April 2022 Update on Georgetown Law’s Commitment to DEI
April 13, 2022
Dear Members of the Georgetown Law Community,
As we head into this very busy time of year, punctuated with many exciting milestone events and celebrations, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some updates regarding our DEI efforts. As I have shared in several previous community messages, we are taking a series of important steps towards making the Law Center a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable place for our students to learn, for our faculty to teach, and for our staff to work.
One area we have focused on is human resources and ensuring our offices are staffed appropriately to meet the needs of our community.
To that end, I am pleased to announce that Itunu Sofidiya will be our inaugural full-time RISE Program Director. For anyone unfamiliar with RISE, the program supports incoming J.D. students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in law school and the legal profession. Director Sofidiya has worked at the Law Center for a little over three years as a reference librarian and adjunct professor teaching Advanced Legal Research. As a first-generation Nigerian-American, and the first lawyer in her family, Director Sofidiya brings unique insight and passion for helping others thrive. We could not be more thrilled to have her join the RISE Program in mid-May.
As previously mentioned, we are in the process of restaffing the Office of Equity and Inclusion, based on the recommendations of the Inclusion Council. We are currently interviewing candidates for the first of those positions, the Assistant Dean for DEI. After we have filled the position, we will interview to fill several other positions in the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Under the newly structured and staffed office, we will be able to provide additional support and resources to students.
In the coming months, you will be hearing from the expert team of diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants we are working with to help us develop and successfully implement a strategic plan for the entire Law Center to increase inclusion and belonging. Your cooperation and contributions towards this effort are greatly appreciated.
I want to also share the following updates on other DEI commitments and work of the Inclusion Council:
- The Inclusion Council is hosting a workshop series for faculty this month on the topic of bias and inclusive pedagogy.
- The Inclusion Council launched an Electronic Comment Box for staff to provide anonymous (or attributed) feedback. Through the month of April, the Council is also hosting biweekly Zoom drop-in hours. These efforts are designed to ensure staff’s voices and concerns are heard and reflected in the planning for the Office of Equity and Inclusion and the formation of our long-term DEI strategic plan. Please visit the Inclusion Council’s web page for a link to the “Staff Feedback for Inclusion Council” and log-in to access the Comment Box and information on drop-in hours.
- Last month, the Law Center hosted the second discussion as part of our Inaugural Series of the Reading Race Book Club, an initiative led by Professor Robin Lenhardt. We discussed Professor Kristin Henning’s latest book, “The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth.”
- After review of Climate Survey results, the Diversity Committee is working with student facing offices to develop an impact reporting procedure designed to advance the DEI mission of those offices and enhance students’ sense of inclusion and belonging, particularly affinity groups registering disproportionately high levels of alienation. We have also made several enhancements to our Diversity & Inclusion website, including details on campus resources for students to more easily access and understand the process for filing informal reports and formal complaints with the University’s IDEAA Office and with the Law Center’s Ethics Counsel. I invite you to visit the website often for updates and expanded information.
Thank you for your continuing engagement in this important effort.
William M. Treanor
Dean & Executive Vice President
Paul Regis Dean Leadership Chair