A Note from Dean O’Rourke

Dear BU Law community,

In recent months, we at the law school have developed a protocol for when we send messages to the entire community. We did this because we know that students would often like to hear from us about current events but, at the same time, we are simply not equipped to be a news organization or constant commentators on current events. And we know of the danger of email fatigue: the more we email, the fewer who will read our communications. Under our new protocol, we will communicate on current events when BU or BU Law is implicated directly because a student, faculty or staff member or alum is involved, or when the event is one of such magnitude that it shocks the conscience or is a natural disaster that causes serious harm. Generally, when we do comment, it will be via the BU Law Facebook or Twitter accounts. At the same time, however, in light of the gravity of recent events and my desire to update you on a new committee at the law school, I decided an email would be appropriate.

Certainly, the shootings this week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas are events that shock the conscience and that occurred in areas in which many members of our community live and work. Unfortunately, there is little I can add to statements I have made in the past when similar events have occurred. I would ask a few things, however. First, please keep all who have lost their lives and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Second, let us not compound the tragedy by becoming immune to it. It is far too easy to lose hope when violence erupts again and again and again. It dishonors the victims and their memories if we fail to keep trying to put an end to senseless loss of life.

I’m writing also to let you know that as a result of our conversations last year, we have set up a Committee on Community & Inclusion, chaired by Professors Ron Wheeler and Laila Hlass and whose membership consists of Professors Lawson, Leonard, and Pita Loor and administrators Assistant Deans Liz Cerrato and Alissa Leonard and Associate Director for Diversity & Inclusion Brenda Hernandez. The Committee will be seeking input from students shortly after school starts again. Our goal is for BU Law to be a community in which the most controversial issues can be discussed from all sides civilly and respectfully, and in which we equip our students with the tools to make positive change. In that vein, a heartfelt thank you to all of our affinity groups and student organizations and Office of Student Affairs for all the events they held last year that did just that.

This is a hard time. And a contentious election season looms, adding to a feeling of great unease. It is the case that all great nations eventually decline, usually because internal forces break down the shared vision the society once held. We can ask whether the US is any different. It’s a difficult question especially in the heat of the moment when it feels as though society is coming apart at the seams. But I choose to believe that we can make a difference, we can be a better people and nation, and that we have to begin by thinking the best of people and treating everyone we meet with the respect and dignity their very existence demands. Out of small steps come great leaps forward and we all can make a difference.

I look forward to seeing you again soon. In the meantime, I wish us all reasons to hope and a renewed commitment to justice in our nation.

Maureen

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