Dean's letter: The Impact of Law on American Civil Rights: A Personal Perspective - The University of Tulsa
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Dean’s letter: The Impact of Law on American Civil Rights: A Personal Perspective

Person leaning on railing
Oren Griffin

The Impact of Law on American Civil Rights: A Personal Perspective

This month, I am reminded of the enduring power of the Constitution to protect our freedom. We began with a stimulating visit from University of California Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a renowned authority on the U.S. Constitution.

In his speech, Chemerinsky emphasized the importance of free expression on college campuses, providing a comprehensive analysis of the reasons and methods behind it, particularly in our ever-evolving world. His insightful discourse shed light on the significance of creating an environment that fosters open dialogue and the exchange of ideas while ensuring student safety. We value and prioritize the presence of legal scholars on our campus, as they provide context for complex legal issues.

Since the birth of our nation, African American contributions have woven an indelible thread into the fabric of American history. From courageously battling on the front lines during the Civil War to painstakingly constructing cities and states brick by brick and pioneering for a brighter future, African Americans have been instrumental in shaping our story. In times of triumph and tragedy, the rule of law and the judicial system have been regarded as advocates for freedom, equality, and justice. More importantly, those of us on this side of history experience the wisdom gained from the past and the dreams we hold for the future, all under the guiding force of the law.

As we contemplate Black History Month from a TU Law perspective, it is important to acknowledge our complex history since our establishment more than 100 years ago. However, as we turn the page, it is heartening to observe the transformation from that somber past to a present where individuals from various backgrounds, cultures, genders, lifestyles, perspectives, and nationalities not only coexist but truly engage with one another. Even more significant is that all individuals can now benefit from the institution’s outstanding legal education, which enhances our experiences and reverberates throughout our spheres of influence.

I invite you to explore the impact of law on society through the diverse perspectives of those in our fraternity and in our realm. From the transformative power of how Ebony Iman Dallas uses art to shape our collective mindset and foster healing to the invaluable work of the Black Law Student Association in promoting unity among all students on campus, this month offered a variety of perspectives to inspire and educate. We are thrilled to share this news with you in hopes that it deepens your insight and broadens your understanding.