August 27, 2020
On Thursday, August 20, the faculty of the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law unanimously passed a resolution, linked here, declaring “unequivocally” that “Black Lives Matter” and that the law school will actively work “to become and remain an antiracist institution.”
The resolution explains that structural racism and explicit and implicit bias have existed since the foundation of our nation and that the effects of these forces are manifest to this day in all facets of our society, including the two that intersect with McGeorge, law and higher education. In particular, the resolution explains that that our legal system “operates in myriad ways that preference white people and disadvantage people of color” and that higher education institutions have “failed to create environments that sufficiently nurture the talents and intellects of our faculty, staff, and students of color and instead cause them pain.” Importantly, the resolution states that the “McGeorge faculty recognizes that, given the pervasiveness of racial injustice, our continued inaction and silence would be a ratification of that injustice.”
The faculty proposal accompanying the resolution references a wide-ranging set of new projects that will be the hallmarks of this effort for the next few years. Those initiatives include: a diversity audit of every facet of the law school’s operations to identify opportunities for improvement; changes to the law school’s student evaluation of teaching and faculty self-evaluation forms to include questions about the extent to which faculty members create inclusive, antiracist classrooms; new faculty and staff antiracist training programs; a new curricular initiative focused on racial justice and equity that will serve as a feeder to the law school’s Legislative and Policy Legal Clinic; new diversity-focused fundraising projects; and plans for prioritizing diversity in faculty and staff recruitment, hiring, and support. Additionally, the faculty will be considering the creation or modification of courses and course coverage to focus on racial justice issues.
McGeorge’s student population is quite diverse. This fall’s entering class, for example, which has the law school’s strongest median LSAT and median undergraduate GPA of any McGeorge entering class over the past six years, is 45% students of color and 58% women. McGeorge’s entering classes for the past several years have hovered around 40% students of color. While these raw numbers are worth noting, the resolution embraces an obligation to ensure that the experiences our students, faculty and staff have while they are at McGeorge nurture their professional growth and support their well-being.
The Faculty Resolution has been endorsed by the law school’s staff and administration and by the law school’s five boards: Alumni, Capital, Dean’s Cabinet, Diversity, and International.