Photograph: Students and supporters marching for racial justice.

Anti-Racist Resolution Adopted by the Washburn Law Faculty, June 8, 2020


WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the incessant, systemic, and perpetual racial and societal injustices in this country, which have been passed on from generation to generation; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes that these injustices have existed since the original sin of slavery and been furthered by Jim Crow laws and the unequal treatment of Black persons in our judicial system; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the vital role played by the Washburn-educated lawyers who represented the plaintiffs in the landmark civil rights case, Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, and that Washburn Law continues to stand against racial injustice; and

WHEREAS, the faculty especially notes and is appalled by the numerous killings that have been committed against Black persons under the color of law; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the lack of accountability for these injustices; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the senseless brutality being committed by too many of those employed to serve and protect who are operating under a pattern, practice, and culture fostering unequal treatment; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes that the unequal brutality and extrajudicial killings defy U.S. constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection, and undermine the citizenry’s general welfare; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the need to have uncomfortable talks and real, honest, and transparent conversations directed towards addressing these injustices; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the need to understand how the extrajudicial killings have made so many feel angry, sad, helpless, frustrated, invisible, and disillusioned, resulting in constant fears for their personal safety and leading to psychological and emotional scars; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes that within our otherwise organized and civilized society, systemic discrimination and unjust racial inequities continue to appall and to plague our nation; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes that we should not accept apathy, indifference, or silence to such ongoing violence and inequities, which otherwise allows hatred, prejudice, and intolerance to fester and grow; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the need to engage in peaceful protest and constructive acts to make a meaningful difference towards societal change; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes that we have an obligation to fight ignorance and intolerance, model inclusivity, and embrace our differences and the power that diversity represents; and

WHEREAS, the faculty recognizes the need to stand with our Black brothers and sisters as effective allies and to stand in ongoing support of our students, staff, fellow faculty members, and their families who are persons of color; and

WHEREAS, the faculty resolves that the law school will do its part to challenge systemic racial subordination and exclusion in the justice system by committing to:

  1. Increase the diversity of the faculty, staff and student body.
  2. Periodically reassess its need for cultural audits of faculty, staff, and students, to ensure that it is working toward achievement and maintenance of a safe and welcoming environment and remains sensitive to potentially dynamic definitions of what a diverse and inclusive law school at all levels looks like.
  3. Integrate values, principles, and practices of intercultural and international awareness in the curriculum so that students graduate with the competencies necessary to work effectively and successfully with diverse clients.
  4. Encourage faculty members to create opportunities for students to analyze and discuss legal issues from diverse perspectives; help students understand how the law can reflect and perpetuate particular power structures and positions of disadvantage in society; and infuse course materials and fact patterns with subjects from diverse backgrounds and settings, while being careful to avoid stereotyping.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the faculty acknowledges that racism is an affliction that we must never enable but should all be active antiracists in taking responsibility to condemn and to end, that we need to identify and challenge systemic prejudice wherever it exists, that we are all accountable for doing the work necessary for policy changes that dismantle structural systems of oppression that perpetuate racial inequities in our society, that we will strive to be better listeners and supporters of those who are the victims of racism, that we will never rest until every person feels safe, free, and accepted in our country, and that we will continuously abide by the goal of providing respect and equal treatment to all in upholding the rule of law.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be preserved in the records and minutes of the Washburn Law faculty and prominently displayed on the Washburn Law website.

Adopted this 8th day of June, 2020, by the unanimous vote of Washburn Law faculty.

Alex Glashausser, Faculty Chair

* This faculty resolution adopts the language of the Penn State Dickinson Law faculty's anti-racism resolution.