Nokero Lights Up Zimbabwe
October 28, 2015
IN THE NEWS — Steve Katsaros, Founder of Nokero, was a panelist at our recent Sutton Colloquium on Sustainable Development and Sustainable Energy.
“Solar Lights: Nokero Introduces New Solar Light Bulb In Zimbabwe”, an article in Green Building Elements, greenbuildingelements.com , features Steve’s dedication and commitment to creating and providing accessible, renewable, and affordable lighting to the world.
Nokero is a Denver-based company providing alternative renewable energy resources to the world. http://nokero.com .
Sutton Colloquium Presentations and Supporting Materials Available Now
October 23, 2015
Dr. John Dovidio speaks at DU about diversity in academia
October 21, 2015
Dr. John Dovidio, Dean of Academic Affairs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yale University, spoke to DU audiences at three events held October 21, 2015. Dr. Dovidio is a professor in Yale’s psychology department. His research centers around issues of social power and social relations, with an emphasis on conscious (explicit) and unconscious (implicit) bias in group dynamics. At DU, Dr. Dovidio addressed issues of diversity in academic settings, particularly in the hiring process.
Insights he offered at his first talk, held in Ruffato Hall, and which featured more q-and-a than lecture, are paraphrased below:
There are three common and strong foundations of implicit bias: the prevalent use of race, sex and age when we evaluate others; our tendency to view people either as members of our own group or as members of other, completing groups; and the lessons in race and sex taught us by our history and culture. While overt racism has decreased greatly in the past 50-60 years (Dr. Dovidio used the example of whites’ stated and demonstrated willingness to vote for a black presidential candidate), implicit or subtle bias remains strong. “Over-learned associations drive our behavior,” he said at one point.
Job searches in academia that do not produce diversity among faculty, administration and staff, he said, can result when the job is defined in ways that narrow the search, thus limiting inclusivity among candidates. He gave the example of an academic department that will only hire from the top twenty programs in its field.
He counseled that, in hiring, “Diversity must be the default,” and added that this is true throughout the institution. “Color-blindness,” when used to justify hiring that does not advance diversity is a rationalization and even more, this stance inevitably perpetuates the status quo and supports the majority. Among benefits of diverse hiring decisions, he cited examples where hiring women and people of color as faculty members in a particular department increased the number of students pursuing that field of study, thus advancing another institutional goal.
Asked how to gauge whether efforts to increase diversity in an academic setting are working or not, Dr. Dovidio stressed that they not be judged by intentions. “Monitor results,” he said. Told that DU’s first-year undergrad class numbers 22% students of color, he counseled our university to make that figure the floor going forward.
Near the end, the discussion turned toward questions of campus climate. Dr. Dovidio praised an undergraduate program at the University of Michigan where students in their first year are assigned to diverse groups in which facilitated conversations about race and gender are held. The first year of college is an especially effective time to have these discussions, he said, because students new to higher education are eager to experience their new world and surroundings. He then noted that friction inevitably arises when these conversations are held. “All friction is not positive,” he said, “but managed friction can by constructive.” – Randy Wagner (email me here)
Poverty & Race Research Action Council seeks Law and Policy Associate
October 14, 2015
Law & Policy Associate
The Poverty & Race Research Action Council is seeking a recent law school graduate who is committed to civil rights and who is interested in engaging in federal and state policy advocacy, detailed regulatory analysis, social science research, and public education and field outreach. This new position will primarily involve fair housing and federal and state low income housing programs, but may also include intersectional work in PRRAC’s other issue areas.
The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) is a non-profit civil rights law and policy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1989 by major national civil rights and poverty law organizations, PRRAC’s primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientists working on race and poverty issues, and to develop innovative approaches to structural inequality issues.
The ideal candidate for the Law & Policy Associate position would have excellent research and writing skills, a strong interest in federal policy work, and a demonstrated commitment to civil rights and poverty alleviation. Prior work with low income communities of color, and some background in housing law and policy, poverty law, or education law is preferred.
See the full job posting here.
Katie Steefel, Denver Law 2L, reports from the Lat Crit Conference
October 04, 2015
Katie Steefel is co-founder and co-chair of the Education Policy & Outreach Group (EPOG), a student group at Denver Law whose mission is to “foster law students’ and stakeholders’ capacities to understand, discuss, address, and impact what is an increasingly nuanced field of law and public policy increasing educational access.” Follow EPOG here. She attended and spoke on a panel at the 2015 Lat Crit Conference, held October 1 through 3 in Southern California. From her experience there, Ms. Steefel filed the following account:
Inclusiveness: the word continually came to mind throughout the 2015 Latina & Latino Critical Legal Theory Conference. Both the scholarly work and the atmosphere of the conference were infused with values of inclusiveness, diversity, and challenging the status quo. As a one of the few students attending the conference of faculty members, I was slightly apprehensive before the weekend. However, I had no reason for such apprehension. The anti-hierarchical and non-presumptuous vibe of the conference made a student like myself feel comfortable sitting next to anyone at any event during the three days. At almost every meal–all with ample vegetarian and vegan options–I sat next to someone new and had an engaging conversation. At every panel, comments and feedback from all members of the audience were encouraged and the children of those parent faculty member were welcomed. Each conversation left me thinking about a new way to pursue social justice.
It was invigorating to see the work of so many faculty members dedicated to disrupting subordination in its numerous forms and to advancing racial, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic justice. One of my favorite panels was called, “Prison Reform: Theory and Practice.” The three person panel examined prisons from various aspects such as: prisoners’ rights in jail, the manifestation of protests of prisons in the form of hip hop music, and a discussion of prison common spaces. The three completely distinct scholarly works all attacked the same problem of the treatment of prison, yet from very different perspectives. The three approaches side-by-side demonstrated the wide-range of issues facing the living standards of prisons.
One slight negative from the weekend is that I am even less sure of how I want to fight for social justice because my eyes were opened to so many new ways to do so. The three days exposed me to many different avenues to chip away at subordination. The huge presence of DU faculty at the conference was immensely encouraging for me as a student, illuminating the many rich resources available at Denver Law to help me find my path after law school.
Denver Law’s RPL Group is a presence at the 2015 Lat Crit Conference
October 03, 2015
2015 Leonard v.B.Sutton Colloquium
September 29, 2015
The 48th Annual Sutton Colloquium takes on the serious issues challenging the international community in their efforts to achieve Sustainable Development and Sustainable Energy goals. These goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet, enable access to sustainable energy for the common good. Leading academics and experts will engage in discussion around these challenges to global governance and the opportunities available to move ahead.
The Myles S. McDougal Lecture will be presented by Dr. Lakshman D. Guruswamy, Nicholas Doman Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Boulder. His topic, Global Energy Justice: The Jurisprudential Lineage, will look at existing principles of justice over the ages and argue that they should be applied in the solution of providing sustainable, renewable energy to the poor of the world.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 10th, 2015, from 8:30am – 5:30pm at the Sturm College of Law. CLE credits are available.
Be Part of the Pipeline Project at Denver Law
September 22, 2015
To learn more about the Denver Law’s Pipeline Project, and to volunteer for any of the opportunities below, please contact Randy Wagner
Chancellor Chopp and others on the need for increasing access to higher education
September 18, 2015
The September 18 inauguration ceremonies to install Rebecca Chopp as DU’s 18th chancellor included a breakfast panel which gave Chopp, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other state education leaders a platform to explore and examine “the importance to Colorado of increasing access to higher education.”
Chancellor Chopp praised higher education as a public, and not just a private, good crucial to the nation. “Democracy and education have gone hand in hand throughout our country’s history,” she stated. Mayor Hancock emphasized the role colleges play in preparing their students to operate well in an increasingly diverse and globalized world.
Other panelists were Metro State University President Stephen Jordan, Colorado Community College System President Nancy McCallin, and Tim Foster, President of Colorado Mesa University. They spoke about the value of and need for access institutions within higher education. “The faces of our students,” said Jordan, “should reflect the faces of our community, and the faces of our faculty should reflect the faces of our students.”
See video-recorded highlights of the breakfast panel on access to higher education here.
Purvi Shah: Movement lawyering to support social justice
September 11, 2015
Purvi Shah, from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City, spoke with Denver Law students on September 11, 2015, about social movement lawyering. Drawing from her work and experiences in Ferguson, Missouri, and other locations, Ms. Shah began by emphasizing strategy rather than tactics: “I want us to take…a step back and talk about strategy,” she said. “Not what are we going to do, but two other questions that are more important. Why do we do it? And how?”
A series of “Rules of Movement Lawyering” followed, beginning with this one: “If you want to be a movement lawyer, the first thing to do is train yourself to run to the fire. When everybody else is running in the opposite direction, that is actually a significant data point for you. That means it is time to run in the direction where everything is going on.”
The second rule she offered is, “Go without an agenda”—on arrival, withstand the urge to jump in and immediately start doing and, instead, take time to listen. Lawyers have a set of skills valuable to social change but not sufficient to make it happen. It is vital to build coalitions with all participants. That begins by understanding the perspectives of others involved.
“Decide what side you are on,” is Ms. Shah’s third rule of movement lawyering. The fourth is, “You have do decide what you are going to do….Figure out what is needed in that moment.” Make signs, prepare food, pitch in. Lawyering is not the only work a movement lawyer does, and legal advocacy is not the only thing that drives a movement for social change. “High impact, low ego is a really beautiful, fitting anthem for …movement lawyers,” she said. “[I]t’s really trying to move yourself to the place where you will do what needs to be done.” Doing what is needed, she counseled, can be less than glamorous, and all roles have value. Next, she emphasized that this work is traumatizing and painful. It is important, throughout the process, to be self-aware “of your emotional capacities to do this work.” Those building and sustaining effective movements must stay emotionally well and whole.
Lastly, she counseled, it is the nature of social movements that, “No one knows what they are doing,” no one has all the answers, the perfect strategy. What does this mean? A movement lawyer must be open, reflective, self-aware, adaptive and collaborative. “Justice is a team sport,” she said. Prepare yourself for opportunities. The question to ask yourself, she said, is, “Can you do your part to move us to the next place?”
Ms. Shah directs the Bertha Justice Institute at the CCR. The institute is designed “to build a new generation of lawyers and legal workers that have the vision, expertise and determination to create social change.” Her talk at Denver Law kicked off a two-day meeting, “Lawyering for the Public Good: A Gathering of Denver Law Students Committed to Social Justice.” See and hear her discussion with Denver Law students on September 11, 2015 here.