Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, inaugural director of the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity, will leave the Institute at the end of 2012 to return to the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law in January to direct the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System project. Aiyetoro, who was named Institute director in January 2011, conceived of the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System project when she began her tenure at the Institute.
In this statewide project, Aiyetoro heads a 59-person steering committee that includes law enforcement officials, judges, defense attorneys, representatives of victims, corrections officials, UALR faculty and other stakeholders. Her move back to Bowen will provide more time to pursue her career-long interest in this topic.
Prior to joining the Institute, Aiyetoro was an associate professor of law since 2004. She formerly worked as an attorney in the U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, director of administration at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundationâ€™s National Prison Project, and executive director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers.
â€śI am excited about returning to the law school to advance the work of this important project and to participate more fully in training lawyers by sharing my passion for access to justice and public service, which have been the hallmark of my professional life,â€ť Aiyetoro said.
Chancellor Joel E. Anderson, who selected Aiyetoro to serve as director of the Institute, said, â€śAs inaugural director of the Institute, Professor Aiyetoro tackled the start-up challenges with passion and hard work. I am very grateful for her leadership in launching the Institute. I understand and applaud her enthusiasm for the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System project. It is a major undertaking with much promise for leading to a better criminal justice system in Arkansas.â€ť
Under Aiyetoroâ€™s direction, the Institute took the leadership role in the 2011-12 Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County survey and conference and organized the second annual Civil Rights Heritage Trail Commemoration that honored the Little Rock Nine, L.C. and Daisy Bates, and Attorney Christopher Mercer, among many other projects.
Anderson said UALR will begin a national search for a director of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity this fall with hopes to have the new leader in place by early 2013.