Penn State Law Pilots Law and (In) Equity course

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Penn State Law at University Park will pilot a course in Spring 2022 that examines the intersection between law and (in) justice. Each week during the semester, a Penn State Law professor will chair a lecture and discussion in one of his areas of expertise.

The topics of the pilot course include the exclusion of immigrants; Inequality in military and veterans law; Racial justice in the criminal justice system, including inequalities in the use of force by law enforcement, rate of arrests, controls and searches, provisional release and conviction; the current state of K-12 desegregation; Legal Tech and Access to Justice; and color blindness versus color awareness in US law, among others.

“The course is very creative in that it will cover a significant number of topics dealing with diversity by a significant number of faculty,” said Samuel C. Thompson Jr., law professor and member of Penn State’s Diversity Committee Law.

The Faculty’s Diversity Committee hopes the course will enable them to use the findings to develop a proposal for a more permanent course in the Law School curriculum.

“I am pleased to translate into a concrete proposal the dialogue with faculty, students and staff who have brought the importance of knowledge building about the intersection of race, justice and law in our community into a concrete proposal,” said Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Deputy Dean for Diversity, Justice and Inclusion; clinical law professor; and Chairman of the Diversity Committee. “I thank our Diversity Committee for their support and the more than a dozen faculty who will help teach this course. I hope the course enables students to explore how laws affect people differently. “

This course responds to one of Penn State Law’s goals of providing more curricular opportunities for meaningful exploration of the intersection of law, race and social justice.

“I’m very excited to be taking our team-taught Law and (In) Equity course,” said Kit Kinports, professor of law at Penn State Law. “Although many of these topics are covered in criminal law and the code of criminal procedure, I look forward to discussing them in greater depth. I’m particularly interested in hearing the students’ perspectives because I think we can all learn from each other on these important issues. “

The schedule includes:

January 14: Facing the Exclusion of Immigrants: Then and Now

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Deputy Dean for Diversity, Justice and Inclusion; Samuel Weiss Faculty Scientist and Clinical Professor of Law; Director of the Center for Immigration Rights Clinic

January 21: The Story of Police and Race

Gopal Balachandran, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law; Director of Penn State Law’s externship program; Co-Director of the Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum

January 28: The current status of desegregation at K-12 schools

Erica Frankenberg, Professor of Education (Educational Leadership and Demography)

Feb 4th: Legal Tech and Access to Justice

Theresa Tarves, Assistant Director of the Law Library and Professor of Legal Research; Director of the Legal-Tech Virtual Lab

February 11: Inequality in military and veterans law

Michele Vollmer, deputy dean for clinics and experiential education; Director of the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic; clinical professor of law

Feb. 18: Drug control in criminal law

Jacob Schuman, Assistant Professor of Law; Affiliate Faculty of Penn State’s Criminal Justice Research Center; Affiliate Faculty of the Penn State Consortium on Combating Substance Abuse

Feb 25: AI / Equity and Algorithmic Discrimination

Margaret Hu, assistant dean for non-Young Women programs; Law professor; Professor of International Affairs; Collaboration, Institute for Computer and Data Science; Faculty of the Institute for Network and Security Research at the University of Technology

March 4th: No classes – Spring Break

March 18: Gender-based violence

Jill Engle, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor of Clinical Law

March 25: Racial injustice in the criminal justice system

Kit Kinports, distinguished faculty scientist of the Polish family; Professor of Law

April 1: Prospects for minority participation in companies: A proposal for a national development company and a national development bank

Samuel C. Thompson Jr., Arthur Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar; Law professor; Director of the Center for the Study of Mergers and Acquisitions

April 8: Color Awareness vs. Color Blindness in US Law

Victor Romero, Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar; Professor of Law

April 15th: So what is unlawful discrimination anyway?

Michael Foreman, director of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic; clinical professor of law

April 23: Reverse redlining and the destruction of minority wealth

Katrice Bridges Copeland, Professor of Law

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