Mural in honor of George Floyd

Commitment to Racial Justice

Minnesota Law’s Commitment to Social Justice

The University of Minnesota Law School is committed to creating a more just society for our local, national, and international communities. Alongside many of you, we have been working hard toward change, but we know there is still a long road ahead. Racial and social justice work is both urgent and long-term, and Minnesota Law’s mission—focused on education, outreach, and research—includes a shared responsibility to educate lawyer-leaders who will also work to bring about justice and change. The lives of our BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and alumni community members matter and we are energized and determined to succeed in this important work.

You can learn more about what Minnesota Law is doing to bring about change by reading Dean Jenkins’ response to an open letter from law students about Minnesota Law’s commitment to racial justice.


Our Curriculum: New and Returning Courses

For Fall 2020, we offered the following new and returning courses related to racial justice, in addition to our regularly-scheduled courses. We continue to revise our curriculum and work with community members and faculty on new courses for spring.

  • George Floyd’s Minneapolis: Past, Present, and Moving Forward with Dean Jenkins & Professor Perry Moriearty (6869)
  • Race and the Law: Systems, Structures, and Solutions with Adjunct Professor Judge Nicole Starr (6915)
  • Public Interest Advocacy and State Attorney General with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison ‘90 (6821)
  • International Human Rights with Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (6886)

Learn more about how the Law School expanded its racial justice curriculum.

To view these course offerings, visit our course guide.


Our Ongoing Commitment to Racial Equity & Justice

To inform our longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dean Jenkins appointed a new Racial Equity & Justice Committee, which includes faculty, leadership, and students, and is tasked with working towards structural change by developing and tracking actions, and providing accountability and transparency on our efforts.

Assistant Dean of Students Erin Keyes is chairing the Diversity & Belonging Affinity Council (formerly the Diversity & Belonging Committee), along with Nubia Esparza (Senior Coordinator of Diversity & Student Programs), and Simona Suen (Senior Recruiting and Diversity Coordinator), and student leaders from each affinity student organization, with goals of creating pathways for involvement and input from the student community, collaborating on programming for our ongoing discussion series, and providing feedback to the Racial Equity & Justice Committee.

Read more about equity, diversity, and inclusion at Minnesota Law.


Minnesota Law’s Response to the Killing of George Floyd

In his June 1 message to the Minnesota Law community, Dean Garry W. Jenkins wrote:

“Our mission at the University of Minnesota Law School is to educate lawyer-leaders who make a difference to people, organizations, the profession, and the world. I hope you will all stand with me in acknowledging the deep, troubling, and systemic inequities in this country, as well as dedicating ourselves to making the changes necessary to address injustice. Our clinics, which have long-been deeply connected to and in service to our community, will expand its efforts. We also seek to bolster our research and understanding of the problems and potential solutions. I look forward to working collaboratively with our faculty, staff, and students on more and new ideas and initiatives to bring our skills, ideas, knowledge, and resources to bear.”

Where Minnesota Law Stands


The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law

Catlan M. McCurdy ’11 and Sanjiv P. Laud ’12 With a generous gift from Catlan M. McCurdy ’11 and Sanjiv P. Laud ’12, and an equal match from the Law School, the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law was announced in June 2020.

The endowed scholarship will provide critical financial support, allowing underrepresented students, and Black or African-American students in particular, to pursue careers in the law and achieve their dreams.

“Mr. Floyd’s killing was a tragic reminder of the inequity and injustice facing Black Americans today, despite the decades that have passed since the civil rights movement,” McCurdy and Laud observe in their statement announcing the establishment of the scholarship. They expressed a hope that recipients of this scholarship will join the legal profession and join Minnesota Law alumni in advocating for racial justice and equality. Read more and support the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law.


New Exhibit from the Law Library: Law and the Struggle for Racial Justice

The Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center opened a new fall exhibit, Law and the Struggle for Racial Justice, on September 8th. Students may tour the exhibit individually by appointment. For a preview of two items featured in the exhibit, see the Center’s recent blog posts on the Sweet murder trials and the 1935 Harlem riot. Please contact Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections, at rgreenwo@umn.edu for more information or to arrange a visit to the exhibit.

View the digital exhibit for Law and the Struggle for Racial Justice.

New Guide from the Law Library: Law Enforcement and Racial Justice

Vic Garces, Reference Administration & Web Services Librarian, has published a new Library guide, Law Enforcement and Racial Justice, which brings together a variety of resources for researching issues related to policing and racial injustice.


Minnesota Law in the News

Jessica Bontemps, 2LMinnesota Law Students Flock to Aid George Floyd Protesters, Advocate for Change

When Professor Perry Moriearty put a call out for Minnesota Law students and recent graduates to help individuals arrested protesting the tragic killing of George Floyd, she had no idea that, only four hours later, she’d have 100-plus volunteers register for training.

“It was incredible,” said Prof. Moriearty, who had asked only a handful of students to get the word out.

The hour-long virtual training session prepared students to staff a legal support hotline run by the Legal Rights Center (LRC) and the National Lawyers Guild’s Minnesota Chapter. The hotline helps protesters who were arrested and their families get the legal and emotional support they need. Read the full story online in Minnesota Law Magazine.


Minnesota-Specific Learning

Resources from Student Affairs

Resources for Racial and Social Justice (updated frequently)

Career Center Resources

Public Service, Volunteer Opportunities & Other Information from the Career Center is updated frequently.
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Bias Response Referral Network

Confidentially report incidents of bias to the University’s Bias Response Referral Network.

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