Univ of DC Law School Encourages Student Engagement with Baltimore Protests and “Legal Observer and Other Assistance” / “Legal Support”

Here, as reported by the Washington Post, is the letter from the Dean to the student body.  For those who worry about how this is organized, I bold the relevant paragraph and some other text, which includes the carefully limited description of the role.

Dear Students,

We have been watching the news from Baltimore and know that it is having a profound effect on many in the Law School community.   As John Lewis said earlier this week, community/police relations is the civil rights issue of this time.  Across this Nation, for nearly a year, the concerns of communities of color about persistent and long standing police abuse, have been reflected in demonstrations and public debate.   The energy and commitment of those involved in the movement is inspiring and we want the Law School to be part of it.

The situation in Baltimore is of particular concern.  Not only is Baltimore just 30 miles up the road, but many members of our community have roots in the City.  It is important that we not ignore what is happening to our neighbors.   Several students have come to the Deans with a request that they be permitted to defer an exam so that they can provide legal observer and other assistance to those who have taken to the streets to exercise their First Amendment rights and to address these serious issues.

We would like to support this activism.   To that end, if any student wishes to participate in legal support for the demonstrations, we will defer one exam until May 11.   To do so, you need to connect with one of the legal assistance organizations, develop a plan for the assistance you intend to provide and get this information to Dean Steward before your exam.   If you are having difficulty in identifying a group to work with, please let me know and we can assist you.  In addition, because these issues affect everyone at the Law School, we would be pleased to support a student organized teach-in.   A community event that brings us together around these issues and promotes mutual support is important during these challenging times.

The police accountability movement needs and will continue to need the best lawyers that we can train.   It is our aspiration that you become the future of the legal support for the most important cases of the next generation.  It is critical that, while we pay attention to what is going on today, that we not lose sight of the essential role you will play once you pass the bar.  We need to invest in you to be prepared to play that role.   That is our shared commitment.



About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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