Message from the Dean
August 3, 2020
I wrote to you in June to briefly describe some of the many concrete ways in which the law school is responding to issues of racial injustice, diversity, and inclusion here, in the profession and practice of law, and nationally in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. But our mission at Stanford is not just to respond, it is to lead. In view of that I have established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative.
The purpose of the Initiative is to expand and develop innovative policies and practices across the entire institution to ensure that Stanford Law School becomes a model for 21st century legal education in a pluralist society. Among many other things, this will require deepening faculty and student training in the skills of cultural competence and humility, it will require making our faculty, staff, and student body more diverse and deeply engaged across this rich spectrum of difference in background and viewpoint, it will require hard conversations about race, systemic racism, identity, and difference both inside and outside the classroom, and it will require both rigorous research and openness to projects that others have not imagined.
In some instances the Initiative can and will build on pioneering work done by the student-led RLHT movement and its collaboration with faculty and staff in the 2018 Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion. In other areas, however, success will turn on breaking new ground in response to new challenges, insights, and opportunities.
To assist in launching the Initiative this coming academic year I have asked Professor Norm Spaulding to serve as the dean’s Special Advisor for the Initiative. In addition to having worked with students active in RLHT and serving on the Steering Committee of the Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion, he is co-chairing with Anne Joseph O’Connell the new Committee on Teaching and Classroom Climate. In the 15 years he has been a member of the faculty he has also served as Associate Dean for Curriculum, he led a two-year student/faculty working group after the failure to indict the officers responsible for the death of Eric Garner, he created and taught new classes concentrating on race, crime, policing, and prosecutorial ethics, and he has written pathbreaking scholarship on the Reconstruction Amendments as well as the ethics, identity, and history of the American legal profession.
To help launch the initiative, Professor Spaulding will be teaching two race-focused reading groups for incoming 1Ls this fall, creating a policy lab for students who are interested in working directly on the DE&I Initiative, leading a new program to support and mentor SLS students who want to become law teachers focused on aspiring scholars from traditionally under-represented groups, and creating a new SLS workshop dedicated to promoting rigorous, empathetic discussion across differences in view point and identity. He will also be helping to coordinate an institution-wide effort to advance the goals of the Initiative on dozens of other topics.
Professor Spaulding looks forward to working closely with students, staff, and faculty, and welcomes the opportunity to hear about your aspirations and concerns. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenny S. Martinez
Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School
Diversity and Inclusion Updates
These are the most recent documents of progress made on behalf of the law school's diversity & inclusion efforts. For past updates, please see the Archive page. SUNet ID required.