This post was written by Matthew Michael, a 3L who is director of diversity and inclusion for the SBA.
This semester, the UB School of Law’s Student Bar Association launched a Diversity Council. The Council will strive to create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration and increase the cultural competency within our law school. Our goal will be to support our student body as we work with administration, faculty and staff to embed a culture of inclusivity within the law school.
The Diversity Council is a space where students can bring not only their complaints or concerns, but also ideas and solutions. It’s a space that will strive to be not just reactive but proactive. Further, the Council will celebrate the diversity that exists at the law school and highlight initiatives in place that foster an inclusive community.
The Council comprises 13 student representatives. These students represent about nine diverse student organizations and the at-large student body. SBA President Harita Joshi and I have worked hard to get the project going. This could not have been done without the support of law school administrators such as Mark Bell, Jernee Bramble, Dean Vicki Schultz and Dean Paul Manrique, who are heavily involved with the Council’s activities.
Currently, student representatives have been collaborating with Dean Schultz and Dean Manrique to create a diversity climate survey at the law school. This survey will be designed to engage the student body by asking about their perceptions of how the law school supports diversity and equity, and their experiences with discrimination and harassment at the institution. Ultimately, the survey will serve as a baseline of how students truly feel, which will develop a better understanding of the current culture.
We are busy planning programming for the spring that we will announce soon, but our current focus is to use this semester to engage with the student body as much as possible. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to engaging with you on this important topic.