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2020 Anti-Racism Steering Committee Report

Our Process

Dean Guthrie established student, faculty, and staff task forces and appointed co-chairs for each.* He asked each to identify approximately one dozen promising action items touching on all aspects of the Law School community, to brainstorm without regard to possible constraints, and to include action items that were amenable to implementation. 

Our task forces conducted our own investigations and analyses. The student task force gathered suggestions from task force members as well as the student body, particularly from the Black Law Students Association and Vanderbilt Bar Association. It then met to discuss and prioritize those suggestions. The staff task force collected recommendations from colleagues and conducted a simple consensus workshop to gather additional information. The method for simple consensus workshops includes allowance for stakeholders to collectively brainstorm, assess an issue, and find common ground through dialogue to deliver consensus-based input. The faculty task force gathered information on, and analyzed, actions that the top 75 law schools are taking or proposing to address anti-racism and racial justice. It also reviewed the 2016 Report and Recommendations of the Vanderbilt University Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Community and identified promising action items; further, it gathered information on existing VLS efforts, particularly from the George Barrett Social Justice Program, the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics, and the Legal Clinic. Finally, all three task forces collaborated on constructing, distributing, and analyzing the results of a community-wide anonymous survey. After taking all of these inputs into account, each task force submitted a report and set of recommendations to the Dean.

Student task force: Co-chairs—Samantha Furman, Esther Lee, Noor Maarfi; Members—Shaylen Braggs, Khalil Bryant, Ryan Feeney, Miles Malbrough, Olisa Onyiuke, Kate Uyeda, Nouha Zaabab.

Staff task force: Co-chairs: Betsy Key, Dominique Millen; Members—Grace Chee, Robert Dortch, Victoria Dorward, Brandy Drinnon, Jasmin Felton, Michelle Kovash, Kat Manning, Jennifer Miller, Todd Morton, Clanitra Nejdl, Francesca Rutherford, Caroline Sirko, and Felicia Vaden.

Faculty task force: Co-chairs: Terry Maroney, Karla McKanders; Members—Margaret Blair, Lisa Bressman, Michael Bressman, Jessica Clarke, Gautam Hans, Joni Hersch, Susan Kay, Spring Miller, Larry Reeves, Ed Rubin, JB Ruhl, Herwig Schlunk, Dan Sharfstein, Ganesh Sitaraman, Ingrid Wuerth. The faculty task force thanks Katie Hanschke and our other colleagues in the Law Library for vital research support.

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