Diversity at Denver Law

Diversity Updates


COMMENTS? Connect with us here: diversity@law.du.edu

November 26, 2017

Denver Law Prof César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández writes in NY Times Op-Ed that courthouse arrests by ICE "threaten the very operation of our judicial system"

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, associate professor at Denver Law, criticizes a tactic employed by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents - arresting undocumented immigrants at U.S. courthouses when they appear on matters unrelated to their immigration status, for example, domestic violence cases. In a New York Times Op-Ed piece, Professor García Hernández calls this "a deeply worrisome trend because arrests at courthouses don't just derail the lives of unsuspecting people who are detained, they threaten the very operation of our judicial system." He urges local and state officials to push back on this federal practice. "Fear and uncertainty caused by this type of courthouse arrest," he writes, "are already keeping people away from the halls of justice." See the full text of the article here. Professor García Hernández is the author of the Crimmigration Blog.

November 21, 2017

One reason Denver Law partners with Denver Urban Debate League: See these stats on college enrollment of high school debaters

The Denver Law/DUDL (Denver Urban Debate League) partnership creates the opportunity for hundreds of students from metro area high schools to develop their analytic and presentation skills while sparring with their peers over issues and questions that profoundly affect our world. DUDL's offices are in the law school, our building is home to two major tournaments each year, and DUDL's founders include Denver Law professor Roberto Corrada and Denver Law alum Rico Munn. We are proud of this connection, and we recognize the accomplishments of the high school debaters who participate in DUDL. For example, a recent news item posted on the NAUDL (National Association for Urban Debate Leagues) webpage states the finding that urban debaters are more likely than their non-debating peers to attend college. In Denver, 76% of urban debaters in the class of 2016 enrolled in college compared to 52% of graduating seniors from the same schools. And the same advantage holds in other cities where urban debate is sited. See the article here. Want to get involved in urban debate? DUDL invites community members to become judges for its debate tournaments. Please email Diversity@law.du.edu if you are interested.



November 16, 2017

Catherine Smith participates in ABA webinar examining law school diversity initiatives

Catherine Smith, Denver Law associate dean for diversity and inclusion, took part in today's webinar entitled Best and Worst Practices in Law School Diversity Initiatives. Speakers:

  • Catherine Smith, Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Susan Kuo, Associate Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, University of South Carolina
  • Troy Riddle, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, The John Marshall Law School
  • Moderator: Daiquiri Steele, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Assistant Professor of Law in Residence, The University of Alabama School of Law

Dean Smith addressed the importance of strategic partnerships Denver Law has formed with Denver Urban Debate League (DUDL) and with CampusPrep.org, a supplier of low-cost LSAT prep courses (at 38:00 in the webinar). She characterized diversity efforts as "a work in progress" (43:50) and described Denver Law pipeline programs that "level the playing field" for diverse students - middle school, high school and undergraduate - aiming to attend law school (56:00).

The webinar was presented and sponsored by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

November 13, 2017

Denver Law Professor Catherine Smith weighs in on the Rights and Interests of Children at issue in Masterpiece Cakeshop

In 2012, a Colorado cakemaker turned away a couple wishing to order a cake for their upcoming marriage. The couple was composed of two men. In the cakemaker's view, supplying a cake to celebrate a same sex marriage would violate his religious beliefs. The couple complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and that agency ordered the baker to fill the order, citing Colorado’s public accommodations law, which bars businesses selling to the public from discriminating based on sexual orientation. The cakemaker brought suit, claiming in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop LTD, et al v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, that to compel him to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple unconstitutionally violates his free speech and free exercise rights. A Colorado court ruling sided with the couple. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal, with oral arguments scheduled for December 5, 2017.

Denver Law professor Catherine Smith sees in this dispute another example how the children of LGBT people bear the brunt of exclusionary practices in the public marketplace because of social animus directed against their parents. She points out other examples: in Michigan, a pediatrician refused to treat an infant based solely on the fact that the child had lesbian mothers; in Kentucky, a judge refused to hear adoption cases of children involving LGBT adoptive-parents-to-be; in Tennessee, a nondenominational private school rejected enrollment for a pre-kindergartener and his 8-month-old sister after discovering that the children had two dads.

Professor Smith and four co-authors have submitted an amici curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, supporting the same sex couple and advocating for the rights and interests of children of LGBT parents. They argue “an expressive or religious exemption to sexual orientation discrimination prohibitions will deny children of LGBT parents equal access to the public sphere, inflict upon them psychological harm, and interfere with the integrity and closeness of their families — contrary to the aims of public accommodation and anti-discrimination law, and LGBT equality principles advanced in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges.” See the full text of their amici brief here.

November 3, 2017

Thirty-five Metro State students visited Denver Law on Friday, November 3, 2017. They toured the building and met with Catherine Smith, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusiveness. Next, Professor Sam Kamin engaged the students in a discussion about death penalty jurisprudence. The students got a chance to ask questions about law school preparation and the application process. Nine Denver Law students, including five Metro State University grads, joined the students for lunch. Thanks to the students for attending and to faculty and staff at MSU for promoting this event. Special thanks to Professors Robert Hazan and Barbara Koehler at Metro for supporting this pipeline initiative. 

October 16, 2017

Friday November 3 is "Metro State Day at Denver Law"

September 28, 2017

High School Students Argue Moot Court Issues at Denver Law

On September 27, 2017, six teams composed of students from William Smith High School in Aurora argued cases bearing on constitutional law topics. They met in the William S. Hoffman Courtroom at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law before a judicial tribunal of Dave Davis and John Kearney, teachers at Wm. Smith H.S., and Denver Law's Randy Wagner. The students, 10th to 12th graders, are members of Kearney's 4-week all-day Constitutional Law class. They were well prepared and argued the cases in excellent fashion.

September 6, 2017

William Smith H.S. Students Visit Denver Law

Today 20 students from William Smith High School, 10th to 12th grade, visited Denver Law. Wm. Smith H.S. is an expeditionary learning school* in Aurora, CO. The students first met with Professor Tom Romero then attended a Torts class taught by Professor Catherine Smith. They shared lunch with law students Jessica Cordera and Gideon Irving and Associate Director of Admissions Yvonne Cherena-Pacheco. During a tour of the law building, the Wm. Smith students met law student Kiah Ellis. Teacher John Kearney and Assistant Principal Kristin Wiedmaier accompanied the group.



* "Dedicated to providing a diverse student body with outstanding academic and character education through engaging project-based work, the school enjoys a 90% graduation rate with alumni attending colleges and universities, technical schools, and the workforce. Projects integrate fieldwork, guest experts, and authentic audiences, bringing curriculum to life. Hands-on work reflects a workplace environment in order to prepare students for their future. Students develop products and presentations that demonstrate the knowledge and technical tools of professionals. At William Smith, students learn to create the lives they want to lead." (https://williamsmithhs.org/about)

September 6, 2017

DACA Resources at DU

In her statement addressed to the DU community, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp wrote:

The University of Denver continues to support DACA, along with over 600 other colleges and universities, and we hope that our national leaders will find a way to continue policies that allow these bright and dedicated students, faculty members and staff to thrive in the DU community and the country.

Click here for a full accounting of "DACA Resources at DU."

September 5, 2017

Denver Law Faculty and Staff Statement on DACA

September 5, 2017

To Our Students and Our Community:

As faculty and staff of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, we write to express our wholehearted disagreement with the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In tandem with other recent policies and programs designed to break up families, cause fear and panic in our communities, and directly harm those who have dared to dream that America would not turn its back on them, this decision is antithetical to our shared work of diversity and inclusion.

Like most institutions of higher learning, DREAMers and undocumented individuals are integral to our community at the University of Denver. DREAMers have graduated from our law school and university. Many have become leaders in their fields, including the Colorado bar. Many have worked selflessly to serve underserved communities throughout the state and the country. Whatever their paths, we cherish the DREAMers in our community. They inspire us with their commitment to our institution and contribute immeasurably to the diversity of views and experiences that are integral to our broader educational mission.

For this reason, we wish to reiterate our absolute, unequivocal, and unwavering support for our DREAMer and undocumented students. We will continue to support you regardless of what transpires in the coming weeks and months. DREAMers are an integral part of our community, and in our view the announcement today does not change that in the slightest.

We know that this is an anxious time for many of you. As always, we hope that you will seek us out if we can be of help to you, and that you will also take advantage of the other law school and university resources available to you.

With solidarity and respect:

Anne Aguirre     Ryan Allen     Rachel Arnow-Richman     Rebecca Aviel     Debra S. Austin     Tanya Bartholomew

Mohammed Bellifa     Eric Bono     Stacey Bowers     Diane Burkhardt     Stefanie M. Carroll     Alan Chen    

Yvonne Cherena-Pacheco     Roberto Corrada     Patience A. Crowder     Susan D. Daggett     Laura Dean

Catherine M. Dunn     K.K. DuVivier     Nancy Ehrenreich     Christopher Engle-Newman     Ian Farrell

Casey Faucon     Kalyani Fernando     Alexi Freeman     Samantha Galvin     César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

Nicole B. Godfrey     Rashmi Goel     Felicia Ho     Jessica R. Hogan     Meghan Howes     Mark Hughes

Danielle C. Jefferis     Beto Juárez     Sam Kamin     Michael Kovaka     Margaret Kwoka     C.J. Larkin

Christopher N. Lasch     Nancy Leong     Justin Marceau     Patti Marks     Lucy Marsh

Kristian McDaniel-Miccio     John D. McKee     Amy B. McLellan     Lauri Mlinar     Viva Moffat

Rachel Moran     Suzanna Moran     Ved Nanda     Steve Pepper     May Piatek     Justin Pidot

Randolph A. Robinson II     Tom Romero     Laura Rovner     Tom Russell     Tanya Z. Salih

Laurie Saraceno     Colleen T. Scarola     Kari L. Shafenberg     Michael R. Siebecker     Catherine Smith

Don C. Smith     Michael D. Sousa     Erin H. Stearns     Judith C. Stein     Robin Walker Sterling

Kate Stoker     Celia Taylor     David I. C. Thomson     Ann S. Vessels     Randy Wagner     Lindsey Webb

Annecoos Wiersema     Amanda Williams     Jeanne Zokovitch

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