Dear UF Law Community,

In the wake of national events last summer, UF and UF Law affirmed our commitment to stand against racial injustice with the following plans and messages, issued in June 2020.

Our Commitment

"Standing Together Amidst Tragedy"
UF Law Anti-Racism Resolution
UF Law’s Roadmap for Racial Justice
"Another Step Toward Positive Change Against Racism"

We are committed to continuously review and improve our efforts and initiatives. We are pleased to provide updates and highlights on our progress toward racial justice.

Progress on the Promise

Florida Law Schools’ Consortium for Racial Justice – UF Law has joined the 11 other law schools in Florida in a coordinated effort to address racial justice. We have selected FLSCRJ Fellows to begin work on projects that will have local and state-wide impact.

Racial Justice Research Assistant Corp – An inaugural cohort of over 15 RJRA’s was established in Fall 2020. They have assisted faculty with developing new courses on racial justice and writing scholarship in areas such as intellectual property, national security, tax, constitutional law, education law, and more.

Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations – CSRRR continues its long-standing efforts in addressing race through academic research and providing resources for our community. Learn more about CSRRR’s activities and publications here.

Diversity and Community Relations Committee – The DCRC has resumed a practice of meeting with student organizations, especially our student affinity organizations. The most recent meetings serve to inform the development of workshops and trainings for faculty and staff.

Training and Accountability – All UF employees have taken mandatory training on diversity and implicit bias. UF HR is now developing trainings that are also focused on building intercultural competency, how to incorporate anti-racism into curriculum, and how to have crucial conversations. We are also developing workshops and trainings specifically for the UF Law community.

Office of the Assistant Dean for Inclusion – As of January 1, 2021, I began service to UF Law on a full-time basis. I have been honored to spearhead many of the initiatives focused on racial justice, working with our Diversity and Community Relations Committee (which includes students, faculty, and staff) and many of our student organization affinity groups.

Admissions – Our Admissions team is working diligently to ensure that our UF Law student community continues to be broadly diverse. They connect prospective students with current students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Their combined efforts have put UF Law among the top institutions in student diversity.

Curriculum – New courses, such as Race and Place, have been added to our course offerings. Faculty have also begun including race and race-related issues in their courses. This effort will continue to grow. Introduction to Lawyering now has a mandatory IDEA component. Our 1L students complete Implicit Association Tests. They are educated on terms and concepts to build their capacity for intercultural competence. The material is contextualized to their law school experience and the practice of law. We will continue to review and improve course material for our future students.

Faculty and Staff Hiring – We continue to work with our appointments and search committees to ensure diverse applicant pools and best hiring practices. Though the university is in a hiring freeze due to COVID-impacting budget concerns, we will resume our recruiting efforts as soon as we are able to do so.

Celebrating Black Alumni – We thank UF Law alumni who have established lead gifts for our HBCU scholarship fund: Yolanda Cash Jackson, Paul Perkins, and Greg Francis. To learn more about these outstanding alumni, please see the Q&A’s here and here. We also honored Judge Stephan Mickle during a special event in October, 2020. You may learn more about his life and legacy here.

Additional Highlights

The Florida Law Review passed an amendment this semester that will allow for a diversity statement to be considered as part of the journal write-on process.

Dean Rosenbury shared a message with the UF Law community on March 19, 2021 affirming our commitment to Anti-Racism in her statement "Standing With Our Asian and Asian-American Community." You may find the full message here.

"Report a Diversity & Inclusion Matter," an anonymous-optional reporting system, was added to our diversity web page in Fall 2020.

These, and other actions, will have a lasting impact on our institution. We are building upon a foundation laid by Virgil D. Hawkins, George Starke, W. George Allen, Judge Stephan Mickle, Hazel Land, our committed UF Law students, faculty, staff, and other alumni. I am tremendously proud of the work we are doing. While much work remains to be done, there is cause for optimism. We have the opportunity to move forward with unprecedented momentum toward a community and society that is racially just, equitable, and inclusive.

Michelle "M" Smith
Assistant Dean for Inclusion

Copyright © 2021 UF Law, All rights reserved.
Office of the Assistant Dean for Inclusion
University of Florida Levin College of Law
P.O. Box 117620, Gainesville, FL 32611-7620
T: 352-273-0600

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