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.”
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 rallies, held 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.”
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.
Yale Law School:
Stanford Law School; New York University School of Law:
University of California at Berkeley School of Law:
New York University School of Law (second correspondence):
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.