Thoughtful discussions and messages shared by students in recent weeks regarding the issues of racism and racial violence helped shape a statement unanimously approved June 5, 2020, by faculty of the Elon University School of Law.
FACULTY STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE AGAINST MEMBERS OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY
The faculty at Elon Law stand together in recognizing the ongoing, systemic and structural racial and societal injustices in this country. These injustices have been part of the American political, economic and criminal justice systems for over 400 years. The faculty recognizes the value of all human life and is appalled by the killings of Black Americans under color of law. Further, the faculty recognizes and feels the sadness, anger, frustration and pain caused by racial violence, in all its forms, and understands the purpose and benefit of peaceful protest in advancing societal change.
As the training grounds for future lawyers and judges, law schools hold a special responsibility to acknowledge and confront the historical and continuing injustices within our country. In that context, we commit to having uncomfortable talks and real, honest conversations about these injustices and we commit to fight ignorance and intolerance, model inclusivity, and embrace our differences and the power that diversity represents. The Law School faculty further recommits to the principles and objectives adopted in our Strategic Plan regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. The Law School faculty is committed to training students to become culturally competent lawyers and leaders in their communities. We will do this by providing classroom experiences that are inclusive by design and in application; by collaborating with University and external resources to increase Law School programming on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and by expanding our curricular offerings, adding opportunities to study issues of structural bias in the legal system. And, importantly, the Law School faculty is deeply committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing exceptional faculty and staff, adding the perspectives of underrepresented identities to our Law School community.
Recognizing our diverse Elon Law community, we acknowledge the continuous need to educate ourselves about challenges confronting students and colleagues from historically underrepresented groups. We will not permit a culture of bias to exist in our classrooms, our student advising, our faculty dialogues, or our academic community. We commit to support our students, our staff, our fellow faculty, and other members in our community in addressing racism in all its forms.
As stated by lawyer and author Bryan Stevenson, “There is no path to justice that is only comfortable and convenient. We will not create justice until we’re willing to sometimes position ourselves in uncomfortable places and be a witness.” As faculty members at Elon Law, we recognize our obligation to accept discomfort to create justice within and beyond our law school community.