From the Dean: Diversity and Inclusion at Berkeley Law

By Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law

Diversity and inclusion are integral to every aspect of Berkeley Law. Our tremendous diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and we must continue to aggressively pursue it — in our student body, our staff, and our faculty — in terms of race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and ideology. At the same time we must stress inclusion, and be a community where every student, staff member, and faculty member can thrive.

At this important moment in American history, as the nation is in a long overdue reckoning with racism, we must be an anti-racist institution. We must confront and recognize the long history of racism in the United States, which permeates the law and legal institutions, and we must be aggressive in helping to find solutions to making this a more equal and just society.

The importance of this for Berkeley Law cannot be overstated. As a law school, our preeminent purposes are preparing students for law practice at the highest levels of the profession, producing scholarship that will improve the law, and serving the community and society. All of these missions require that we emphasize diversity and inclusion.

We must prepare our students to serve a diverse society and to have the tools to improve it. To succeed, we must be a place where all ideas can be expressed and discussed. We must, through our research and scholarship, help point the way forward to a fairer society. We must, in light of our vital public mission, work to fight racism and work for justice and equality in our community, our nation, and the world.

We, as a law school, have a special role and responsibility to play in ensuring justice. We must loudly condemn the racism that permeates our society. We must express solidarity with our students, staff, and faculty of color. We must speak out against the great economic inequalities, especially along racial lines, in our society. We must provide education on these issues within Berkeley Law and to the broader community. We must work hard for solutions, through the law and the legal system, to these deep-seated problems. Law has been vital in progress towards racial justice and law remains the most powerful tool for social change.

Our knowledge, our tools, and our privilege impose on us an obligation to study and learn, but also to act. And we must echo the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

There is so much being done at Berkeley Law to achieve these goals. This website seeks to bring them together and to describe the many efforts being undertaken throughout the Law School. But there is so much more to do, and that must be our goal in the months and years ahead.