East Coast law schools such as Rutgers University Law School and Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law are making social justice classes a graduation requirement.
In an email obtained by The Daily Wire, Rutgers Law School announced that students will be required to take a “Race Equity Graduation Requirement.” The course must focus on “content relating to structural inequality, discrimination, cultural context, or cultural competency.”
“We’ve made changes to the Law School curriculum that were proposed by our Antiracist Audit Curriculum Committee that will go into effect in the coming year,” the email from interim Dean Rose Cuison-Villazor and Dean Kimberly Mutcherson read. Cuison Villazor is also the chancellor’s “social justice scholar” and Mutcherson focuses on reproductive justice law and other activist causes.
The email said that many classes on structural inequality already exist and more teachers are committed to adding discussion about race into their classroom. Current class sections for the fall will focus on “reproductive justice, family law, criminal justice, international law, and more.”
The graduation requirements will change for incoming 1L students only. Current students are not required to take the “Race Equity Graduation Requirement,” though it is highly encouraged.
New York City’s Yeshiva University law school, which ranks as the nation’s 53rd best law school, made a similar announcement about graduation requirements. According to an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, the curriculum shift was “designed to help our students examine and understand racism in the law and throughout the legal system.”
The law school will offer four new classes on “race and law” including topics such as “Race and the Law,” “Critical Race Theory,” “Indigenous Rights in the Americas,” and “Cross-Cultural Negotiation.”
The Free Beacon reported:
The changes were spurred by the law school’s dean, Melanie Leslie, who last year was one of the several law school deans who wrote to the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which accredits law schools, “urging it to require that schools address bias, cultural awareness, and anti-racism,” the email states.
The American Bar Association has considered changing its rules to require anti-bias training. According to Campus Reform, the American Bar Association considered updating its standards to include “a new section requiring law schools to provide training and education on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism.” The change would require 1L students to undergo bias training “at the start of the program of legal education” and “at least once again before graduation.”
Other schools, such as Stanford University, have taken antiracism past the point of the classroom and developed research labs to study the effects of racism.
According to Stanford Today, the university created a Stanford Center for Racial Justice focused on developing “specific policy and research interventions that can counter the racial disparities perpetuated by school programs” and “dismantle the systemic racism and interlocking oppressions built into those educational policies and practices.”