To our Colorado Law Community,
As many of you are aware, recently an ofrenda displayed in our building in honor of Día de los Muertos was dismantled by law school employees and members of the school leadership team. The dismantling caused substantial hurt and harm. I want to start by deeply apologizing to the LatinX Law Students Association (LLSA), which organized the sharing of this tradition at the law school. I also apologize to members of our community who contributed offerings, and to all who were upset.
In addition, I want to be completely clear that this removal occurred as a result of a series of errors made by us as an institution; this was our failing. We owe our students better, and we intend to do better. It is evident to me that there were a number of missteps, and an opportunity to have avoided the harm. I met with LLSA students this afternoon to apologize directly to them. I appreciate these students’ willingness to discuss this matter with me; the grace they displayed in the face of such hurt is a model for all of us. I look forward to making sure this tradition is properly observed at Colorado Law in the future. I also met with the staff involved, who now understand the impact of the decisions made yesterday and extend their apologies. We are reviewing our events management practices to ensure any cultural display or event at Colorado Law in the future is handled with respect and dignity.
Beyond offering regrets, I wish to ask that we come together with members of the entire law school community to determine ways that we can become more knowledgeable about and better supportive of law school events and activities, especially those with particular cultural significance. It is not enough for the law school to talk about how it values diversity; we have to live those values.
With sincere regards,
Dean and Provost’s Professor of Law
University of Colorado Law School