Sheldon Evans with law students

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

A Call to Action

This past June, as protesters across the country demanded justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black Americans, close to 300 members of the St. John’s Law community came together for a virtual Dialogue Day organized by the student-run Coalition for Social Justice and Black Law Students Association, along with co-sponsoring student organizations and our Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights.

The program’s theme was clear and direct: No More Talking, What Are We Going to Do?

St. John’s Law was built on a foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Since opening our doors nearly a century ago, we’ve provided a first-rate legal education to a diverse student body—including many students from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities—in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

But institutions aren’t static. They must evolve. As Dean Michael A. Simons shared widely before and after the June Dialogue Day, that milestone event was a call to action in solidarity with our Black students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It was also a catalyzing moment for St. John’s Law, as we commit to being an ardently and actively anti-racist institution and a community that embraces, prioritizes, and reflects the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

From the Dean

“This is a moment of real pain—pain that is felt most acutely by our Black colleagues and Black students. I don’t pretend to have the authority to speak about that pain. But I do know that, as a teaching-and-learning community, it is our responsibility to care for each other, to be with each other, to learn from each other, to love each other. To bear each other’s pain and lift each other up.” – Dean Michael A. Simons, June 1, 2020

Read Dean Simons’ June 1, 2020 message

Read Dean Simons’ June 5, 2020 message
 



Students Take the Lead

Student Organizations
The Law School’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is reflected in, and carried by, a range of student-run affinity organizations. Students also support diversity, equity, and inclusion at St. John’s Law as members of the Dean’s Advisory Council.

Student Affinity Groups

Dean's Advisory Council Student Members

During the June Dialogue Day, the student affinity groups and a number of other student organizations presented their commitments—events, petitions, fundraisers, committees, speakers, outreach, research, and more—to making St. John’s Law an actively anti-racist institution and combatting injustice in its many forms. Their pledges of support are now the pillars of an action plan that the Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ) is coordinating and memorializing in a series of publications:

The Contract
In early September, the CSJ published the St. John's University School of Law Student Organization Commitment to Racial Justice and Solidarity with Marginalized Communities (the Contract). It documents participating student organizations’ commitments to a general set of obligations, including organizational changes. The Contract also shares each organization’s pledge to individual, specifically tailored, year-to-year obligations.

Read the Contract

SjuCsj.org
In late September, the CSJ launched its new website, SjuCsj.org. With robust features, including a blog and a forum for dialogue, the site furthers the CSJ’s mission of providing an open and inclusive platform and outlet for St. John’s Law students and others to learn about, and advocate for, the broad spectrum of social justice issues. It took only three months for the project to go from concept to reality.

Read about the site launch

The Full Report
For its next document project, the CSJ will publish a report on the evolution of student organization activity from the June Dialogue Day to the start of the Fall 2020 semester (the Full Report). Among other things, the Report encapsulates the moment that was June for the Law School community, reflecting on the work done thus far, projecting what will come next, commenting on what still needs to improve, and providing a model for other law schools to follow.
 



Our Faculty

We’re proud to have a faculty that reflects our diverse and inclusive Law School community. They are dedicated educators whose doors are always open to our students. And they are notable legal scholars and clinicians who are deeply committed to exploring and addressing issues of real-world significance and impact, including today’s most pressing social justice, racial justice, civil rights, and human rights matters.

Our Diverse Faculty

Faculty Diversity Committee
 



Career Development

Our Career Development Office (CDO) counselors are there from day one to help students identify and pursue right-fit opportunities. CDO hosts a variety of programs designed to increase employment opportunities for students from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities and backgrounds. 

There are a number of diversity and inclusion internships and fellowships available to St. John’s Law students, including offerings from the:

  • New York City Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Long Island Hispanic Bar Association
  • Amistad Bar Association

And our students are often selected to participate in exclusive internships and externships in corporate, public interest, and governmental positions. 
 



Events & Programs

Throughout the year, we host a wide array of events and programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the St. John's Law community and that further our commitment to being an anti-racist institution. Here's just a sampling of those offerings:

Faculty Workshop Series
Our annual Hon. Edward D. Re Faculty Workshop Series brings scholars from across the country together to discuss their current research and receive feedback on their works-in-progress from our faculty. 

This year’s Workshop Series features scholarship related to race, racism, and anti-racism across a host of domains. The presenters will focus on racial justice and racial empowerment issues—particularly those most affecting, experienced by, or relevant to Black people in America.

First Friday Book Club
Led by Professors Cheryl L. Wade  and Sheldon A. Evans, our new First Friday Book Club challenges preconceived notions and inspires newfound depth in understanding as participants discuss books by African American authors that explore some of the most impactful issues of our time, including:

  • Racial justice 
  • Racial awareness 
  • Social change 

With unique insight into the racial caste system suffered in America and across the African Diaspora, and through their literary prowess, the authors express messages to the Black community and to those in power that seek to understand the Black experience and how to change it.
 



Our Stories

We’re proud to share stories reflecting the Law School’s longtime and deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You’ll find them on our website, in our official social media feeds, in our print magazine, and in a special digital compilation, Diverse Voices @ St. John’s Law.

Website 
Read our stories online

Social Media
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn

Diverse Voices @ St. John’s Law
Read the compilation

St. John’s Law Magazine
For the Fall 2020 issue of St. John’s Law magazine, we’re pleased to present a special digital edition:

The Anti-Racism Essay Project

Written by students, alumni, faculty, and staff, the 20 essays presented here offer a curated collection of perspectives that, individually and collectively, aim to move our Law School, our community, and our profession forward in solidarity as we work to be actively anti-racist and to combat injustice in all its forms.

This special digital issue of the magazine has a permanent home at stjohnslawseeinfra.com, our online hub for sharing news and stories from St. John's Law.  

St. John's Law Magazine

 

Read past issues of St. John's Law Magazine