Message from the Dean
To the Pitt Law School Community:
As many of you know, on February 21, 2018, I met with our first-year class to discuss several important issues that have come to my attention in the past week concerning the climate at our school.
In our society, issues of race, discrimination and equity are pervasive and often divisive. For historically marginalized groups, the aggregate burden and pain of managing these issues on a constant basis are significant. Central to the very concept of justice are fairness and equity. For these and many other reasons, the University and the School of Law are committed to the values of diversity and inclusion. At the same time, as an academic institution, we are also committed to frank and constructive conversations about race, civil rights, and justice. To be clear, equity and inclusion and academic exploration and debate are not opposing values, but are instead necessary counterparts in the quest for both knowledge and justice.
Today’s law students will soon become attorneys and will hold a critical role in our society of debating, challenging, and zealously advocating on contentious social issues. This role is fundamental to our system of justice. At the same time, lawyers are bound by their ethical obligations to act with civility and to neither discriminate nor to retaliate against those with whom they may disagree.
As I discussed with the first-year class on Wednesday, addressing the law school’s climate for all members of our community will be my top priority as Dean over the next several months. I have already begun a series of meetings with individual students, student groups, faculty members, and staff to learn first-hand about their concerns and their hopes for improving the current climate at the law school, and also to discuss my expectations regarding how we all must comport ourselves in engaging with one another on divisive issues. This is the beginning of what I hope will be a series of productive and open discussions, and I look forward to the continuation of these discussions.
With the support of Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I want you to know that any concerns should be brought to our attention immediately.