Paul L. Caron

Thursday, January 23, 2020

University Of Washington Dean Responds To Law Students' Demand For Racial Justice

Following up on yesterday's post, University Of Washington Law Students Demand Racial Justice:  I reached out to Dean Mario Barnes on Monday, and he provided me this statement to share yesterday afternoon:

BarnesAt the beginning of the Winter quarter, I had the privilege of teaching the first session of our 1L Perspectives course. During that course, many students shared their concerns about diversity-related issues at UW Law. A few of the issues raised included diversity among our faculty and student body, the experience of people of color at our school, our curriculum, our ability to prepare students to correct a racist and oppressive justice system, and other crucial topics.

Embracing diversity in all forms has been central to my vision for UW Law since becoming dean in 2018 because I believe diverse experiences and perspectives improve legal education and practice.

My leadership team and I are working with the students who brought these concerns forward. We hear their concerns, and we are taking action. We identified a time at the end of January for an in-depth public dialogue about these extremely important topics. Some of our immediate changes include:

  • Updating our discrimination reporting policies (in process).
  • Making it easier to report discrimination by posting a link on the Diversity page of the website.
  • Honoring place by adding the following acknowledgment to the Diversity page of the website: The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.
  • Expanding the trainings we offer on diversity-related topics for faculty and staff.

To increase our accountability, we commit to begin reporting on progress toward our diversity, equity and inclusion goals and initiatives on a quarterly basis.

UW Law is committed to diversity, inclusive excellence, equity and multiculturism. At the same time, we recognize that our school has a history of racism. We are mindful that we have not always created a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of color and underrepresented groups. We are committed to doing better. I believe that together we can combat the racism and inequities that persist in society and at UW Law. We are all partners in the critically important work of developing an environment that allows each of us to thrive in our work and learning.

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