Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Taleed El-Sabawi (BIPOC Professor, Elon; Google Scholar) & Madison Fields (BIPOC Student, Elon), The Discounted Labor of BIPOC Students & Faculty, 109 Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2021):
Black Law Students experienced a different COVID-19 pandemic than their majority counterparts due in part to the emotional and physical toll caused by the violent, public mistreatment of Black persons at the hands of law enforcement. While some law faculty at some institutions were proactive in identifying the struggles that their Black students were facing, most law faculty and administrators did nothing—prompting Black students to take time away from their studies to organize, draft letters, gather signatures, and have very uncomfortable conversations with university administrators and faculty about the need for change.
Meanwhile, Black faculty and faculty of color, who were experiencing their own trials with pandemic teaching, childcare, increased service obligations and mental fatigue from the political and racial unrest, were often called upon to contribute substantial time to the design and implementation of the “diversity” or “anti-racism” initiatives—to the policy changes and programs that were necessary to increase the diversity of the schools and to create inclusive environments for their BIPOC students and faculty.
Most of this labor discounted, if acknowledged at all. We offer recommendations for how law schools can help shift some of these burdens.