Former Crowley Scholar I. India Thusi ’07 has been named a faculty member at California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.
Thusi’s research combines anthropological methodology and historical analysis to examine the impact of policing as it intersects with justice, gender, and race—scholarly interests she first researched and wrote about while attending Fordham Law. Her student note for the Fordham Urban Law Journal, “Reasonably Predictable: The Reluctance to Embrace Judicial Discretion for Substantial Assistance Departures,” inspired her to consider joining the legal academia as a future career goal, she said.
“I consider myself very lucky that I ended up at a great institution in sunny San Diego where the mission of the school is focused on providing opportunity and social justice through legal education,” said Thusi, who teaches Criminal Procedure, Critical Race Theory, and Regulation of Vice.
Thusi’s post-law school path to California Western included two federal clerkships in the United States and one with South Africa’s highest court, work with the ACLU on the systemic causes of the “school-to-prison” pipeline, and attainment of her Ph.D. from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. All these experiences, Thusi noted, were tied directly or indirectly to Fordham Law.
Thusi credited Fordham Law professors Daniel Capra and James Kainen for helping her obtain clerkships with the Hon. Robert L. Carter, who sat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and was the lead counsel for the NAACP in Brown v. Board of Education, and the Hon. Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Kainen also clerked with Judge Carter.
Thusi cited her time with Judge Carter, in particular, for enhancing her views on how the law can be used as a tool for promoting equality. Her subsequent hiring with the ACLU, focusing on issues of policing and schools, was directly related to her clerkship with Judge Carter, she said. She also has legal experience with Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and The Opportunity Agenda, a “social justice communication lab” that collaborates to effect lasting policy and culture change.
Fordham Law also provided Thusi the tools to consider justice on a global scale.
She traveled to South Africa as a Crowley Scholar, an experience she said that developed her interest in human rights and how human rights norms should be implemented within a domestic legal system. After graduating law school, she clerked on the Constitutional Court of South Africa and completed a Ph.D. in social anthropology and law and society at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Her research on policing in South Africa resulted in the 2015 Fordham International Law Journal article, “Policing Sex: The Colonial, Apartheid, and New Democracy Policing of Sex Work in South Africa.”
Thusi’s connection to the Crowley Scholars program has continued to pay dividends as she sought to enter the legal academy. She thanked Professor Catherine Powell and other Fordham Law faculty for their advice on the application process and improving her research agenda. She described this aid as “critical” in securing a job in a very competitive environment for legal faculty positions.
“I’d tie to it the way Fordham really supports its alumni,” Thusi said. “Even though I graduated 10 years ago, I still feel a strong connection to the School.”