As a Jesuit institution, Loyola University Chicago has long been committed to social justice. In 2020, after the killing of George Floyd and in the wake of increasing calls for ending systemic racism and racial violence, the University and the School of Law recommitted to help uproot persistent racism and dismantle systemic racial injustice. Here are some of the steps the School of Law has taken to better support our students, make our law school more welcoming and inclusive, and address racism in our community:
- Created a new mission statement, based on input from students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and staff, that clarifies the school’s calling to work to dismantle the structures that generate and sustain racism and all forms of oppression. The mission builds on an earlier Racial Equality Statement that commits the School of Law to doing the work required to effect legitimate and long-lasting change in our public and private institutions.
- Administered student climate surveys, conducted by Nextions, in 2018 and 2021.
- Engaged in a full-day faculty retreat to begin developing an action plan and priorities to implement the new mission objective to dismantle structures of systemic racism and oppression.
- Provided a required series of anti-racist workshops and trainings for all full-time faculty and administrators. Trainings included anti-racist pedagogy and discussions on recognizing, preventing, and intervening in microaggressions in the law school classroom and community.
- Conducted a joint diversity, equity, and inclusion workshop with alumni and the Dean’s Diversity Council.
- Hosted dozens of events and programs dedicated to antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in law, legal education, and the profession. Faculty, staff, and students—including student-led law journals—planned many of these impactful events, which included some of the best scholars and experts in the field of racial justice. Many of these programs included representatives from the faith-based, governmental, and cultural organizations and entities.
- Strengthened the Professional Identity Formation class, which launched in 2018 as a course dedicated to addressing anti-racism, intersectionality, and implicit bias in the legal profession. This course is a requirement for all first-year students.
- Created a new course for second- and third-year students that focuses on diversity and inclusion as a social and professional responsibility, which launched in fall 2021. An experiential component to the course will be offered during the spring 2022.
- Created new position and appointed an associate dean for mission innovation.
- Continued work with the American Bar Association’s Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline, the University’s prelaw minority student organization, and staff and prelaw students at Chicago State University. The law school was a sponsor of the American Bar Association’s 10-part Reimaging Legal Education: Innovations in Pipeline Programs.
- Charged each of the law school’s committees and councils—including those devoted to admissions and financial assistance, teaching and curriculum, hiring, and student conduct—with actualizing our anti-racist mission.
- Dramatically increased financial assistance and scholarship support for incoming and continuing students, including through the creation of the faculty-led and supported Faculty Diversity Scholarship Fund.
- Strengthened, clarified, and made more visible the multiple processes for reporting incidents of bias and harm in the community.
- Continued to be at the forefront of the University’s Anti-Racism Initiative and Racial Justice Examen, moving Loyola toward becoming a fully inclusive, anti-racist institution, including by implementing anti-racist pedagogies, increasing faculty diversity, and improving the climate among faculty of color.
- Worked with University partners to develop a transformative University Institute for Racial Justice dedicated to uprooting racism, dismantling systemic racial subjugation, and promoting racial justice, healing, and reconciliation.
Our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion fosters an exchange of ideas and shared experiences. Our goal is for all members of our law school community to feel valued and supported.