Law School Headlines
Something for Everyone: IU School of Law – Indianapolis Features Diversity Week
The Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis hosted a variety of events for students as well as the public as part of its first-ever “Diversity Week,” October 5-8, 2009. The school’s Diversity Committee has been chaired by Professor María Pabón López since it was created in 2007, and Professor López was joined this year by Tamara McMillian, Associate Director of Professional Development, as co-chair. Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Matt Banker, who also serves on the committee, says the group, which is made up of faculty, staff and students, has “a dynamic collection of perspectives brought to the table.” Professor López says, “The Committee had this idea to have a week during the Fall semester when the law school community could share information and exchange ideas about the differences and similarities that we have all around us. I think Diversity Week will be useful to open the eyes of students, faculty and staff at the law school about the many faces that comprise the legal profession.” The committee also hopes the events will help build relationships between the law school and the Indianapolis community. Assistant Dean Banker adds that they are seeking to “foster a sense of inclusiveness of community members into the legal community.”
Hossein Fazilatfar is a Master of Laws (LL.M.) student who serves on the committee. He says he is looked forward to the week’s events as a way “to celebrate and share our cultures, traditions, backgrounds, thoughts and beliefs and in sum to celebrate our ‘Diversity’ which we’re all proud of.” Another law student involved in the committee, Anthony Pearson, President of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) says, “diversity is less about a person’s color and more about their perspective. A diverse legal ecosystem adds unparalleled value in the way it allows the legal community to respond to the multifaceted issues encountered by a community or company.”
The four days of events kicked off on Monday, October 5th with a Cultural Celebration Fair from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the law school’s Conour Atrium. The event, which was open to the public, featured information on many countries and cultures as well as food, music and more from around the world. The International Law Society and Master of Laws Association teamed up to present this entertaining event.
On Tuesday, October 6, Professor López organized a panel discussion on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court. Professor López was joined by alumna Ruth Rivera, ’04, an attorney with Plews Shadley Racher and Braun, as well as Professor Gerard Magliocca, who served as an intern in Justice Sotomayor’s office when she was a Federal District Court judge in New York. This event was co-sponsored by the IUPUI Latino Faculty Staff Council and took place in room 375 of the law school at 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday evening, students, faculty and the public were invited to a Poetry Slam, entitled “The Beauty of Struggle” where members of the law school community presented their original poetic compositions. Local coffee house, Mo’Joe’s, provided free coffee for this social event. The Black Law Student Association (BLSA) organized this event. BLSA also be collected school supply donations for Indy School on Wheels, an organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to homeless school-aged children.
Anthony Pearson says, “As the President of the Black Law Students Association, I view The ‘Beauty of Struggle’ Poetry Slam as an opportunity to reflect on the commonality of the struggles that we all face irrespective of our differences. The understanding that accompanies this reflection will hopefully allow us all to become better servants and leaders at home, at work, and in the community. I appreciate the efforts of the Diversity Committee and I know that the Indianapolis community, our students, faculty, and staff will be enriched by participating in Diversity Week.”
Professionals from the Human Resources office on the IUPUI campus presented a training workshop on “Diversity and Entering the Profession” on Wednesday, October 7. There were be two sessions open to law students, each limited to 50 participants per session.
Diversity Week culminated on Thursday, October 8, with a Keynote lecture by former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby, a partner at Ice Miller, LLP. Former Justice Selby, who was the first African American woman to serve on the Indiana Supreme Court , will speak on “Diversity in the Legal Profession” at 4:30 p.m. in the Wynne Courtroom. This lecture was open to the public. For more information, contact Tamara McMillian at firstname.lastname@example.org .