Sunday, January 6, 2019
Teresa Stanton Collett (St. Thomas), A Catholic Perspective on Law School Diversity Requirements:
“Diversity” is a polarizing concept in American politics. I argue that under current legal education guidelines and policies, it is a concept that is Ill-defined, clumsily implemented, and often justified on grounds that have been rejected by the US Supreme Court. My quarrel is not with the underlying perception that cultural pluralism is increasing both here and abroad, nor with the idea that such pluralism can be the entry point to a more just and peaceful world. My quarrel is with the legal academy’s embrace of what others have called “check-the-box diversity” with little to no attention to viewpoint diversity and authentic dialogue. This is evidenced by both the development of a grievance culture on campus as well as a dangerous refusal to engage ideas and arguments that differ from the dominate liberal worldview. Sadly there is little to no evidence that Catholic law schools differ from their secular counterparts in this area.
This should not be so, given the guidance of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education on multicultural dialogue. By embracing the Church’s approach to educating students in a multi-cultural society, I argue that Catholic law schools could and should become places of authentic dialogue, cultural appreciation and reform, and a more universal understanding of justice and the role law can play in responding to the challenges of our time.