COVID-19 Response

Learn how Pitt Law is building a healthy and resilient community

Please Note: The University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Barco Library is OPEN during regular library hours for Pitt Law faculty and students only.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are not open to Pitt users outside of Pitt Law; and we are not open to the public. If you have questions, please contact the reference desk at 412-648-1325 or barcoref@pitt.edu

Office of Equity & Inclusive Excellence (established October 2018)

APALSA & Pitt OEIE Community Dialogue: Anti-Asian Bias, Harassment, & Violence Discussion Take-Aways

On Thursday, April 8th, the OEIE and APALSA co-sponsored a moving and thoughtful community dialogue on anti-Asian racism, bias, and harassment. If you were unable to join us, be sure to check out the attached discussion board from the event (which is hyperlinked to the title of this post).

OEIE Microaggression Tracking Tool

An academic culture can be described as inclusive when learners feel welcome and supported within both the law school and the communities that are an integral part of the law school. Microaggressions can undermine a spirit of inclusion. 

What are microaggressions? A communication that conveys indirect, subtle, or unconscious messaging that marginalizes or derides one or more identities of the communication’s subject.

Under the First Amendment, protected speech cannot be prescribed or punished.  This means that using inclusive language must be a choice. As the Pitt Law community strives for inclusive excellence, we recognize the importance of understanding this term, acknowledging when we might have engaged in these actions, and choosing to adopt habits aimed at preventing the harms caused by microaggressions.

Have I perpetuated a microaggression? Just like we all harbor various prejudices, we've all probably subjected someone to a microaggression at some point in life, most likely in an unintentional or at least unconscious manner. 

Have I experienced a microaggression? Communications that can be classified as microaggressions are frequently experienced differently by the speaker and the listener. You are the best judge as to whether or not a comment or question directed at you amounts to a microaggression.

If you have experienced a microaggression from a member of the Pitt Law Community, or while attending a class or event through Pitt Law, consider documenting the interaction through the OEIE Microaggression Tracking Tool.

The OEIE Microaggression Tracking Tool is a support resource meant to empower members of the Pitt Law community who have experienced microaggressions by providing a forum to document their experiences.  Please note that while you may report anonymously, information disclosed through the OEIE Microaggression Tracking Tool is not confidential. By providing information through the tracking tool, you consent to this information being shared with persons and departments within Pitt Law or the University of Pittsburgh, as appropriate, and waive any rights under FERPA or any other applicable law as to the information you choose to disclose.  While interactions disclosed through the tracking tool may not result in any direct administrative action, the content shared helps the OEIE better understand the law school’s social climate and provide support, as appropriate.

If you have been subjected to threats, harassment or an assault; or if you are in an unsafe situation, please contact the University of Pittsburgh Police at 412-624-2121.  If you are in immediate danger, call 911.   

If you are in a safe situation and have been subjected to any discriminatory treatment that might constitute a violation of University policy, please consider reporting the matter to the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (see: https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/civil-rights-title-ix/make-report).  

For additional information or support, you may also contact Dean of Students, Allie Linsenmeyer: alinsenmeyer@pitt.edu

Inaugural Equity & Inclusion "Achieving Excellence" Speaker Alicia Garza and #BLM movement leader says ‘dignity and survival’ at heart of activism

In a virtual panel discussion on April 1st, hosted by Pitt Law's Office of Equity & Inclusive Excellence, Alicia Gara told Pitt Law students she was determined to "interrupt that which is unconsciousable and to make a new way, forge a new path, leaving behind the limited options that have been placed in front of us."  During the inaugural event for Pitt Law’s Achieving Excellence Speaker Series, Garza discussed how her work as an activist, organizer and political strategist began and gave Pitt Law students advice for organizing protest movements.

After Garza spoke, students and attendees asked her more about the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement and what advice she had for aspiring organizers. Garza said that while the organization is young, the fight for freedom has been around for centuries since the first Black people were brought to the U.S. as enslaved people. And the phrase Black Lives Matter was born from a Facebook post that went viral. Garza said she didn’t think her post would have such an impact. “You know something is a movement when people take ownership of it,” Garza said. “It’s far, far beyond us now. And I’m proud to live in, like the tiniest piece of something so big and so incredible.” Garza also talked about her new book, “The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart,” which also served as the title of the event.

Yemi Olaiya - Featured profile for the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity & Inclusion Coalition (PLDIC) The Bridge newsletter

Pitt Law student, Yemi Olaiya, is featured in the PLDIC's February 17th edition of the newsletter "The Bridge".  Yemi shares information about herself including "I am passionate about social justice and seeing the world become an equitable place for all its inhabitants. Serving some of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our society is my most current goal and what I plan to do after law school".  In addition, Yemi shares what Black History Month means to her, what she finds inspirational about Black History Month and wisdom regarding advice that she would give to a young African American law student starting out in their career and advice for legal employers regarding how to make workplaces welcoming and supportive for Black lawyers.

Community Fund for Black Bar Applicants

Mission:  The Community Fund for Black Bar Applicants was founded by Octavia Carson, JD, a 2020 law school graduate. The intent is to provide at least $500 to 100 Black bar exam applicants across the U.S. each year. This mission stems from a goal to diversify the legal profession and raise the percentage of Black attorneys in the U.S. from 5% to 20% by 2024.

Eligibility and Process: One is eligible to apply if they identify as Black, African American or Pan African and if they are preparing to take a bar exam in the U.S. in 2021. Each time $500 is raised, it is donated to the first person currently in line to receive a donation. One can apply multiple times and may be moved to the end of the list once they receive their first donation.

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