The Diversity Task Force at the Paul M. Hebert Louisiana State University Law Center is working to raise awareness and acceptance for cultural and ethnic diversity in their program.
The Diversity Task Force has submitted recommendations to interim co-deans William Corbett and Cheney Joseph Jr. for measures to create a better understanding of diverse cultures and help minority students succeed in the program.
Those recommendations include, but are not limited to creating a student handbook, updating the student code of conduct, recruiting diverse practitioners and scholars to participate in Law Center activities, and encouraging diversity through the hiring of adjuncts. The Diversity Task Force also hopes to promote the Law Center’s diversity statement.
Professor John Church is the senior faculty member on the task force. He told the Louisiana Record there were several things that promoted the notion the school could do better at promoting its programs. He said the task force is fighting for inclusiveness in the program.
“From a legal perspective, I think it’s very important to realize this is an important part of being a professional,” Church told the Record. “That treating people with dignity and respect–and recognizing differences and treating them as something that’s valued in our country–is something we should all do. It’s part of being a lawyer.”
The formative years of law school help shape the kind of professional and lawyer a student becomes, Church said. He said he hopes the task force ensures students in his program are aware of differences and able to embrace them.
“If we can at least open their eyes to some of these issues they’re inevitably going to encounter when they leave this place, we hope that it will make better professionals,” Church said.
The Diversity Task Force was created in October 2014 and is comprised of faculty, students, alumni and community leaders.
Faculty members at the LSU Law Center currently are considering each of the task force’s recommendations. The next step will be implementation.
“I hope that we pay more attention to it,” Church told the Record. “I hope it’s something that becomes a real value, that becomes a part of our every fiber at the law school.”