February 11, 2022

Dear Members of the Georgetown Law Community,

Late last night I was made aware of an incident yesterday involving a professor using a derogatory term in the classroom that is demeaning and hurtful. This term is a slur with a centuries-long history of harm to Asian people. I met with student leaders from APALSA and the Georgetown China Law Society today and remain committed to having an open and honest dialogue about this incident. The faculty member has expressed his commitment to that dialogue and has issued a sincere apology to his class.

As a community of students, staff, and faculty we must take a serious look at our culture, structure, systems, and processes to ensure that we are a community that fosters respect, equity, and justice. We have significant work ahead of us to create a community in which students can learn in an environment that is free from bias, where they are able to foster positive connections with others, and where everyone feels supported and appreciated for their contributions.

I recently created the Inclusion Council to help advance that important work. This Council, headed by Professor Sheila Foster, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, and Dean Everett Bellamy, Interim Director of Equity and Inclusion, comprises students, staff, faculty, and alumni. It has already reimagined and made recommendations for the future structure of our Office of Equity and Inclusion. That Office will be staffed by three new positions, which will ultimately enable us to better serve our community. The Inclusion Council is also in the process of developing and putting in place a strategic plan for the entire Law Center. I will be able to share more details on that plan in the coming months.

We are also working to design an approach to inclusive pedagogy for all faculty. We have already conducted several trainings and will host workshops this Spring for faculty that will incorporate feedback from students.

I very much appreciate all the hard work that students, staff, faculty, and alumni are putting into these initiatives. I welcome your input on any of them, and on what additional steps the Law Center can take to ensure a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus environment for all.

Bill Treanor