Faculty Repudiates Racism

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Faculty Resolution

WHEREAS, the history of the United States is steeped in racial animus, prejudice, and the subjugation and enslavement of people of color; and

WHEREAS, that legacy manifests today in the form of the mass incarceration of persons of color, race-based disparities in health, income, political power, wealth, and education, and other manifestations of structural racism; and

WHEREAS, our judicial system has contributed to the maintenance of racism and failed to uniformly hold accountable those who engage in vigilante violence and racial oppression; and

WHEREAS, Black Americans and members of other systemically disempowered communities have been subjected with impunity to a long-standing pattern of brutality, excessive use of force, and brazen disregard of their lives; and

WHEREAS, ongoing tolerance of institutional racism has resulted in the killings of countless Black Americans and members of other systemically disempowered communities – some whose names are familiar, most whose names remain unknown; and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge the importance of saying the names of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Mr. Antwon Rose II, and all of the men, women, and non-binary persons who should still be with us today; and

WHEREAS, these and other manifestations of racial injustice breach the promise of equal justice under law and undermine the rule of law itself; and

WHEREAS, our profession as lawyers, scholars, and educators requires that we engage in naming racial injustice and in the daily work of being anti-racist; and

WHEREAS, our role as mentors and colleagues compels us to address and empathize with the spectrum of emotions ravaging our students, faculty, staff, alumnae and their families in response to extrajudicial killings: from pain, anger, and frustration to grief, numbness, and depression; and

WHEREAS, our relative privilege necessitates that we act in solidarity with those who the structure of our racist society attempts to disempower and render invisible, engaging in their struggle as true allies; and

WHEREAS, our humanity obliges us to resist apathy, accepting nothing short of an embodied commitment to the eradication of all forms of oppression; and

WHEREAS, we are a diverse body – yet, on the matter of opposing racism, we speak with one voice;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that this faculty repudiates racism in all its forms. We acknowledge our responsibility, individually and collectively, to identify, challenge, and condemn structural inequity however it may manifest. We hold ourselves accountable for engaging in both the inward-focused and outward-facing work of dismantling the systems of oppression that perpetuate racial inequities in our society and in our community. We strive to learn as we teach, listening to and amplifying the voices of those who are marginalized. As part of our duty to ensure access to justice and uphold the rule of law, we endeavor to innovate and champion efforts to reform our legal institutions.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this resolution be preserved in the records and minutes of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Faculty and prominently displayed on the Pitt Law website.

Adopted this 8th day of June, 2020, by unanimous vote