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
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Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Ferguson Virtual Town Hall

Uncategorized

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

Coalition Mission Statement

About US
The Coalition at Georgetown University Law Center is just that: a law student group founded by law students of color in order to promote social justice activism at GULC. We seek to express our needs and desires, to expose and correct problematic practices currently taking place at GULC, and to enact long-term, lasting change on campus and in Washington, D.C. We coalesced in response to the current state of diversity emergency we perceive at Georgetown Law.

The Coalition represents a cross-section of Hoyas: we are Black, White, Asian-Pacific Islander, Hispanic-Latin@, LGBTQIAAP, and beyond. We are private sector and we are public interest. We are dedicated to enacting meaningful change at Georgetown Law.

PLEASE NOTE: At the request of certain GULC student affinity groups, we would like to specify that the Coalition is unaffiliated with any official GULC Student Bar Association-funded student group, and the views expressed here are solely those of the Coalition’s.

Contact: georgetownlawcoalition@gmail.com

Keep up with the Coalition here: https://georgetownlawcoalition.wordpress.com/

From Students of Color: An Open Letter to GULC Administration, Staff, Faculty, & Students

Student Activism

EMERGENCY ACTION:

Dear Georgetown University Law Center,

Your silence is suffocating. We, students of color, cannot breathe. At Georgetown University Law Center (GULC), law students of color are underserved, unacknowledged, and unable to seek relief from our institution of legal education.

Grand juries throughout the nation have recently shown that non-indictments of predominantly White police officers for the slaughter of predominantly Black and Brown victims are the “new” reality America is just becoming widely cognizant of. From August 9, 2014, when Michael Brown was shot to death and left on a Missouri street for four and a half hours, until the present day, GULC students of color have been deeply affected, critically active, and emotionally damaged by these events because for us, America’s racial narrative is not new. Ferguson is not new. But the international outcry against the intersection of racialized, cavalier policing and the legal deference that allows the practice to occur is something new.

 “Law is but the means, Justice is the end.”

 That is the creed, the very motto of Georgetown University Law Center.

But GULC students of color struggle to grasp at the “surreality” of our role as change agents of Justice; we continually lose hope in our study of the law because we attend a legal institution that has neither openly acknowledged or denounced the current legal (in)justice system that oppresses Black and Brown people.

We write to you, GULC Administration, Faculty, Staff, and Students, because unlike so many of you, we cannot afford the luxury and privilege of measured silence. In fact, we have not been silent. We have organized and protested on campus, we have distributed educational flyers in classrooms, we have marched in the streets of Washington, D.C., and we have consistently asked our peers, “Which side are you on?”

Georgetown University President John DeGioia addressed Michael Brown’s murder in a brief email to all Georgetown students, and invited students to the Main Campus to attend a collaborative, heavily co-sponsored, and extremely well attended event on August 28, 2014. Nonetheless, Georgetown University Law Center, the most prestigious and highly-ranked law school in the nation’s capital, a law school placed within a city with a significant (and before systematic gentrification, predominant) population of people of color, has remained silent on the most pertinent recent legal event gaining national and international attention.

What does that persistent silence tell us, as law students of color, about our agency, our value, and our role at GULC?

GULC’s silence hierarchizes humanity. It denies us respect. And it takes a cursory, shallow glance at what the rest of the nation is viewing in-depth. Many of us face a specific existential crisis as Black law students. We are a conundrum, a puzzle that has no discernible answer. We are taught at GULC to revere the law, to learn its intricacies and its merits, to regard its ever-flowing logic and seamless rationality, to gently question its application and its “rightness”, and to uphold the GULC creed…but when faced with issues like police brutality, the ever-climbing and disproportional conviction rates of Black and Brown men and women, the over-criminalization of adolescent Black and Brown behavior, the uneven application of drug laws, and so on, we constantly ask ourselves:

“Why are we trying to wield tools that were never meant to fit our hands?”

There are but precious few students of color on GULC’s campus and in GULC’s classrooms. We face undue and unjust pressure to not only speak for and represent our communities, but also to prove that we indeed belong at GULC: that we objectively earned our way here; that we are more than just hand-picked, articulate, and acceptable puppets to showcase on a GULC Diversity brochure; to point out and defend ourselves from racial micro- and macro-aggressions in the classroom from professors and classmates alike; and to speak up when students blatantly disrespect the precious few GULC professors of color. We may take courses in which we are never called on: some of us remain unseen. Invisible. Many of us are consistently called the wrong name, or the name of another person of color in the same class. These are commonplace experiences for people of color in the legal Ivory Tower.

We, as GULC students of color, are donning ten different hats while we sit in our seats.

We have ten different tasks to accomplish when we walk through any classroom door.

Many of our classmates are often wearing just one hat; many of our classmates have but one task: to learn how to practice law. And that, in and of itself, is a privilege unavailable to law students of color that GULC does nothing to address, combat, or even acknowledge.

What has GULC done, or is GULC willing to do, to address the crises its students of color face?

GULC took approximately four months to launch any type of organized response to the nationwide protests in the wake of the events in Ferguson, MO despite the increasing media coverage and public outcry it generated. Let us reiterate: GULC spent four months in silence, and has only just recently launched a purely internal response.

On December 3, 2014 GULC threw together a panel titled, “A Conversation About Ferguson.” The event’s attendance, choice of panelists (Professors Paul Butler, Abbe Smith, Anthony Cook, Michael Seidman, and Dr. Marcia Chatelain were masterful), and conversational content are to be applauded. Nonetheless, we found the following problematic:

  • The initial location of the panel: McDonough Hall, Room 156, a decrepit classroom in the bowels of the oldest building on campus. A full first year section cannot fit in this type of classroom. Yet this venue was chosen over Hart Auditorium, or the Sports & Fitness Center Lobby, or the Hotung International Law Building: venues oft used for the most high-profile, important events on campus. This “Conversation About Ferguson” should have been deemed worthy of such a venue. The initial location of the panel showed GULC’s low priority and low expected turnout for an event of such monumental importance.
  • The lack of consultation with student organizations: The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) was listed as a co-sponsor for the event, its name plastered boldly on the event’s flyers. To our knowledge, no BLSA member was specifically consulted or used as a resource to determine the structure or content of the event—the Black student voice was not heard at the event geared towards addressing the killing of Black and Brown people nationwide. This shows us that BLSA’s name is important, but not its members’ substantive input. Additionally, to our knowledge, no other student affinity group was consulted or even listed on the flyer, despite the presence of more than a handful of diverse student organizations actively participating in and contributing to GULC campus life.
  • The lack of long-running publicity for the event: The event was advertised via flyers lazily hung in random locations in McDonough Hall and accompanied by no more than two emails from the Office of Student Life and the Campus Broadcast. The emails were sent ONE DAY before the event took place. This event is now conveniently featured on the “Web Stories” subsection of Georgetown Law’s “News” webpage, a page that is not immediately visible on the Law Center’s home page.

 GULC has haphazardly attempted to address the lack of racial diversity in the admissions process, but remains tone deaf to the express concerns of students of color.

After a number of predominantly Black law students attended a clandestine admissions meeting with Dean of Admissions Andy Cornblatt on December 3, 2014, we are not encouraged as to GULC’s capacity to substantively prioritize admittance and enrollment of students of color.

  • The meeting lacked substance, did not disseminate concrete statistics, and many of our most pressing questions (regarding financial aid and travel stipends for admitted minority students to conduct campus visits) went unanswered or were brusquely brushed off. We—students of color—are tasked with recruiting and convincing students of color to attend GULC, told to “sell” GULC, when we truthfully do not believe we have much more to “sell” than just buzzwords.
  • The meeting took place less than an hour after the public announcement of the non-indictment of Eric Garner’s murderer. Thus, while being told that our services are desperately needed to draw students of color to GULC, we were not once asked whether the campus atmosphere at GULC is one that could presently attract students of color.
  • This initial meeting was primarily geared towards Black students. An identical meeting was hosted with primarily Latino/a students a few days later, during which the very same meaningless rhetoric was spouted to those students–the message was loud and clear:

GULC hopes to increase its ‘diversity’ numbers, to enroll students of color who ‘check the box,’ and to report these ‘achievements’ to national outlets. Artificially inflating the number of students of color seems more important to GULC than working actively to enhance the experiences of those students of color who choose to enroll. GULC feels no pressure, heeds no onus to create a community for a meaningfully diverse student body to thrive, thus organically reproducing such an environment for future students.

Requests by individual students of color to assist GULC Administration in creating a mandatory first-year diversity orientation have gone unheeded.

Student-staff meetings were held, data was compiled and submitted, but no further contact or action was taken. A fresh crop of 1Ls entered GULC without understanding the standards of civil diversity and intellectual inclusion GULC purports to endorse. Further, students of color have no insight into GULC’s faculty diversity training, and experience a significant portion of our alienating experiences at the hands of faculty, in the classroom, or during office hours.

GULC has failed its students of color on an academic level.

 Students of color report instances in which they openly seek academic assistance, express worry about their grades or exam techniques, and are met with empty, placating reassurances tinged with condescension. We attribute these instances to the subconscious lowered achievement expectations GULC Administration manifests towards its students of color.


GULC law students of color and allies demand the following from Administration, Faculty, and Staff:

  1. PUBLICLY ADDRESS THE ISSUE: We demand a public, school-wide statement from Deans William Treanor and Mitchell Bailin on behalf of the GULC community, based on the statements published by peer legal institutions: specifically New York University School of Law, Stanford Law School, University of California at Berkeley Law School, and Yale Law School. No administrator of consequence has addressed or approached any of GULC’s affinity groups to offer their concern, solidarity, or support services.
  2. PROVIDE IMMEDIATE INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT: We demand specific, targeted mental health resources, meditation counselors, or the service of chaplains, rabbis, or other religious persons to assist us in coping with the violence we witness outside of the halls of GULC every day. We must be permanently provided with safe spaces on campus in which to deconstruct our trauma as students of color. These resources should be provided in conjunction with Georgetown Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS).
  3. GRANT EXAM EXTENSIONS: We demand that students who have been deeply and psychologically affected by recent events be provided the option, on an individual basis, to defer or postpone Fall semester exams according to individual need. The Exam Relief Policies set forth in the 2014-2015 Student Handbook of Academic Policies allows for exam relief in the wake of “extraordinary cause” and “extraordinary circumstances.” We expect GULC Administration to consider exam relief requests under the presumption of individual students’ good faith and sound discretion. The concerns voiced in this letter rise to, and in fact exceed, the level of extraordinary circumstances.
  4. CENTRALIZE FIRST-YEAR DIVERSITY ORIENTATION: We demand that our numerous past requests for a targeted diversity orientation program at GULC be heeded. This is one of GULC Administration’s sorest oversights. Every year, the same preventable issues prevail in every 1L section at GULC, and GULC has taken no actionable steps to curtail problems that could be preempted by a meaningful, topical diversity orientation program. Diversity should not just be a buzzword at GULC. It is not, but it must be, a meaningful reality.
  5. PRIORITIZE FACULTY DIVERSITY RETRAINING: We demand to attend and take part in the GULC Faculty Retreat hosted in February 2015, during which this coalition’s best practices suggestions and testimonies will be considered thoroughly during a discussion about faculty micro-aggressions against students of color. From exam fact patterns to in-class hypotheticals, GULC faculty has often been the perpetrator of racial micro- and macro-aggressions against its law students of color. We must be intimately involved in the diversity retraining of GULC faculty.
  6. INCREASE MEANINGFUL STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN DIVERSITY RECRUITING: We demand that GULC affinity groups on campus be given full access to application rates and acceptance rates of students of color, be armed with a reasonable and transparent understanding of the financial aid determination process, and be heavily and meaningfully involved and informed in the official GULC recruitment process. We should not have to lie to recruits and admitted students of color about what their experience at GULC will be like.

Students from peer institutions are demanding similar action items from their respective administrations. Most notably, the Coalition at Columbia Law voiced its concerns on December 6, 2014. To borrow from their courageous open letter:

“Our trauma will be present with us on exam day, our trauma is inhibiting us from sleeping at night, and our trauma is ever-present among the words in our textbooks. Moreover, the violence that the law has done to Mike Brown and now Eric Garner is a legal violence that affects and implicates us all. We are now asked to use the same legal maneuvers and language on our exams this Monday that [are] used to deny justice to so many Black and Brown bodies. In being asked to prepare for and take our exams in this moment, we are being asked to perform incredible acts of disassociation that have led us to question our place in this school community and the legal community at large.

We write to you not only from a place of love and concern for ourselves, but also from a place of care and concern for our institution. We maintain some semblance of hope that our institution can be better; indeed, if we did not, we would not be so invested as community leaders. However, we know that [the Georgetown University Law Center] will not be better until its faculty and administration centralize the needs of its students of color. Accepting and matriculating students of color is not enough; we must also adopt and continue to reinvent strategies to make us feel at home here.

We feel that the institution we have worked hard to improve is failing us. Administrators at our peer institutions have reached out, unprompted, to students of color to acknowledge the hurt that many of their students are currently experiencing. We have yet to see that sort of response from our school community and it has left us feeling further devalued and isolated.” 

See EMERGENCY ACTION, Columbia Law Coalition (Dec. 6, 2014), https://columbialawcoalition.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/emergency-action-the-coalition-of-affinity-group-student-leaders-and-students-of-color/)

We, students of color at GULC, echo these sentiments. We charge you, GULC, to express your solidarity with, and support of, your law students of color. We charge you to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter. Work with us to ensure that law is but the means, Justice is the end.

Signed,

A Coalition of Students of Color at Georgetown University Law Center


“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


GULC students of color & allies staged a “Die-In” in October of 2014, specifically discussing the death of Michael Brown. This protest received no acknowledgement from GULC Administration. View the protest here: