Update on racial justice efforts

March 18, 2021

As you know, the School of Law created in summer 2020 a new mission statement, based on input from students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and staff. Our mission statement makes clear our calling to work to dismantle the structures that generate and sustain racism and all forms of oppression. Everything we do springs from this. I am writing to share with you an update on the work that the School of Law is doing to incarnate our mission and turn our aspirations into action.

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:

  • Provided a required series of anti-racist workshops and trainings for all faculty and administrators. Training includes anti-racist pedagogy and discussions on recognizing, preventing, and intervening in microaggressions in the law school classroom and community. These trainings have been led by leading experts in the field, including Carla Kupe (JD ’08), Professional Identity Formation (PIF) director, and Columbia University Professor Derald Wing Sue, who authored the seminal book Race Talk. Additional workshops are ongoing, including an upcoming training series for faculty and administration with Dr. Arin Reeves, president of Nextions, which specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership training for law schools and law firms.
  • Conducted a joint diversity, equity, and inclusion workshop with alumni and the Dean’s Diversity Council.
  • Developed a survey tool with Nextions that will provide the law school community with an external assessment of its progress regarding the School of Law’s climate and culture.
  • Hosted more than 20 forums, events, and programs in the past month alone dedicated to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in law, legal education, and the profession. Faculty, staff, and students alike have planned incredible events, including symposia conducted by our student-led law journals, which allow us to engage in productive dialogue on important issues with some of the best scholars and experts in the field of racial justice. More events are still to come.
  • Strengthened the Professional Identity Formation class, which launched in 2018 as an anti-racism, intersectionality, and implicit bias course. This course is a requirement for all first-year students. 
  • Created a new course that will focus on diversity and inclusion as a social and professional responsibility, which will launch in the fall.  The course will be taught by Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Josie M. Gough (JD ’84) and Sandra Yamate, CEO of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.
  • Continued work with the American Bar Association’s Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline. Dean Gough continues to work with the University’s prelaw minority student organization as its faculty advisor and with staff and prelaw students at Chicago State University.
  • Charged each of the law school’s 17 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 faculty-supported 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 in all classes, increasing faculty diversity, and improving the climate among faculty of color at Loyola.
  • 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.

We still have a lot to do, and we look forward to doing the work with you. To build a truly anti-racist law school dedicated to dismantling systemic racial injustice, we need your help! Please reach out if you’d like to be more involved in racial justice efforts at the law school. Contact Assistant Dean Gough in our Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, or get involved with one of our many student organizations that fight for racial justice. Please check out the wide variety of School of Law-sponsored online events. The University is also planning programs and initiatives that will allow us to come together as one community as we tackle racism at its core.

With warm regards and deep appreciation, 
Michael J. Kaufman, Dean