From diversifying its pool of faculty candidates, to providing inclusivity training, and creating structural spaces on campus for diverse programs, UC Law San Francisco’s leaders shared some of the law school’s successes in promoting a diverse and inclusive campus and also some of its goals for the future.
Chancellor and Dean David Faigman and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives Mario Ernesto Lopez ‘15 shared the information at the law school’s first-ever campus-wide DEI forum in early January.
Successes at the school have included:
- Hiring a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives
- Providing trauma-informed teaching instruction for faculty
- Taking part in affinity group partnerships to diversify the student body
- Increasing the numbers students of color and first-generation law students (first in their families to attend college)
- Creating affinity group chapters within the Alumni Association
Many of the changes reflect the needs expressed in the April 2022 recommendations made by the Campus Climate Advisory Committee. Those recommendations followed a campus climate survey that took place in March 2021 and the formation of a DEI working group in 2018. The DEI Working Group is currently working on community guidelines that reflect campus values.
Strategies to promote diversity and inclusion span our campus departments, including enrollment management, academic programs, faculty hiring, curriculum and even the physical spaces on campus.
Lopez pointed out that the law school participates in several programs to recruit diverse students, including hosting a Black Pre-Law Conference, recruiting from historically black colleges and universities, partnering with affinity student organizations, and expanding recruitment efforts to California’s Central Valley.
A campus student survey indicated that 20% of the students attending law school at UC Law SF are first-generation students, while the number of students who identify as People of Color has risen from 32.9% in 2016 to 54.5% in 2022.
In addition, new courses being offered to students include Law, Race & Economic Justice and Race, Sexuality & Law.
The dean also recognized the law school’s faculty-led centers that focus on topics of diversity, including the Center for Racial and Economic Justice, the Indigenous Law Center, the Center for Race, Immigration, Citizenship & Equality, the East Asian Legal Studies Center, and the International Development Law Center.
“I’m very proud of how far we’ve come,” Faigman said. “I recognize, too, that we still have more to do.”
Faigman said he will continue to work towards a faculty and student body that reflects the greater community. One of the newest initiatives taking place this spring semester is the hiring of an ombudsperson to help address conflicts between community members. He said the work on DEI issues will continue and he encouraged students and others on campus who have additional suggestions to contact his office.