Racial Justice Initiatives

Recognizing the need to oppose and remediate the racial injustice and inequity that continues to exist in the legal system, society, and the law school, the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law adopts the following Racial Justice and Equity Action Plan.

Administrative Actions

The Law School will evaluate current programs, policies, and procedures, and develop additional initiatives to create an environment of diversity, inclusion, and retention that values the cultural background of the Law School’s students of color and other diverse student groups. The initial evaluation, assessment, and program development will include the areas of:

    1. Career Services
    2. Admissions
    3. Student Affairs
    4. Alumni/Development
    5. Staff, Full-time Faculty, and Adjunct Faculty Hiring

Classroom Actions

The Law School will develop programs to empower faculty members to create inclusive classroom environments.  The initial areas of faculty development will focus on:

    1. Helping faculty understand how to situate course content within social and historical contexts;
    2. Expecting that professors should understand the racial implications of course content and competently discuss race-related issues in class;
    3. Training faculty to better anticipate, encourage, and facilitate race-related discussions during class;
    4. Training faculty to better support students of color; and
    5. Expecting adjunct faculty to engage in faculty development related to maintaining inclusive classrooms.

Curriculum Actions

Related to the Law School’s curriculum, the Law School will:

    1. Assess current course offerings;
    2. Develop additional courses that will address racial equity, inclusion, and cultural competency;
    3. Revise the Policy & Perspectives requirement to align with ABA Accreditation Standard 302(d), which is interpreted to include cultural competency;
    4. Encourage and support addressing racial equity issues throughout required and elective courses;
    5. Create subject matter focuses in (1) racial justice, and (2) criminal justice reform; and
    6. Evaluate the feasibility of certificates in (1) racial justice, and (2) criminal justice reform.

Student Organizations

The Law School will evaluate how to better support student organizations to meet the goals of this Action Plan.

Legal System Actions

The Law School will address racial injustice throughout the legal system through its professionalism, scholarship and service, including:

    1. Creating a Center for Racial and Criminal Justice Reform;
    2. Supporting scholarship in areas related to racial justice, equity, and cultural competency;
    3. Creating additional opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in racial justice and criminal justice reform efforts; and
    4. Creating additional opportunities to educate the bench, the bar, law enforcement, the public, and other stakeholders in the criminal justice system about racial justice and equity.

Accountability

The Law School is committed to engaging in continued efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and retention. The Law School’s Diversity and Excellence Committee, in coordination with other committees and departments, will complete an initial assessment and recommend further action by January 2021. Recognizing the need for long term action, the Law School will amend this Action Plan as needed to foster diversity, inclusion, retention, and other actions to oppose racial injustice and inequity.

Resources