Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

2020 Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (pdf)

DEI Strategic Plan Progress Updates

Fall 2021

  • During the 2021-22 Academic Year, we are holding Diversity Discussion Groups where we recognize a different affinity group each month and ask the group members to share their experience at the law school and what challenges members of their community are facing.
    • September – LatinX Law Students Association for Hispanic Heritage/LatinX History Month
    • October – OUTLaw for LGBTQ+ History Month
    • November – American Indian students for Native American Heritage Month
    • February – BLSA for Black History Month
    • March – LAW for Women’s History Month
    • April – students with disabilities for Neurodiversity Acceptance Month
  • The Law School’s incoming Class of 2024 is 26% diverse
  • The Office of Admission hosted information session during the 2020-21 admission cycle for diverse applicants with session topics including:
    • The Journey Begins Here
    • Being Black at the University of Mississippi School of Law
    • Diversity at Ole Miss
  • On Friday, Oct. 1, the Law School hosted its inaugural HBCU Preview Day. We had a total of 46 students and visiting faculty/staff from Jackson State University, Rust College, Mississippi Valley State University, and Alcorn State University. Additionally, Diversity Alumni Council members, current law students, recent HBCU/Law alumni, members of the Dean’s Leadership Council, law school faculty/staff and university leadership, including the Chancellor, were in attendance.
  • UM Law has entered into a Memoranda of Understanding with two Mississippi HBCUs – Tougaloo College and Jackson State – to build a relationship with students at both schools and provide students with cooperative programming, such as Law School professors teaching classes at both institutions.
  • The Office of Admissions provides each admitted diverse student with a connection to a DLC mentor, a faculty mentor, and a diverse alum.
  • UM Law hosts a First Generation Law Students event for 1Ls each fall. This year, practicing attorneys as well as faculty and staff members who are first generation attorneys share their own law school experiences and insight/guidance.
  • UM Law offers employment workshops to support minorities in their job search, including:
    • UM LatinX Law Student Association Virtual Networking Event with Young Lawyers Divisions of the Mississippi Bar and Puerto Rico Bar
    • LatinX Experience Series: Entertainment, Sports, Business
    • Diversifying Judicial Externships/Clerkships: A Judicial Panel
    • First Generation College Student/Law Student Career Talks
    • Bessie Young Council Virtual Speed Networking Event
    • BLSA/Magnolia Bar Networking Event
    • Marketed Hispanic National Bar Association career series events to students
    • Advertising Vault Law 1L Diversity Conference
    • Advertising ABA Litigation Section on Judicial Opportunities Program
    • Advertising the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Virtual Diversity Career Fair
    • Partnering with BLSA to house a student-accessible database of African American law alumni
    • Cataloguing a large list of Diversity Fellowships and programs on the 12Twenty Resource Library

Spring 2021

Fall 2020

  • UM Law hosted a book club for Ibram Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist for faculty, staff and students. All participants were divided into small groups to have meaningful discussions about racial justice and the book via Zoom during four meetings in July and August.
  • In the Fall 2020 semester, UM Law presented a diverse panel on voting rights issues. UM Law also co-sponsored a talk by journalist and educator Jelani Cobb on racial issues in the justice system.
  • UM Law hosted a Post-Election Student Forum, where a panel of three public servants – Justice Randy Pierce, Justice Jess Dickinson, and Senator Barbara Blackmon – who hold diverse backgrounds and political beliefs discussed the ramifications of the presidential election. Students were encouraged to ask questions and engage in dialogue at the end of the presentation.
  • Faculty members participated in SEC dialogues to discuss how to infuse race in 1L classes with other SEC law professors.
  • UM Law joined the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium in the Fall of 2020. The Consortium will contribute to the national effort to examine and address legal issues in policing public safety, including conduct, oversight, and the evolving nature of police work. The goal of the Consortium is to advance improved police practices at all levels of government.
  • The Student Bar Association (SBA) added a Director of Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement (ICCE) to the President’s Cabinet.  The role of this Director is “to assemble a diverse committee of law school stakeholders to meet and discuss the current climate of the law school and brainstorm ways to implement Section 3.3 of the school’s diversity plan.  This committee is comprised of leaders from all minority advocacy groups and meets regularly to present ideas and proposals to the SBA President to then be considered for action.  The Director maintains a list of all representative student group events and directs fellow groups to attend and co-mingle.
  • The SBA added a Director of Community Engagement position to the SBA Cabinet to direct community resources –on and off campus –to causes sponsored or supported by representative student groups.
  • The Entertainment and Sports Law Society and Latin Law Students Association hosted the LatinX Experience Series in Entertainment, Sports, and Business. The “Fire-Side” chat series focused on challenges facing minorities and how to have difficult conversations transcending into impactful conversations and meaningful changes within an organization. The executives included Francisco Rivera of NBCUniversal- Telemundo (VP of Distribution and Strategic Content), Miguel Ramos of The Minnesota Twins (Senior Director of Diversity Inclusion) and Merary Simeon of Pepsi – Latin America (Vice President of Latin Affairs – PepsiCo).
  • The Entertainment and Sports Law Society also hosted the GLO Sports and Entertainment Digital Summit and InfluenceHER Speaker Series. The catalyst for establishing the GLO Sports and Entertainment Digital Summit | InfluenceHER Speaker Series derived from wanting to create nationwide relationships with varying corporations,  highlight the diverse talent pool within the law school, and change the national narrative surrounding the State of Mississippi. The digital summit featured C-Level executives from the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Akerman LLP, and AT&T. The InfluenceHER Speaker Series featured the Women of Major League Baseball and a panel discussion titled “Skillfully Crafted For The Race.”
  • OUTLaw hosted Virtual Happy Hours every other Friday during the Fall semester, continuing through the Spring, in order to foster a safe, yet relatively unstructured environment for LGBTQ identified individuals as well as any allies to get together for community development.
  • OUTLaw Virtual Brown Bag Events are held on opposite weeks as the Happy Hours, and are more structured times when we invite guest speakers to present their areas of interest. Fall speakers included attorneys Alysson Mills and Kristen Amond, Judge Arenda Allen, and ACLU Michigan Attorney Jay Kaplan.
  • The Medgar Evers Scholarship: Professor John R. Bradley has challenged the law school community to donate $100,000 to the Medgar Evers Scholarship and he will match it dollar for dollar. The Medgar Evers Scholarship is awarded each year with preference given to students that attended a Mississippi HBCU.
  • UM law partnered with Tougaloo College for the Pathway to Law School and Beyond Initiative. The continued partnership that began in 2018 provides a framework for the two institutions to develop strategies and projects with the goal of increasing enrollment of Tougaloo graduates at the UM School of Law.
  • During the Fall 2020 New Student Orientation, we held a session called Creating True Community and Equity at UM Law. Professors Yvette Butler and Cliff Johnson led this discussion which revolved around the importance of valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion both within the law school community and as a soon-to-be practicing attorney.