A Message to the BU Law Community

Dear BU Law Community,

Two weeks ago I wrote to you in the midst of the terror attacks to reassure you that we were reaching out to offer assistance to our students studying abroad in Paris as well as the French nationals in our student body here. I am grateful to be able to report that all of our students were physically unharmed. Unfortunately, acts of terror, large and small, and other vile acts, including racism, occur too often to address each one by email. (We also send our sympathies to the nation of Mali on the heels of the attack that that country just experienced.)

Still, though, I thought it appropriate to write once again – this time out of a deep sense of frustration, anger, and disbelief after the events at Harvard Law School, occurring almost simultaneously with the release of the video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald, and on the heels of racist incidents at the University of Missouri. I simply just can’t wrap my mind around how these things continue to happen in the United States of America in 2015.

Doubtlessly, the causes are complex, and we will have a discussion about them. I, perhaps like some of you, however, need to figure out how to channel my anger and words into concrete action instead of expressing regret and returning to business as usual. In particular, we can work harder to make our little piece of the world here at BU Law a welcoming environment for all of our community – students, faculty and staff.

Toward that end, we are continuing critical conversations throughout the school year. During the fall semester, the EEOC coordinator for the university spoke to the faculty regarding our Title IX obligations. Additionally, the head of the Employee-Staff Assistance program spoke to the faculty about how to recognize distress (whatever its source) in our community. I am reaching out to Dean Martha Minow at Harvard Law School to express my concern and to offer any support I can give.

Next semester, our alum, Martha Coakley, will be offering a seminar on community policing, and we will be giving the faculty a presentation on multi-cultural awareness. On November 30, we will host a community gathering open to faculty, staff, and students as a starting point for a conversation about how events at home and abroad affect each one of us. It will be held from 1-2 p.m. in Barristers Hall.

Please don’t lose heart – I well understand how easy that is to do. We won’t be able to defeat racism. What we can do is educate each other and treat each other with kindness and respect. Hearts and minds change one person, one moment, at a time.

This week, I sent out an upbeat Thanksgiving greeting to our community, and tomorrow we will celebrate the holiday. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the state of the world. It does mean that I think it’s important that we all take time now and then to find joy in life, and to reflect on the many blessings that we have received. We can use that time to think about how to move forward with a renewed energy and commitment not just to the rule of law but also to standing up for what’s right.

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *