As we conclude Black History Month, in which we celebrated the tremendous contributions by Black Fordham Law students, faculty, and alumni over many decades, I wanted to share with you an update on the work we are doing now to build a learning environment and legal profession that is supportive and free from bias.
From Promise to Progress
- Implemented diversity training for all staff, coordinated a comprehensive diversity workshop and facilitated follow-up sessions for faculty. Additionally, we introduced anti-racism programming at our spring 1L orientation alongside other important topics that directly impact diversity, equity, and inclusion in legal education and the profession.
- Established the Deborah A. Batts Scholarship program and named our first two Batts Scholars from the Class of 2023.
- Added expert staff to provide critical support services for diverse students.
- Expanded efforts to recruit students from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
- Established a partnership with law firm Kirkland & Ellis to support the IDEAL pipeline program.
- Launched public programs and interactive Dialogue Days to expand dialogue on social justice issues in the broader community.
- Retained an expert to initiate a robust climate study focused on the impact of race and related dynamics at our institution. The study will gather crucial information from a variety of perspectives about how systemic and institutionalized racism manifests at our Law School and will inform future planning towards dismantling such systems. As a next step, a survey of the community will be conducted in mid-March.
These are important actions that will have a lasting impact on our institution, and I am enormously proud of the work our community is doing to effect positive change. We are experiencing a renewed sense of optimism, and while significant work remains to be done, we have begun the way forward toward building a community and a society that is racially just, equitable, and inclusive.