We Are All on the Journey: Transforming Antagonistic Spaces in Law School Classrooms
Law Review Article
diverse campus environment, campus climate
This essay begins and ends with Fisher II, the most recent addition to the law on diversity in admissions to institutions of higher education. The body of the essay, however, focuses on diversity in law schools and specifically on transforming the law school classroom, which is too often antagonistic space for traditionally underrepresented students. The long-term project of creating law schools and a legal profession that are inclusive, that are spaces of belonging, is a journey on which admissions is only one milestone. Though this is a shared project—we are all on the journey—our individual experiences inform and guide this larger journey.
I begin with my own work on equity and inclusion in the law school classroom. The goal is to create a learning environment that communicates to students from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented and/or marginalized that they belong in law school and that they bring valuable experiences and perspectives to the enterprise of law. I include specific teaching strategies that exemplify how faculty can integrate equity and inclusion into “regular” doctrinal classes. I then draw from research on the importance of social belonging to learning and work on microaggressions to provide a framework for these strategies. I end with reflections on how teaching for belonging leads to more searching and more extensive struggle to move law toward equity and justice.