University Park, Pa. – Penn State Law in University Park will pilot a course in spring 2022 that explores the intersection between law and (in)equity. Each week during this semester, one professor based or affiliated with Penn State Law will lead a lecture and discussion in an area of their expertise.
Topics for the pilot course will include immigrant exclusion; inequity in military and veterans’ law; racial justice in the criminal justice system, including disparities in law enforcement’s use of force, rate of arrests, stops and frisks, pretrial release, and sentencing; the current state of K-12 desegregation; legal tech and access to justice and color blindness versus color consciousness in U.S. law, among others.
“The course is quite creative in that it will cover a significant number of topics dealing with diversity by a significant number of faculty members,” said Samuel C. Thompson, Jr., professor of law, and a member of the Penn State Law diversity committee.
The faculty diversity committee hopes the course allows them to use its outcomes to develop a proposal for a more permanent course in the law school curriculum.
“I am excited to transform dialogue with faculty, students and staff who have raised the importance of building knowledge about the intersection of race, equity and the law within our community into a concrete proposal,” said Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, and clinical professor of law, and chair of the diversity committee. “I am grateful to our diversity committee for their support and to the more than one dozen faculty who will help to teach this course. I hope the course allows students to explore how laws impact people differently.”
This course responds to one of Penn State Law’s goals to provide more curricular opportunities for meaningful engagement with the interface of law, race, and social justice.
“I am very excited to be involved in our team-taught Law and (In)equity course,” said Kit Kinports, professor of law at Penn State Law. “While many of these topics are touched on in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, I am looking forward to being able to discuss them in-depth. I am especially interested in hearing the students' perspectives because I think we can all learn from each other on these important issues.”
The class schedule includes:
January 14: Facing Immigrant Exclusion: Then and Now
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and Clinical Professor of Law Director, Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic
January 21: The History of Policing and Race
Gopal Balachandran, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law Director, Externships Program Co-Director, Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum
January 28: The Current State of K-12 School Desegregation
Dr. Erica Frankenberg, Professor of Education (EDLDR & Demography)
February 4: Legal Tech and Access to Justice
Theresa Tarves, Associate Director of the Law Library and Professor of Legal Research Director, Legal-Tech Virtual Lab
February 11: Inequity in Military and Veterans Law
Michele Vollmer, Associate Dean, Clinics and Experiential Learning Director, Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic Clinical Professor of Law
February 18: Drug Supervision in Criminal Law
Jacob Schuman, Assistant Professor of Law Affiliate Faculty of Penn State's Criminal Justice Research Center Affiliate Faculty of Penn State's Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse
February 25: AI/equity and Algorithmic Discrimination
Margaret Hu, Associate Dean for Non-JD Programs Professor of Law Professor of International Affairs Co-Hire, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences Faculty of the Institute for Network and Security Research in the College of Engineering
March 4: NO CLASS – SPRING BREAK
March 18: Gender-Based Violence
Jill Engle, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Professor of Clinical Law
March 25: Racial Injustice in the Criminal Justice System
Kit Kinports, Polisher Family Distinguished Faculty Scholar Professor of Law
April 1: Perspectives on Minority Business Ownership: A Proposal for a National Development Corporation and a National Development Bank
Samuel C. Thompson, Jr., Arthur Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar Professor of Law Director, Center for the Study of Mergers and Acquisitions
April 8: Color Consciousness v. Color Blindness in U.S. Law
Victor Romero, Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar Professor of Law
April 15: So, What is Unlawful Discrimination Anyway?
Michael Foreman, Director, Civil Rights Appellate Clinic Clinical Professor of Law
April 23: Reverse Redlining and the Destruction of Minority Wealth
Katrice Bridges Copeland, Professor of Law