Strategic Plan for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

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

DEI Strategic Plan Progress Updates

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.