Office of Equity & Inclusive Excellence

Pitt Law is not directly governed by the OMB memo issued on Friday, September 4, 2020, or the Executive Order issued on September 24, 2020, nor is either document consistent with our core values and the goals we have identified for the education we provide. We continue to embrace and support efforts to end institutional racism and sexism, and remain steadfastly committed to ensuring that our society lives up to its obligation of providing equal justice under law.

Established in fall of 2018, the vision guiding the operation of this office is Equity and Inclusive Excellence.

* Equity is structural. Our vision of an equitable law school is realized when institutional barriers to fulfilling one’s potential as a law student are removed or accommodated for

Inclusion is cultural. An academic culture can be described as inclusive when learners feel welcome and supported within both the law school and the communities the school is integral to

The mission of the OEIE is:

* To identify and remove or accommodate for structural barriers to students accessing opportunities available through the law school.

* To develop, discuss, and model the habits of inclusion that will support student and faculty efforts to bring about an inclusive campus community.

* To engage with external contacts to enrich students’ regional and professional connections.

Participate in the OEIE Student Advisory Council this semester!

OEIE Student Advisory Council

1.0 CR         Thursdays, 3:40 – 5pm (beginning 9/3)            Via Zoom/Canvas

Max enrollment for credit: 12 students (but every interested student may participate as an observer)

In response to the events of the Summer of 2020, the Office of Equity and Inclusive Excellence’s Student Advisory Council has been given a specific charge: to develop guidelines and processes for both when a student applies with troubling issues in their past, as well as when it is discovered that a student who is already part of the law school has done something troubling in the past.

Successful execution of this charge will involve legal research and analysis of the parameters surrounding the freedom of expression and permissible standards for graduate school admission. Students will examine and  critique the social and cultural norms surrounding call-out culture, diversity and inclusion standards, as well as those pertaining to the legal profession. Because this group will discuss help define the standards for entering and for remaining a part of the Pitt Law community, participants must be able to demonstrate civility in dialogue across forums and competency in collaborative problem-solving.

Participation in the Student Advisory Council for credit involves the completion of all 12 Canvas Modules, attendance at all 12 Council zoom meetings, and substantive written contribution to the final recommendation of the Council to the Law School Administration. If you are seeking credit, you must register before the end of the add/drop period on Friday, August 28, 2020.

While the opportunity to earn credit for full participation in the Student Advisory Council is limited to the first 12 registrants, any interested JD students can participate in the Canvas modules and attend the Council’s zoom meetings. Please contact Dean Pierson-Brown at tnb25@pitt.edu to make this arrangement.

 

Dear Pitt Law Community,

The current events throughout our nation, and now even worldwide, in response to the recent killings as a result of police brutality and racial vigilante violence are beyond disturbing. Being black in America should not be a death sentence. We hear these words stated by every day well-intentioned folks, as well as decision- and policy-makers. Yet, all too often, we hear and see that it can be. This is part of why we say “Black lives matter”.  Institutional racism and white supremist attitudes reflect utter disregard for the humanity of black individuals.

Protest in response to the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, among far too many others, is an expression of grief and anger, as well as a voice raised to those in power who continue to ignore calls for just reform. Whether taking to the streets or taking a knee, the pain of this moment must be expressed. Individuals who challenge or disdain such reactions to the reality of racism must reflect, as Bernice King stated, on whether, “you are more devoted to order than to justice, and more passionate about an anthem that supposedly symbolizes freedom than you are about a Black man’s freedom to live.” 

Pitt Law’s Office of Equity and Inclusive Excellence stands in solidarity with the families of those who have lost loved ones due to vigilante racial violence or excessive use of force by police.  The OEIE further serves the law school community as a resource for discussion on why institutional disregard for black life is an issue that adversely affects us all; for resources on how you can get involved in the fight for equal justice and anti-racism; and for information to learn more about the entwined history of race and law in the United States. If you missed today’s community dialogue, we invite you to join in the conversation by participating in OEIE virtual office hours: Thursdays from noon-1pm, beginning June 4th

Sincere regards,

The Office of Equity and Inclusive Excellence


Action Plan in Response to Pitt Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Request for Initiatives


Pitt Law Credo

  • INCLUSION: We strive to create an environment where persons of differing backgrounds are welcomed, where different perspectives are respectfully voiced and respectfully heard and where every individual is valued & included.
  • CIVILITY: We treat people with unconditional respect and an assumption of good faith, giving meaningful consideration to the ideas, beliefs, and feelings of others as a matter of professionalism and self-discipline.
  • INTELLECTUAL RIGOR: We challenge ourselves and others to critically examine facts and ideas meticulously and from diverse perspectives.
  • JUSTICE: We strive to attain equal justice under law, and to assure that justice benefits everyone across our society.

 

Reference Materials

University Support Resources

Contact

Tomar Pierson-BrownTomar Pierson-Brown
Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusive Excellence
Barco Room #422C | tnb25@pitt.edu
Vincent JohnsonVincent O. Johnson
Director of Equity & Inclusive Excllence 
Barco Room #312 | vij14@pitt.edu