Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place & Law

Other RPL News

Professor Catherine Smith testified on February 24th, 2020 in support of the CROWN Act of 2020 before the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee. The CROWN Act (“Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2020) is designed to address discrimination on the basis of hair, a particularly pernicious form of race discrimination against African-Americans, especially African-American women and girls. Black men and boys, and people of Jewish, Latinx and Native American descent have experienced similar struggles. The CROWN Act would prohibit this kind of race discrimination. Professor Smith teaches and writes in the areas of civil rights and employment discrimination. Her testimony will focus explaining why hair discrimination is race discrimination by explaining our country's history of using skin color, nose width and hair texture as a means to control and stigmatize Black people and other historically marginalized groups.

Community Building Session & Reception for 1L/Transfer Students of Color – August 17, 5:30pm to 7:30pm; Gottesfeld Room, Ritchie Center
The Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place and Law will be hosting a session for incoming 1L and transfer students who identify as people of color to engage with Denver Law faculty and staff of color at a community-building session. Food and drink will be provided. Please RSVP here

RPL member Nancy Ehrenreich spoke at an event on reproductive justice, addressing how choice alone is inadequate to serve the interests of low-income women and women of color. Read more about the event here.

The Homeless Advocacy Policy Project (HAPP) is a student-driven project at Denver Law that focuses on research and analysis of law criminalizing homelessness. HAPP grew out of RPL Prof. Nantiya Ruan’s Homeless Advocacy Policy Seminar, taught in the Fall of 2015 at Denver Law. On February 16, 2016, HAPP released “Too High a Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado,” their report on ordinances enacted and enforced by Colorado cities that criminalize activities homeless people necessarily perform in the course of their daily lives–camping, sitting or lying in public, panhandling, and more. In all, HAPP identified over 350 anti-homeless ordinances in place in 76 cities. Their report estimates that in Denver alone enforcement of only five of these anti-homeless ordinances cost the city well over three million dollars in the years 2010-14 and achieved little positive effect on the problems of the homeless in our city. “Modern homelessness is a solvable problem,” the report concludes. “Unfortunately, too many Colorado cities are attempting to ‘solve’ the visible problem of homelessness by making them ‘invisible’ through criminalization.” Read more about HAPP’s report here.

RPL members Catherine Smith and Susannah Pollvogt were among the primary authors of an Amicus Curiae brief filed in the Supreme Court concerning the four consolidated marriage equality cases the Court is considering this term. Professors Smith and Pollvogt submitted the brief on behalf of scholars of the constitutional rights of children. You can read the brief here.

RPL member Kyle Velte was counsel of record on an Amicus Curiae brief filed in the Supreme Court concerning the four consolidated marriage equality cases the Court is considering this term. Professor Velte represented BiLaw, the first ever national organization of bisexual-identified lawyers, academics, law students, and their allies in this country. You can read the brief here.

RPL member Roberto Corrada received the Outstanding Faculty Advocate Award at the University of Denver 2015 Diversity Summit, a campus-wide event held January 23, 2015. “Roberto Corrada,” the award read, “has devoted his academic career at the University of Denver— more than 24 years—to championing the rights of ethnic and sexual minorities. A distinguished scholar, teacher, and community advocate, he has been recognized for his impressive contributions to legal scholarship, innovative work in the classroom, and leadership in service to local and national communities and professional organizations. His expertise in these areas was invaluable to the work of the committee on the Status of Faculty and Staff of Color at DU. In co-chairing the committee, Roberto brought a national perspective regarding best practices of inclusion, equity and employment matters that could position DU to be a leader in building an inclusive workforce and welcoming professional community. He is a wonderful example of a Champion of Change!”

RPL member César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández received on January 5, 2015, the AALS Minority Groups Section Derrick Bell Award, which honors a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice. The award is named in honor of the late Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr., the first tenured African-American on the Harvard Law School faculty.

Report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (June 2014)
RPL co-submitted a shadow report to the committee reviewing the United States’ compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The report focuses on affirmative action obligations in the area of education, employment, and juvenile life without parole sentences. Read the report here.

Welcome Reception for Self-identified Diverse Students at Denver Law (September 5, 2014)
The Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place and Law (RPL) kicked off the academic year in good company. We hosted an informal get-together with diverse students and the RPL faculty.

RPL members Catherine Smith and Lucy Marsh were honored at the 2014 Annual Colorado Women’s Bar Association “Raising the Bar” Dinner as “Legal Educators Who Have Raised the Bar,” for their outstanding contributions to legal education.

RPL member Randy Wagner received the 2014 Staff Advisory Council Crimson and Gold Award. This award “is designed to recognize a staff member who displays outstanding commitment to and support of the University of Denver” by improving campus life for faculty, staff and students, as well as for exemplary volunteer work outside of their job duties. Randy received this award for his extensive work with the University Sustainability Council and organization of and participation in inclusiveness events such as the Inclusive Excellence Collective, Denver Urban Debate League, and the recent Pipeline Conference.

RPL member Kris McDaniel-Miccio, as named plaintiff in McDaniel-Miccio et. al. v State of Colorado, won a landmark judgment for the rights of same sex couples to marry. McDaniel-Miccio et. al. v State of Colorado was filed in February challenging the state constitutional ban, the state bar against recognition against gay marriages performed and legal in sister states and the effect of the Civil Union bill. The plaintiffs alleged that Colorado had violated their substantive due process rights and conceptions of equality guaranteed by the Colorado Constitution and the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. The State’s argument was that marriage should be confined to heterosexuals so as to encourage responsible child bearing. The Court found this argument particularly unfounded and irrational. Citing the 23 opinions from state and federal courts which struck down comparable statutes and constitutional amendments, the court found Colorado’s statutory scheme unconstitutional. In a decision issued by Judge Crabtree of the Adams County District Court, the Court held that indeed the State had violated plaintiffs right to marry, that the States refusal to recognize out of state marriages was a further violation of federal and state due process and equal protection and that the Civil Union bill created a separate and unequal system that relegated plaintiffs to second class citizenship.

The Law Society of Ireland, the UCD chapter, the largest in Ireland, is conferring an Honorary Lifetime Membership, their Lifetime Achievement Award for Professor Mc-Daniel-Miccio’s work, scholarship and teaching in the area of Human Rights, specifically in relation to gender violence and LGBT rights. Other recipients include, President Clinton, President Mary Robinson, Noam Chomsky, Antonin Scalia, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, Author Eevans Boland, Martin Sheen, Jeremy Irons to name a few.

RPL member Patience Crowder and her Community Economic Development Clinic is being awarded the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO)‘s Alianza Award at the annual Bernie Valdez Award Banquet on September 20th.

RPL member Margaret Kwoka was selected by the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) as the inaugural recipient of the SALT Junior Faculty Teaching Award, which “recognizes an outstanding recent entrant into legal education who demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and academic excellence through teaching.” Read more about it here:

Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208