For Immediate Release
In an effort to confront society’s history of racial inequity, the GW Law faculty passed a new antiracism resolution by unanimous vote on Juneteenth, resolving to promote individual and institutional accountability for combatting racism. The resolution was submitted at a special faculty meeting and was approved the same day, with all faculty members voting in favor.
The resolution argues that "our country has a pervasive and enduring history of systemic and institutionalized racial oppression" and cites recent events that have exposed grave racial and economic inequities, including the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color and the killings of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
"This is a defining moment for GW Law," said Interim Dean Christopher A. Bracey. "We cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening within our country, its impact upon our community members, or its connection to the multi-generational arc of justice that shaped our nation’s history. As lawyers, legal educators, scholars, and advocates, we have a duty to help eradicate racism in all its forms."
The resolution states, "We, the faculty of the George Washington University Law School, hold ourselves accountable for engaging in the daily work of combating racism as individuals and as an institution. We pledge to approach these efforts with humility and respect, mindful of the importance of listening to and learning from those of us most impacted by systemic oppression."
The resolution calls for further assessment of classroom teaching to eliminate racial and cultural bias, as well as the increased hiring of people of color in faculty and staff positions. It encourages anti-bias training for faculty, staff, and students and seeks to improve the recruitment of students of color by strengthening ties at historically black colleges and universities and working more closely with the GW Black Law Students Association and other affinity student organizations within the law school.
Through the resolution, the faculty also commits to recruiting the finest lawyers to teach students about inequality and racial oppression within the justice system and further investing in the intellectual life of the school on matters relating to racial justice. Workshops and seminars on race-sensitive teaching will be developed, and the curriculum will be evaluated for possible changes in emphasis. Finally, the resolution called on the law school to conduct an institutional policy review regarding the reporting of bias and discrimination.
"The GW Law community is so special—namely, our ability to come together to support one another in times of crisis, to lift one another as we climb to new heights, and to serve as thought leaders in a world that looks to us for guidance. I applaud our faculty for taking this critical step forward in striving to dismantle the injustice that has defined the struggle of African Americans in this nation for centuries," said Dean Bracey.
GW Law, long recognized as one of the top law schools in the country, pursues a distinctive research and learning mission that engages the leading law and policy questions of our time and provides students with an education that will position them to help change the world. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools, GW Law was founded in 1865 and was the first law school in the District of Columbia.