U.C. Hastings Faculty Send Letter To Concerned Students

A small group of U.C. A group of U.C. faculty including Professor Rory Little wrote the following letter:

 Dear Concerned Student, 

To explain the location of Administration’s Community Email, we write only in our own capacity. The College is dedicated to Academic Freedom, and Freedom of SpeechThis does not express our priorities nor communicate our commitment to you an equitable learning experience. 

We condemn Ilya Shapiro’s recent remarks about President Biden’s promise to nominate an African American woman for the Supreme Court. Shapiro’s tweet was clearly racist, and we find it misogynistic. In the face of white supremacy, we refuse to be silent. We would prefer that you didn’t have to be living in a society with hateful and ignorant speech directed at communities of color. 

The Administration acknowledges that communities of color have suffered pain over the past two year, but it doesn’t address how the law school has contributed to the continued marginalization of current students. From conversations we have had with students of color, especially those from Africa, over the years, it is clear that they don’t perceive UC Hastings to be a welcoming environment. We as professors are determined to counter the implicit and explicit messages that UC Hastings students are often receiving. They feel they are not being valued and embraced, but instead are tolerated. These unwelcoming messages can be found in doctrines that we teach and the context in which they are taught. They also appear in comments from community members. It is difficult for administrators and faculty to share in many students’ lives or engage meaningfully in their understanding. 

We are writing to confirm your right for a safe educational environment in which you grow up as students, and you can be a successful future lawyer. Free speech is an essential part of academic life. Context is important because speech cannot exist in isolation. It must be understood that it occurs within the contexts of inequality and structural injustices. We also recognize that commitments to diversity and inclusion are hollow if salient issues related to racial equality are overlooked or dismissed in order for the ideal of freedom of speech. 

UC Hastings has much work to do before a speaker such as Ilya Shapiro could represent just an abhorrent point of view, instead of appearing to be yet another painful reminder to students of color that the institution—through its actions and inactions—fails to convey that students of color belong here as full-fledged members of our community. The Administration should continue to seek out deeper insights from students of color, and give student leaders the guidance and resources they need to engage in constructive dialogue that will enrich the rich diversity of this university community. 

In solidarity, 

Mark Aaronson 

Alice Armitage 

Alina Ball 

Richard Boswell 

Betsy Candler 

Veena Dubal 

Nira Geevargis 

Brittany Glidden 

Miye Goishi 

James Higa 

Juan Carlos Ibarra 

Rory Little 

Shauna Marshall 

Stefano Moscato 

Karen Musalo 

Christine Natoli 

Ascanio Piomelli 

Gail Silverstein 

Linh Spencer 

The metadata indicates that the document was written by Professor Ascanio piomelli.