Social Justice was the Topic at the 2016 Denver Law Pipeline Conference
In 2015-16, activism and protests swept across many college and university campuses. The protests were student led. Activists held accountable the schools they attended for policies and practices that too often stymied oft-stated goals to increase diversity and value inclusion at our nation’s institutions of higher learning. The 2016 Denver Law Pipeline Conference, held April 1st, brought five student activists engaged in these protests to the University of Denver: Yameisha Bell, University of Connecticut; Briana Cato, University of Missouri; Katherine Demby, Yale Law School; Storm Ervin, University of Missouri; and David Turner III, University of California at Berkeley
A lengthy and stimulating discussion, not without controversy and moderated by DePaul University College of Law Professor Terry Smith, explored these students’ work, aspirations and observations through lenses of the law, First Amendment guarantees and Equal Protection jurisprudence. (A video recording is linked to below.)
Denver Law Professor Beto Juárez opened the conference by speaking on “The Supreme Court, Law, and Post-Racialism: How the Supreme Court Affects Our Daily Lives.” This conversation, along with the two-hour student activism panel that followed, addressed social justice issues in practical, on-the-ground terms and offered 150 conference attendees answers to the question, “Why study the law?”
The audience included over 100 students—60 undergrads and the remaining from high school (and even a few from junior high)—interested in learning about law school and the law. Parents, teachers, advisors and mentors, along with friends from DU, rounded out the crowd. Following lunch in the law school Forum and outside on the patio, the conference agenda took on a more instrumental cast. Professor Juárez returned to teach a “mock law school class” on how Supreme Court rulings have shaped admission policies in higher education. Two panels were up next—one on “Law School and the Legal Profession from the Perspective of Diverse Students and Lawyers,” while a second offered valuable advice for “Getting into Law School.” Denver Law professors, staff members, alums and students spoke on these topics.
Professor Carlton Waterhouse, from Indiana University McKinney School of Law, pulled together topics explored and lessons learned throughout the day in closing remarks he titled, “The Social Dominance Problem.” The conference concluded with a reception in the Forum, where conversation continued among attendees and speakers over refreshments.
The 2016 Pipeline Conference was the third held at Denver Law. Participation and the quality of content hit high levels again. Especially rewarding this year was the role played by faculty and staff at the Metropolitan State University of Denver in spreading word about the Pipeline Conference among their students, who composed half of the total undergraduates attending. Metro State University boasts an enrollment of nearly 7,500, one-third of whom are first-generation college and students. We welcome this pipeline partnership and hope to see it grow in days ahead.
See a video recording of the morning panel here.
0:01: Opening remarks
10:00: Professor Beto Juárez, “The Supreme Court, Law, and Post-Racialism: How the Supreme Court Affects Our Daily Lives”
40:00: Student activist panel, “How Law and Student Activism are Shaping ‘Post-racial’ American College Campuses”