"As educators of future lawyers who will have important roles in society that will inevitably bear on issues of equality and racial justice, and with our public service mission, we have a special obligation to work to embed anti-racism in the legal education we provide, and to confront racism and inequality in society in every way we can."Dean S. James Anaya

Read Dean Anaya's Announcement

In July 2020 University of Colorado Law School Dean S. James Anaya announced a comprehensive new initiative to confront racism and its persistent effects around us, and to advance the representation and genuine welcoming of Black people and other marginalized groups within the University of Colorado Law School community and the legal profession.

Through a range of programs and actions, the Anti-Racism and Representation Initiative promotes bold, practical, and effective steps to confront racism and advance greater inclusion. This page will be updated continuously over the next year based on progress.

To act with necessary immediacy, Dean Anaya has pledged to allocate to the initiative all gifts to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence over the next year. These gifts will support scholarships, efforts to improve the recruitment of and climate for Black students and other students from marginalized groups, and a wide range of programs and actions to address racism and its ongoing effects.

University of Colorado Law School Dean's Anti-Racism and Representation Initiative

An anti-racism agenda

1. Build awareness about racism and its manifestations, as a foundation for a genuinely inclusive environment, for providing a high-level legal education to all our students, and for anti-racist action

Generate opportunities for discussion about race in society and its continuing legacies

Work to eliminate racially insensitive behavior and microaggressions within the law school community

Provide training on

- Race and cultural competence, and on how to constructively discuss such issues
- Implicit bias, how it works in relevant decision-making, and how to eliminate it

2. Promote anti-racist pedagogy and curriculum, to equip our students with necessary knowledge about racism in society, the experiences of people of color, racism’s relation to the law, and law’s tools for combating racism

Encourage and provide resources for instructors to enhance inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives related to material being taught, and to engage critically with the issues of race and inequality that are imbedded in most courses

Establish and seek funding for a chair or professorship on critical race theory or related subject about the role of race in the law and society

Building on existing courses, develop a unified curriculum and propose to the faculty a certificate on civil rights and racial justice

Propose to the faculty a graduation requirement of completing a course, independent study, or prescribed readings on diversity and race

3. Combat racism and its effects through our public service and community engagement

Strengthen support for public service projects of law school clinics and programs that combat racism, including, but not limited to:

- The Korey Wise Innocence Project to assist wrongly convicted individuals, who in a significant number of cases were wrongly convicted because of racism in the justice system
- Programming of the Getches-Wilkinson Center to address environmental racism and climate justice for persons of color
- The Byron White Center’s work to address social justice issues related to racism in democratic processes
- The Silicon Flatiron Center’s work to advance greater inclusion of persons of color in technology law and policy
- The American Indian Law Program’s project to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, and the American Indian Law Clinic’s projects to advance redress for historical and ongoing injustices
- The Immigration and Citizenship Law Program’s work to support immigrants
- Law clinical work to support immigrants and advance racial justice

Sponsor a series of public lectures on racism and the law

Establish and seek funding for a lectureship for an annual speaker on a topic related to racism

4. Adopt symbols of inclusion and commitment to anti-racism

Promote resolutions by the faculty and staff recognizing the destructive role of racism in legal and other educational institutions historically, committing to combat racism and advance equality as an institution and individually in all opportunity to do so, and committing to continually work toward being a law school that is itself free from the vestiges of racism and inequality

With student, staff, and faculty input, work to name law school spaces after, or to include portraits in our spaces of, individuals whose lives were devoted to combatting racism

Advance a practice of acknowledging the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples as the original inhabitants of the land on which the law school is located, at the beginning of all law school-sponsored public gatherings

An agenda for increasing representation

5. Review and improve our recruitment of and climate for students from communities that have historically been subjected to racism and are underrepresented in legal education and the legal profession

Further develop and formalize a student recruitment plan that identifies Black and other underrepresented undergraduate student populations across the country and methods of engaging them effectively

Evaluate our admissions procedures and make necessary adjustment to ensure that they are equitable and conducive to generating greater representation of Black and other students of color

Work to secure adequate funding for Leaders in Law and Community (LILAC) and other scholarship programs to enhance access for students from underrepresented groups to a Colorado Law education

Develop a summer program to provide admitted students of color and others an introduction to the law and legal education, thereby enhancing their capacity to succeed in law school

Develop a program of outreach to high school and undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to build pipelines to law school

Work to enhance financial and other support for the Black Law Students Association, the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Latinx Law Students Association, and the Native American Law Students Association

Enhance academic and other support resources to meet the specific needs of students of color and enhance their capacity for success

Promote and sponsor events that educate about and celebrate the cultures, contributions, and aspirations of the diverse communities represented at the law school, and that in doing so generate greater inclusion of students of color in the life and identity of our community

6. Increase the representation of international students, including through our graduate programs and student exchanges

Generate greater understanding that the international students at the law school provide opportunities for exposure to different cultural backgrounds and that the exposure enhances cross-cultural competency within our community

Develop and fund a scholarship program specific to international students who are from groups that are underrepresented and marginalized in their own countries

7. Update and enhance our faculty and staff hiring, promotion, and mentoring practices, to achieve greater representation and retention of Black individuals and others from underrepresented groups, and thereby be more inclusive of experiences and perspectives related to race and disadvantage, and with that strengthen our ability to adequately deliver on our educational and public service missions.

Further develop and formalize strategies and procedures for developing applicant pools inclusive of those from communities that have been subjected to racism and are underrepresented in legal education and the legal profession

Ensure that all those involved in employment decisions, including appointments committee members and faculty voting on hires, complete implicit bias training mandated by the CU Boulder campus

Review and ensure that the criteria and methodology for hiring, evaluation, and promotion, both formal and informal, do not discriminate against or disadvantage, either intentionally or in effect, persons from underrepresented groups

Establish and seek funding for new chairs or professorships that could attract or help retain faculty members from underrepresented groups

Strengthen mentoring and professional development practices to better cultivate and retain faculty and staff members from underrepresented groups, and advance for them opportunities for leadership

8. Work to increase representation of people of color in law school events, which will increase the quality and social impact of the events

Develop a checklist of steps for organizers of events to take to ensure that events are welcoming to and attract the participation of people from diverse backgrounds

Develop guidance for event organizers to encourage and assist them to be inclusive in selecting speakers and panelists

9. Promote greater representation of people of color in the legal profession, which is required for the profession to reflect, and hence as a whole be more responsive to, the entirety of the diverse community it serves 

Develop and communicate to potential employers expectations and best practices for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and retaining Black and other students and graduates of color

Work to expand and improve legal employer participation in the Colorado Pledge to Diversity, by which legal employers commit to hire students of color and other students from underrepresented backgrounds for the summer after the 1L year

Encourage and help guide legal employers’ efforts to develop internships or fellowship programs for students from underrepresented groups

Strengthen collaboration with the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and other existing initiatives to advance greater diversity in the legal profession

Fund the Career Development Office to support attendance by students of color at job fairs and similar opportunities throughout the country