An update on the Anti-Racism Working Group from Dean Chamberlain

November 08, 2022

I am writing to you to today to share the final report of Western Law’s Anti-Racism Working Group (ARWG). In 2020, I called for a committee to be formed as part of the Faculty’s response to the President’s Anti-Racism Working Group Report. We knew we had work to do to identify and confront racism and exclusion at Western Law.

I asked the ARWG, comprised of faculty, staff, an alumnus, and JD and graduate students, to develop short and long-term recommendations to improve racial diversity and inclusion at Western Law through student and faculty recruitment, academic and co-curricular programming, and student supports.

Following a thorough research and consultative process, the ARWG has made 53 recommendations. I fully accept all the recommendations, and will immediately prioritize the following:

  • Hiring a professional in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization (EDID) to lead the implementation of the ARWG’s recommendations and other initiatives;
  • Establishing a standing committee on EDID, with representation from faculty, staff, JD and graduate students, and alumni;
  • Developing a program of relevant anti-racism and other EDID training opportunities for all members of our community; and
  • Providing funding to the SLS Diversity Committee to support Diversity Month and related programming at the law school.

These recommendations build on some of the initiatives that we’ve already begun to implement at Western Law, including:

  • Increasing financial aid for Black, Indigenous and racialized students;
  • Offering a free LSAT prep course for Black, Indigenous, and low-income candidates;
  • Providing new curricular offerings, including a compulsory course in Indigenous Law for second-year students, and electives in areas like Hate Speech and Racial Profiling by Police;
  • Supporting applied research through the Hidden Racial Profiling Project; and
  • Hiring a new Indigenous Programs Coordinator (in progress).

We will hold ourselves accountable as we move forward with this important work. My office will provide regular updates to the Western Law community on the implementation of the ARWG’s recommendations and will post these updates to our website.

I would like to thank the members of the ARWG for their dedication, and especially co-chairs Professor Melanie Randall and Rahul Sapra (JD/HBA’22). I am grateful to our Western Law community for sharing their experiences and to the ARWG for compiling feedback into this report.

I look forward to working with all of you as we seek to make Western Law a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming learning community for everyone. I am confident in our commitment and ability to make lasting change together.

Yours truly,

Erika Chamberlain