street medics. Email ameejill@hotmail.com to share your information and volunteer.

National Lawyers Guild – “There is a desperate need for more LOs and lawyers in Baltimore tonight. The call has come out from the grassroots groups working in the city to organize the protests. There are not enough LOs for all that is needed. This is the moment when we need folks who can be there to come out. Please reach out to Deepa Iyer (301-642-6292) for information about where they are gathering and have set up HQ for the night. If you cannot do tonight they need for tomorrow as well. CCR and others are there to train folks who have not been trained.”

National Bar Association – “Anyone admitted to practice law in MD or interested in being admitted on a pro hac vice basis to assist those arrested in Baltimore for protesting contact the chair of teh National Bar Association’s Rapid Legal Response Team, Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon at jwgaattys@aol.com or call 410-332-4121. All others should contact attorney Armis Donnell, chair of the NBA’s Pro Bono Committee at Armis.donnell@gmail.com.”

If you are on Twitter, follow these folks for updates: @fifefifths @HeberBrown @SmartBlackMan @LBSBaltimore @DayvonLove @BmoreBloc @BmoreDoc @Bmore_United

Google Doc with Locations Where Help is Needed – https://docs.google.com/a/georgetown.edu/spreadsheets/d/1sgvVWQkAO_OD20_veYNwWpkCbZKp9SMFEWhidcMqubg/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true

(from a survey posted on Twitter using #baltimoreuprising – https://docs.google.com/a/georgetown.edu/forms/d/1t2ZVonrU2SW2kqxAOcbDDRfiRgVGJQ8_J9UcFS9TdIU/viewform?c=0&w=1)

Support from University of Washington Law

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“Hi Georgetown Law Coalition Members,

I wanted to let you know that the University of Washington Law Students walked out today along with hundreds of other graduate and undergraduate students. We interrupted the daily routine to draw attention to a national problem of racialized state violence, and a crisis at the University of Washington of institutional oppression and white supremacy. We gathered and presented demands to various administrations to address racial inequity on our campus. 

I am writing to you to let you know that your demand letter and website inspired us in the drafting and formulating of our demands. We stand in solidarity with you, and all of the other students who are determined to speak up until their voices are heard, until they matter. 

Below is a tumblr page with stories from students about their experiences at UW Law, and a wordpress with our demand list.

http://uwlawracialjustice.tumblr.com/

https://uwlawracialjustice.wordpress.com/

Photos in the law school today:

https://d2lzghgvw1jtbn.cloudfront.net/event_updates/5/928460817611409025_174296584.jpg

https://d2lzghgvw1jtbn.cloudfront.net/event_updates/5/928448920777954947_199841060.jpg

https://d2lzghgvw1jtbn.cloudfront.net/event_updates/videos/5/928459094096397896_174296584.jpg

https://d2lzghgvw1jtbn.cloudfront.net/event_updates/2/570693154585706496.jpg

https://d2lzghgvw1jtbn.cloudfront.net/event_updates/5/928437049959168648_183102093.jpg

https://d2lzghgvw1jtbn.cloudfront.net/event_updates/2/570690688939114497.jpg

Best regards, 

A coalition of UW Law Students”

Documenting Micro-Aggressions at GULC

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This following information was prepared by members of The Coalition in response to requests by Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) faculty members to provide examples of micro-aggressions in the GULC classroom. It contains a series of personal experiences by GULC diverse students at the as well as specific recommedations for faculty members.

In February, The Coalition distributed a survey asking students to “briefly describe an experience in which [they] have felt (either explicitly or implicitly) alienated, unwelcome, silenced, or ignored in a GULC classroom based on your identity as a diverse student.”

Among the many powerful and insightful responses we received, we have selected a few examples that highlight certain micro-aggressions towards diverse students at GULC. We acknowledge that these stories are by no means representative of every diverse students’ experiences, and we encourage faculty members to engage directly with their students in their classrooms on these issues.

Additionally, The Coalition believes that the micro-aggressions described in the following stories are but symptoms of larger, systemic issues. Combating surface-level hostility in the classroom should be considered only the first step in reframing the way we learn about the law as it affects and is affected by issues of diversity.

Examples of Micro-Aggressions in the GULC Classroom:

I have almost always experienced alienation and lowered expectations for my performance as a Black woman in the classroom. More often than not I am confused with the one or two other Black female students in the class, being called by their names instead of my own. I often feel as though my contributions are not valued and therefore I do not tend to contribute much once an initial comment has been overlooked.

I also feel responsible for defending my racial identity, or speaking up for the voices that aren’t in the room. I also feel as though my comments, no matter how calm, rational, or reasoned, are interpreted as ‘angry’ or ‘extreme,’ and I am constantly conscious of making myself amicable towards White students and White professors. –Anonymous, 2L

In a discussion about the Asian race and American law, the professor posed the question, “What do you think it would look like if the Chinese Exclusionary Act never existed?” She shared her thoughts, saying maybe we would have more Pan Asian food trucks, for example. The lack of professional demeanor and insightful, intellectual conversation on this topic was deeply offensive. It made me feel like Asian American culture (my culture) was nothing more to her, and to the class, than “exotic” food.
Anonymous, 3L

We had a discussion about shield laws and some of the men in the classroom were saying they don’t know how to tell if a woman has had too much to drink and it “wasn’t fair” to put the burden on the man. One male student suggested “we should go to Wednesday Wine Down and test it out.”

[Also], in discussing the police search and seizure limits a student suggested that some “groups of people” who “fit a particular description” don’t deserve the same level of protection because that type of person “doesn’t respect the law” whatever that means. –Anonymous, 2L

When a faculty member went on a negative tirade about black women’s identity and expression, singling me out as an example. There was an audible gasp in the class. I suppose this faculty member thinks that they have it all figured out, that they really understand the issues, and that they are coming from a good place, the “right” place. Race relations is not their area of expertise, or even a topic they have engaged with professionally- I checked. –Anonymous, 1E

In an [international law] class, we were discussing different forms of marriage around the world. [The professor] often laid out the differences between Western and Islamic law. When someone in the class offered gay marriage as an answer, [the professor] departed from merely offering the view of Islamic law, offering his strong personal disdain for gay marriage, as well.

When we recapped the different forms of marriage at a later point in the class, someone again offered gay marriage, to which [the professor] let out a gutteral noise of disaproval. I think many people in the room were very uncomfortable. As a gay person, I felt very disrespected. I hope that the University can take steps to ensure that such strong personal and hateful views are not tolerated in the classroom. –Anonymous, 3L

In a class, a professor became frustrated when he mixed up my name with a name of a classmate who sat directly behind me; we are both of East Asian descent. He seemed almost upset at the fact that we have similar surnames (even though we are different Asian ethnicities) and sat next to one another. He went on to disclaim any fault; I forget the exact words but he said something to the effect of “how can it be my fault in mixing up your names when you two Asian students chose to sit near one another.” The class laughed alongside his little jibe. –Anonymous, 2L

During criminal procedure, discussing stop and frisk laws when a student voiced to the class that “since most black peoples are criminals it makes since that they’d be frisked more.” Was referencing a statistic read by the teacher that blacks are the perpetrators of more criminal acts. It’s hard to have these types of conversations with an underrepresentation of minorities in the classroom because the few minorities in the class are obligated to act as a spokesperson for their entire demographic anytime these issues come up. –Anonymous, 2L

My professor said he would welcome questions by email. He wouldn’t answer any of mine. Finally I asked around and everyone else American seemed to be getting responses. I am an Indian girl. One time I had to send in my questions through an American friend so I could get clarifications. I believe this discrimination significantly affected my performance. I truly loved the subject but I did not get much needed help to excel in the subject which everyone else got freely and often. –Anonymous, 2E

[Criminal Justice my 1L year] was the best class of my GULC career, but the worst classroom experience I can remember. Most of our cases were people of color having negative interactions with the police. If the case didn’t explicitly say the race of the defendant, there were names like ‘Jerome’ or ‘Jamal’ that implied the defendant was a minority. But that wasn’t the issue. The issue was the way my classmates responded to the readings.

One student said ‘Minorities just need to find better ways to avoid the police.’ As if we as people of color are at fault for police harassment! There were so many comments like that throughout the semester that I felt alienated from my classmates. I stopped speaking up in all of my classes because I felt outnumbered by the people who actually believed minorities are at fault for their police interactions. If this is how they felt about criminal law, I can’t imagine how they felt about other areas of law. In the end, I stopped speaking up in class and stopped talking to my peers.” –Anonymous, 3L

As the Jewish high holidays approached, students came to a professor before or after class to inform him that they would miss the Thursday class. He informed them that they would not have as valuable a learning experience if they chose to miss. One student, in response, replied, “I know, but religion.” On Yom Kippur, the professor commented during a hypothetical that we would all know what to do in this professional situation because we attended class on Yom Kippur.
Anonymous, 2L

The following incident occurred during office hours with a clinical fellow last year. While discussing my work, she interrupted me and asked, “Can I talk with you, woman to woman?” She then proceeded to tell me that my breasts were very distracting and I should do a better job covering them up. … The clinical fellow’s comments made me very uncomfortable, and I was afraid to challenge her or report the incident to our professor because I was worried it would affect my grade. –Anonymous, 3L

My professor keeps confusing me with the only other Black student in my class. Every time she confuses me and the other student she makes a big deal about how she is an “equal opportunity racist” because she confuses the Asian students as well. It makes it increasing awkward as the semester goes on and she keeps mixing up me with the other Black student and calling so much attention.
Anonymous, 2L

I’m an Asian American woman, and multiple professors have called me by the names of other Asian American men in the classroom. Moreover, professors rarely apologize or acknowledge that their behavior is rude and has racist undertones. Every time it happens, I feel disrespected and incentivized to just keep my hand down to avoid the problem altogether. –Anonymous, 3L
I thought the continued use of antiquated terms for race in particular to be troubling. In multiple classes, when reading about racially restrictive covenants or segregation or slavery the terminology written in the cases was used in the classroom discussions. I understand that terms like “negroid, negro, Mongoloid race” were common when the opinions were written but that doesn’t mean we have to perpetuate their use and regress to the time when those terms were appropriate. This occurred in several classes and the professors corrected the term, but there wasn’t really an explanation as to why the terms were inappropriate (which is possibly why this was a continuous problem).
–Anonymous, 2L

[T]here were instances where I felt singled out or expected to speak when conversations refocused to race and gender. Although I think it is incredibly important that people allow alternative voices and perspectives, the approach felt less celebrated and more “exoticized.” Namely, that I would obviously have more to say about civil rights than about law and economics. –Anonymous, 2L

I have always had a “critical race” way of thinking. This lens were natural to me. In the same way, maybe the introduction of other theories will give student’s who have not really dealt with issues of discrimination a lens by which they can at least attempt to understand differences in perspective. Wonder why we only do this in Con Law 2 classes when it’s applicable in every class or why only cover Critical Race Theory in Section 3. –Anonymous, 2L

[I]t’s Black History month. But as a law student at GULC, I wouldn’t have known that unless I looked at my own calendar and realized it was February. –Anonymous, 1L

In one of my seminar classes, there’s a white male student who is very confident in his abilities and speaks up often, sometimes interrupting others. While this student sometimes has good things to say, he is often long-winded without reason, doesn’t get to the point succinctly, and makes a point of showing off his knowledge. The professor has continually expressed appreciation for his comments. One day, when we were going around making comments, this student admitted that he did not do the work that was assigned for the class. Instead of reprimanding him, the professor asked the class to help him out. I’ve also noticed that the women of color in this class, in particular, are more often criticized and interrupted when they make comments.  – Anonymous, 3L

We were hanging out in Hotung lobby with some people before the meeting when I heard one student (Caucasian woman) say to another (Caucasian man) that he has to do a comedy routine in a club in DC because he lost a bet. She said loudly, “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if he did this in a Black club?” I thought I had misheard, but she repeated it, this time using the words “African American.” The other students around us chuckled uncomfortably, but no one called her out. To me, she was implying that African Americans would be automatically hostile to this Caucasian student’s performance by virtue of his presence and it would be way more of a funny spectacle if the performance happened in a predominantly Black club in a Black neighborhood. In saying so, she was engaged in the process of “othering” African Americans. I do not believe that she would have made this comment if there were any African American students around us.  – Anonymous, 3L

There aren’t just isolated instances that come to mind, but trends that are exemplify the reality that female students are often silenced and alienated. Female students are generally called upon less and speak up less often than their male counterparts, especially in large lectures. Similarly, not having enough female professors is an obvious issue, especially for 1L courses and other big lectures. – Anonymous, 2L

People who did not identify as diverse students also replied to this survey, which reveal some of the most problematic viewpoints and opinions at GULC. Other students identified what they describe as “reverse discrimination” or the “radicalization” of GULC’s campus as the true problems:

As a “privileged” female student I encounter micro agressions all the time from my “more diverse” colleagues. When I walked into my civil procedure class after the ferguson protests, I found advertisements and propaganda about the protests and I felt very uncomfortable because they were very biased, unprofessional, and honestly inappropriate for a classroom setting. – Anonymous, 1L

As an ethnically and religiously diverse student I feel that GULC is doing a great job promoting diversity and tolerance. As I see it, this is not the big problem on campus.

Radicalization of student body is leading to environment of alienation and intimidation for conservative and moderate students, especially with regard to issues of race and culture. Students are learning that their career prospects (not to mention semester grades) could be damaged by openly saying “actually, I don’t think that the police are the problem, I think that the criminals are.”

Also, perhaps the administration is focusing too narrowly on what it considers diverse? Description of diversity includes six examples, none for religion, while three are gender, sex, and sexual orientation? Why? – Anonymous, 2L

[NOTE: the description of diverse students included religion.]

Based on the above examples of micro-aggressions in the classroom as well as the many experiences that are not and may never be written down, The Coalition offered the following suggestions to faculty members during their Retreat as a starting point for discussion and action:

  1. We ask that faculty make an express attempt to promote an open classroom environment at the start of each semester. For example, a professor could say, “I acknowledge that this classroom does not exist in a vacuum. I encourage all of you to react and respond thoughtfully to issues that may affect persons of all different backgrounds and identities in different ways. If you feel like you experience micro-aggressions in the classroom, please come speak to me during office hours so that we can attempt to correct these problems.”
  2. We ask that faculty promote systemic diversity as a value in the classroom. This includes integrating thoughtful readings on issues of diversity with legal salience as a part of the curriculum. Further, we encourage faculty to delve into sensitive, challenging issues that diverse persons face and experience in the classroom and in the law. We believe that will help foster an environment where students feel incentivized and encouraged to discuss and respond.
  3. We ask that faculty address micro-aggressions in the classroom as they arise and throughout the semester. Evading or avoiding problematic statements in the classroom, made by students or the professor, causes real harm. One way to address these issues is to challenge students in the classroom to identify the intentions and sources of problematic comments.
  4. Finally, we ask that faculty have a standing agenda item at every faculty meeting on these issues. The Coalition believes that this is only the beginning of many conversations to combat micro-aggressions in the classroom. We appreciate the faculty’s active interest in these topics, and we encourage the faculty to make these discussions a permanent part of the faculty’s ongoing goals.

RESULT: The above information was not disseminated to faculty members at the Faculty Retreat that took place in February 2015. The information was sent to faculty, at their request, for this explicit purpose. The Coalition continues to be in contact with administration to bring about meaningful change, providing information and student perspectives, and offering talent, manpower, and expertise to facilitate the creation of a more diverse campus.

An Update from the Coalition

Support and Developments
Hello Coalition Supporters,

Thank you for your continued allyship and support. Members of the Coalition met with Deans William Treanor, Jane Aiken, and Mitchell Bailin on Thursday, December 18, 2014 to discuss (at length) our Open Letter and to present our concrete solutions. Select faculty members and a number of representatives from GULC student affinity organizations were also in attendance.

The meeting was productive, candid, and the start of ongoing efforts between the Coalition and GULC Administration to better campus climate for students of all diverse backgrounds. The Coalition’s institutional critiques and concrete solutions were very well received and lauded as creative, focused, and innovative. The Coalition will convene again in January to discuss next steps, and to schedule another meeting with administrators to follow-up on the gains made on December 18.

To quote Georgetown University President John DeGioia, “We need to engage in the work of rebuilding our commonweal; we need to reexamine our commitments to one another; we need to identify concrete projects through which, together, we can build for the common good.”

The Coalition looks forward to engaging in just this type of work in 2015.

In Solidarity,
The Coalition at Georgetown Law

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Ferguson Virtual Town Hall

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National Civil and Human Rights Groups Host Virtual Town Hall Discussion on “Ferguson and Beyond: The Crisis of Race and Policing In 2014”
#Unified4Justice

December 18th 2014, 7-8:30 PM EST. (605) 562-0020 and pin 305-823-740

Join us tomorrow, December 18th, as national civil and human rights partner organizations on behalf of the Civil Rights Ferguson and Police Reform Coalition host a virtual town hall discussion on combatting police misconduct and brutality, and the newly released racial profiling guidance by the Department of Justice and possible solutions. The simultaneous Twitter and Audio Town Hall will feature national human and civil rights leaders; community activists; victims and/or affected families; and local, state, and/or federal officials. Virtual Town hall participants will learn about the national epidemic of police brutality and misconduct and associated laws and legal procedures, including grand juries processes and other accountability measures. Participants will also engage with presenters regarding necessary nationwide reforms and solutions, including action steps, such as economic empowerment, which can be implemented in their communities.

WHEN: Thursday, December 18th, 7-8:30 p.m. EST

WHAT: Virtual Town hall discussion on combatting police misconduct and brutality, the newly released racial profiling guidance by the Department of Justice and possible solutions.

WHO: National civil and human rights partner organizations listed below on behalf of the Civil Rights Ferguson and Police Reform Coalition

  • ACLU
  • Amnesty International
  • African American Policy Forum
  • Hip Hop Caucus
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Muslim Advocates
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • National Bar Association, Inc.
  • Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

AGENDA:

7:00-7:30 PM EST-Panel One “The Crisis of Race and Policing In 2014”
Moderator: Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus
Speakers:

  • Farhana Khera, Muslim Advocates
  • Charlene Carruthers, Black Youth Project 100
  • Jennifer Bellamy, ACLU

7:30-7:45 PM EST-Q&A
7:45-8:15 PM EST-Panel Two “Recommendations & Solution
s”
Moderator: Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Speakers:

  • Pamela Meanes, NBA
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Daryl Parks, Parks & Crump Law Firm
  • T-Dubb-O, St. Louis and Ferguson activist and rapper

8:15-8:25 PM EST– Q&A
8:25-8:30 PM EST – Closing Remarks by Co-Moderators

INSTRUCTIONS:
To participate by phone please call (605) 562-0020 and enter the Meeting ID pin 305-823-740.
To follow the conversation on Twitter please use the hashtag #unified4justice

If you have any questions or need more information please contact Rahwa Andemichael at randemichael@lawyerscommittee.org or via phone at 202-662-8347.

GULC National Lawyers Guild Pens Letter of Support for GULC Coalition

Support and Developments

Dear Coalition Allies and Supporters,

The Georgetown University Law Center’s National Lawyers Guild has penned a public letter of support for the Georgetown Coalition. The statement is provided in full here:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu

The National Lawyers Guild, Georgetown Law Chapter, offers our formal endorsement of “The Open Letter to GULC from Students of Color.” We strongly encourage the administration to meet and respond to the demands made by the Coalition and other student groups.

As members of an organization founded on the premise that human rights are to be held more sacred than property interests, we are appalled that GULC remains a micro- and macro-hostile place for students of color. We echo the Coalition’s call to confront and dismantle the inherently racist aspects of our legal institution that we so rarely even acknowledge.

Georgetown’s current curriculum narrowly prepares students for a career in the law, prioritizing “training for hierarchy” over dismantling systems of oppression. It is imperative that our education better equip us for the struggles facing both our legal system and our communities.

– The Georgetown Law Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild


The GULC National Lawyers Guild mission statement reads:

“We are a student group working to support Georgetown Law students who are trying to stay engaged with the outside world in ways that are different than the typical, firm-bound law student. The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. Seeking to unite lawyers, law students, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and the academic community, the NLG works toward the idea that human rights should be more sacred than property. We aim to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, farmers, people with disabilities, and people of color, upon whom the welfare of the entire nation depends; who seek to actively eliminate racism; who work to protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks.”

Peer Institution Coalitions and Best Practice Responses

Related Actions

Dear Coalition Allies and Supporters,

To further contextualize the Georgetown Coalition’s Open Letter, we would like to provide links to Open Letters from students of color at peer legal institutions. Each of these Coalitions have published demands of a similar nature, as our current struggles as law students of color have become universal in nature. The Coalitions issued demands specific to their individual institutions’ diversity environment, and each Coalition has advocated for either specific application of an existing exam deferral policy, or for the extension of a modified exam deferral policy.

The Columbia Law School Coalition of Concerned Students of Color first expressed its disappointment at Columbia Law School’s silence. Columbia Law has granted affected students limited opt-in exam postponements, but the Columbia Coalition continues to work towards the full granting of their specified demands. An excerpt from their Open Letter reads:

“As people of color, we have always had to maintain an awareness of the ways in which our bodies are policed by the state, are under constant threat of violence, and the ways in which we make sacrifices within the institutions of which we are a part in hopes of making the passage through this world, of our bodies and bodies like ours, easier. Recent events have severely impacted us and the need to respond has never felt more urgent.

We have been traumatized over and again by the devaluation of Black and Brown lives. We are falling apart.

In the midst of our trauma, we are, of course, still formally members of the Columbia Law School community. As student leaders of color at Columbia, we have been asked to bear the burden of educating the broader community about issues that have wreaked havoc on our psyches and lives, with some support and some dehumanizing moments of dismissal by our peers and faculty. Nonetheless, we have borne the burden and done so with unfailing grace.

We will not continue to be asked to make sacrifices in the name of informing the broader school community of our struggles without, in turn, demanding that the community care for us too.”

https://columbialawcoalition.wordpress.com

Media Coverage: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tamerragriffin/columbia-law-school-students-seek-relief-over-trauma-of-gran

The Coalition at Harvard Law School expressed its concerns, and has been engaging in continuous dialogue with HLS Administration. The Harvard Coalition has also critiqued HLS Administration’s initial responses. An excerpt from their Open Letter reads:

“We have been visibly distressed and actively engaged throughout this public national crisis. The administration has remained silent.

We led ralliesheld vigils, and published an op­ed. You were silent on this issue. We petitioned the government, served as legal observers, created spaces of solidarity, drafted model legislation, and marched through the streets of Bostonand Cambridge. You remained silent on this issue. We spent countless hours leveraging our legal educations, and utilizing our platform and privilege as students of this institution. And all we have heard from the administration is deafening silence.”

http://harvardlawcoalition.wordpress.com

Media Coverage: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/home/id=1202678451011/Harvard-Law-Students-Join-Drive-to-Delay-Final-Exams?mcode=1202617074964&curindex=0


In contrast, we would like to also highlight the best practices of peer legal and undergraduate institutions in expressing care, substantive support, and unprompted action in the wake of the events occurring in Ferguson, MO; Cleveland, OH; and Staten Island, NY. These schools demonstrate the efficacy of centralizing the needs of students of color and the valuation of meaningful diversity.

Stanford University:

Stanford Statement

Yale Law School:

Yale Law Response-2

Stanford Law School; New York University School of Law:

SLS and NYU Statements

University of California at Berkeley School of Law:

Berkeley Law Response-2

New York University School of Law (second correspondence):

NYU Response 12-9-14_Page_1 NYU Response 12-9-14_Page_2

We hope the above institutional examples will serve as a framework for GULC’s improved response to the Coalition’s demands and efforts to improve the atmosphere at Georgetown Law for all diverse students.

Columbia Law BLSA Expresses Support for GULC Coalition

Cross-Institutional Support
Hello,
 
Columbia Law School has been the focus of much attention these past few days regarding the Columbia Law School Coalition of Concerned Students of Color’s  Emergency Action Letter to our faculty and administration. The Coalition had several asks in that letter, but overall, we (BLSA & the Coaltion) were concerned with the physical and psychological health and well-being of our students. 
 
Here, our students are hurting. They are traumatized. They fear for their lives, or the lives of their friends, family, and colleagues. While this fear and trauma is nothing new for black students, it has become much more immediate and impossible to ignore in the wake of the Grand Jury decisions in Ferguson and New York. 
 
We were appalled by our institution’s complete lack of awareness and response to the trauma that was directly affecting us, and we did everything in our power to make sure that not only was it recognized, but validated and vindicated by proactive solutions and policies that would help us to heal, and affirmatively work towards making our law school a better place for students of color.
 
While BLSA was not involved as an organization to author the letter, our Chapter fully supported and applauded the efforts by the Coalition. The Coalition and BLSA was thoughtful about this choice. As institutional actors, Black Law Students Associations in law schools across the country have less freedom than a Coalition of purely student actors would provide. Leaders and Members of student groups were involved as they felt a personal responsibility to advocate on behalf of themselves and other students, and a love for our institution and desire to make it a better place.
 
We are so excited that a cohort of Georgetown Law students are doing the same, and really advocating on behalf themselves, and students whose feelings, experiences, and needs are rarely prioritized amongst the administration. I urge everyone to support this effort and join in with the Georgetown Coalition to help make your campus a better place. We’ve already begun to have our experiences recognized and understood, and it’s been so personally fulfilling. I wish you all the best of luck!
 
Best,
Columbia Law School Black Law Students Association President on Behalf of the BLSA Board

Administrative Responses to the Open Letter from Students of Color

Support and Developments

Dear Coalition Supporters and Allies,

We send a heartfelt thank you for the increasing show of encouragement, love, and solidarity from current students and esteemed alumni. We have received letters of support from a broad spectrum of the Georgetown Law community, including requests for alumni involvement opportunities, press inquiries from peer institutions about the Coalition’s organizing efforts, and offers of financial support for future efforts from campus allies.

Furthermore, GULC Administration responded promptly to our open letter and list of demands. We received correspondences from Deans William M. Treanor and Mitchell Bailin, expressing concern and willingness to meet with members of the Coalition. We include excerpts from their correspondences below.

Excerpt from Dean of GULC, William M. Treanor:

“Dear Members of the Coalition,

Thank you for your open letter. You have expressed important and troubling concerns about the experience of students of color at Georgetown Law and in the broader community, and you have shared thoughtful proposals about action steps the Law Center could take to address those concerns. I and my colleagues in the faculty and senior administration at the Law Center take your concerns very seriously and want to discuss them with you. We look forward to a continuing partnership with you, with our student affinity groups and with the entire student body to ensure this is a safe, inclusive community where all students can thrive and where we regularly and thoughtfully address the most difficult social justice issues of our day.
”

Excerpt from Dean of Students, Mitchell Bailin:

“Dear Coalition members,

I look forward to joining you and the Dean in coming weeks to discuss your concerns further and identify ways we collectively can make the Law Center a safer and more inclusive place for students of color.

I appreciate that some of you are feeling traumatized by the deeply troubling events that have occurred across the nation over the last few months, feelings perhaps intensified by what you feel has been an inadequate response from the Law Center.  With respect to possible exam deferrals, you should consult directly with the Registrar, Denise Sangster, who evaluates requests for deferral on a case-by-case basis consistent with the exam deferral policy in the 2014-2015 Student Handbook of Academic Policies.”

We thank GULC Administration for responding quickly and with apparent concern. As we formulate next steps, we will keep our supporters and allies abreast of developments. We expect our demands to be taken seriously, and we look forward to what we hope will be the first of a number of productive conversations between the Coalition, GULC Administration, and supporting GULC student organizations and allies, that will lead to tangible outcomes.

In Solidarity,

The Coalition of Students of Color at Georgetown Law 


Excerpts from other supportive correspondences received by the Coalition:

“I think the tireless efforts you have made to push for justice and to address the institutional failings, not only of our criminal justice system, but also Georgetown’s response to it, deserves our support. Please let me know if and how I can help. And please keep up this fight! We desperately need your leadership on this activism-averse campus.” – Current GULC Student

“Please add my email to any listservs of groups that are trying to improve the situation on campus!  I saw the letter to the administration this morning and I could not agree more.”  – Current GULC Student

“I just read your open letter–thought it was great. I’m a recent graduate of Georgetown and wanted to suggest that the Coalition also provide resources for alum. We are constantly asked for donations, and I think maybe a suggested email or list of talking points would be helpful to respond to GULC. I really appreciate the work you are doing, everyday. ” – GULC Alumnus