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“Making Excellence Inclusive: Leading for Inclusion in Challenging Times” at DU’s Diversity Summit

January 19, 2017

To open the 2017 DU Diversity Summit Thursday proceedings, university chancellor Rebecca Chopp today led a panel discussion entitled, “Making Excellence Inclusive: Leading for Inclusion in Challenging Times.” Other speakers included: Tony Frank, President and Chancellor of Colorado State University; Joe Garcia, President of Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education; Betsy Oudenhoven, President of Community College of Aurora; and Jill Tiefenthaler, President of Colorado College. Some comments offered by panel participants follow:

Chancellor Chopp stated that an education leader, who typically deals with a steady stream of discrete issues, also must have a vision in order to lead effectively. She asked participants about their visions.

  • Tony Frank: The faculty and staff of a college or university must mirror the larger society. “There is still a big gap between where we are and where we want to be.”
  • Joe Garcia: Enrolling students alone is not enough; we must also support students so that they succeed. He noted there is a gap between elite institutions and open access institutions; the former can do more on the enrollment side, the latter can do more on the support side.
  • Betsy Oudenhoven: Agreed that support is a key to equitable outcomes. “We can serve a diverse student body, and we can be excellent,” she said.
  • Jill Tiefenthaler: “We all have aspirational statements on diversity and inclusion. The hard work is holding a community accountable to them.”

A great challenge to be managed on campuses today is how to nurture a free speech atmosphere while recognizing that some speech is offensive. Both are consistent with the values associated with higher education.

  • Tony Frank: Increased polarization in social discourse is reflected on our campuses; as a result, it has become difficult, when discussing hot issues, to find common ground necessary for a good dialogue. “That space is getting smaller and smaller,” he said. “Part of our job is finding ways to phrase issues in neutral terms.”
  • Rebecca Chopp: Pointed out the special role higher education has in building a better future for our society. “It is in the self-interest of democracy to promote and achieve inclusion.”

Other highlights:

  • Betsy Oudenhoven: “America needs open access institutions” to successfully move students into the workplace and into 4-year institutions.
  • Rebecca Chopp: “Business is outpacing universities on diversity and inclusion. Why? Because they perceive its in their self interest to meet a diverse community’s needs.”


DU Chancellor Chopp clarifies protections of undocumented students and Muslim students

January 12, 2017

In an email dated January 12, 2017 and addressed to the DU community, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp clarified the rights and protections extended to undocumented and Muslim students on the university’s campus. Among the items she stated:

DU does not and will not voluntarily share student information with immigration enforcement officials.

DU will not voluntarily grant access to University property to immigration officials for enforcement, investigative or similar purposes.

DU Campus Safety never has and will not assist ICE, CBP, USCIS or Denver Police Department in efforts to identify and report undocumented community members.

DU will continue with immigration attorneys and other community resources to provide support for undocumented community members.

In addition, Chancellor Chopp wrote, “The University of Denver will do everything in its power to respond to the evolving needs of our students, including those who are undocumented or are Muslim.”

See the full letter below:



$5000 Prize Goes to LSAC Diversity Writing Competition Winners Deadline is March 31, 2017

January 11, 2017

The LSAC Diversity Committee announced its 2017 Writing Competition. There are three levels of competition—1L, 2L and 3-4L. The topic is “Why Pipeline Programs Targeting Students from Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Backgrounds Are Essential to the Future of the Legal Profession.” Entries must be submitted by March 31, 2017, a hard deadline. See more details below:


Register by January 13 for DU Diversity Summit January 19-20

January 09, 2017

The 2017 DU Diversity Summit is held Thursday and Friday, January 19-20. The Summit, organized by DU’s Center for Multicultural Excellence and always well-attended, this year examines the theme, “Many Stories, Many Truths: Overcoming Challenges in Building Community.”

Events include a forum featuring DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp and three other higher education leaders (Thursday 1/19 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.) and a panel discussing “sanctuary campuses,” the movement to create university policies intended to protect and empower undocumented students (Thursday 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.). Friday’s Keynote Speaker is Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist, activist, civic and education leader and well-known lecturer and writer on women’s rights and public policy.

See the full schedule of events, with all times and locations, here.

Attendees are asked to register by Friday, January 13. Here is the link to register.


Denver Law Professor Christopher Lasch Speaks on the Legality of Sanctuary Cities

December 23, 2016

Sanctuary cities are local jurisdictions that put in place laws, regulations and procedures designed to disentangle their civic services, including law enforcement, from federal immigration enforcement and to ensure that local services are provided equally to all residents regardless of status. An example is the recently enacted sanctuary ordinance in Boulder, Colorado, which prevents city officials from inquiring into immigration status or using city funds to assist with immigration investigations or with the detention of any immigrants. Denver Law professor Chris Lasch studies and writes about sanctuary cities, probing the question whether and to what degree local and state governments can put in place policies and practices, like Boulder’s ordinance, that resist or do not fully cooperate with federal authority in this area of law.

President-elect Trump took a clear stand on the issue during the campaign. “We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths,” he stated. “Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.” It’s an area of acute political and legal disagreement, pitting advocates of crafting local policy consistent with community values against those wishing to enlist local law enforcement to enforce national policies that deal more harshly with undocumented persons.

In an interview broadcast December 22nd on Canadian Radio, Professor Lasch and two others—Javier Gonzalez, mayor of Santa Fe, NM (a sanctuary city) and Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with the Heritage Foundation (a well-known and influential conservative think tank)—commented on sanctuary cities. Speaking near the end of the broadcast (his portion begins at the 17 minute mark), Professor Lasch cited statistical evidence that counters the view of President-elect Trump and others that immigration policy is best understood as a crime control or public safety issue. And he disputed the argument that the sanctuary city movement defies the rule of law. Professor Lasch noted that “the number of sanctuary jurisdictions went from a couple of dozen in 2008 to over 500 today.” He stated that “one of the main reasons that sanctuary cities have proliferated so dramatically in the past few years is precisely because of legal problems associated with the federal government’s push to involve local law enforcement.” He added, “[I]t was illegal what the federal government was asking states and localities to do, and they understandably resisted.”

Listen to the program in its entirety here.


2017 Summer Intern Position: LSAC Diversity Initiatives

December 15, 2016

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) is looking for a summer intern to work on their Diversity Initiatives staff. It’s a 10-12 week position open to current law students. “Preference will be given to candidates with advanced communication skills and strong knowledge and understanding of various social media websites.” More info, including how to apply, here:


Transgender Day of Remembrance: Wednesday Nov 16 at Auraria Campus

November 15, 2016

In memory of individuals harmed or killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice:

Transgender Day of Remembrance on the Auraria Campus
Wednesday Nov 16 from 11 am to 2 pm
Tivoli Multicultural Lounge
900 Auraria Parkway in Denver

Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremony and Reception
Sunday November 20 from 4 to 7 pm
West High School
951 Elati Street in Denver


Denver Law’s RPL issues statement on “the divisive political rhetoric of the campaign”

November 14, 2016

RPL is The Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place, and Law, a group of Colorado legal academics working together to identify and address racial inequities in the U.S. and around globe. RPL’s statement on repercussions of the 2016 presidential campaign and election:


Metro State University Prelaw Students Visit Denver Law

October 28, 2016

Seventeen Metro State University undergraduate students, accompanied by their professor Barbara Koehler visited Denver Law on Friday, October 28. They attended Professor Rashmi Goel’s Criminal Law course, toured the law school and spoke with Senior Admissions Officer May Piatek and several Denver Law students. Metro State University, celebrating its 50th year of existence, has an enrollment of nearly 7,500, one-third of whom are first-generation college students. In its July/August 2016 issue, INSIGHT Into Diversity named Metro State University a Diversity Champion. (See page 17.)


Profesor Erin Buzuvis Speaks at Denver Law on the Development of LGBTQ Rights

October 27, 2016

Erin Buzuvis, an expert on Title IX and LGBTQ rights and professor at Western New England School of Law, spent Thursday, October 27 at Denver Law. At lunch, she met with fourteen members of the DU community and the Denver Bar, and led a conversation that ranged from the current state of Title IX litigation to the scramble by sports governing bodies to regulate participation by transgender athletes and athletes whose natural hormone levels place them under scrutiny. Later in the day, Professor Buzuvis attended a reception held in her honor. Then she spoke for over an hour before a crowd of fifty on “Title IX and the the Pursuit of Equality for LGBTQ Students.” She traced the evolution of litigation, most of it still working its way through federal courts, stating that “[t]his current moment of LGBTQ rights is brought to us by the decades of litigation that pressured courts and regulators to constantly renew and update their definition of sex discrimination.” She described developing law as having the potential, though not the certainty, “to be completely inclusive” of LGBTQ rights. This is what is on the line in the current litigation, she said. She also stressed the important role of regulators and administrative law in these developments, and she emphasized the relationship between civil rights and politics, citing attention to and strides made in the area of LGBTQ rights by President Obama and his administration. See Professor Buzuvis’ talk on Title IX and LGBTQ Rights here. Her visit to Denver Law and the events at which she spoke were organized and sponsored by the Education Policy & Outreach Group (EPOG) and Denver Law’s Office of Diversity. Professor Erin Buzuvis is a founder of and contributor to the Title IX Blog.


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