Berkeley Law to Require All Students to Take a Course on Race

Starting with the entering class in August 2023, students at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law will be required to take at least one course on race and the law in order to graduate.

Students will need to take at least two units from a menu of classes that focus on how laws and legal institutions shape and are shaped by racism and other forms of systemic inequality. The faculty also committed to consistently offering enough courses so all students can meet the requirement.

The law school is currently offering four new courses that deal with issues of race and the law: Critical Theories of Law: Race, Gender, and Sexuality; Law, Public Health, and Police Use of Force; The Court of Public Opinion: Advocacy Outside of the Courtroom; and Policing Families.

“I am delighted that the faculty overwhelmingly approved this recommendation,” says Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. “No law student can be prepared to practice law in any field without an understanding of the role of race in American law, both historically and today. A distinguishing characteristic of Berkeley Law is our public mission, and this requirement sends an important message about our school’s commitment to equality and justice.”

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  1. Simply because UC Berkeley School of law students will have to take a pittance two courses on race will not absolve White, Asian, and Latino students and faculty and staff of their deeply embedded racist proclivities. This “all with deliberate speed” initiative will do relatively nothing as it concerns the overall operations, admissions, and functioning at the law school. It only looks good optically, symbolically, and not substantively.

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