Highlighted the Pursuit of Excellence and Diversity in Education
SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thomas
Jefferson School of Law presented its 16th Annual Women and the Law
Conference, Pursuing Excellence: Diversity in Higher Education.
The conference brought together leading academics, educators,
institutional leaders, and policy makers to examine how diversity in
institutions of higher education affects and inspires students, faculty,
With more than 150 people attending the February 5, 2016 event,
discussions focused on a number of critically important topics including
facilitating educational access for undocumented students, challenges to
developing and nurturing a diverse educational environment, and the
importance of training students in professional programs (including
medicine and law) to serve diverse populations.
Bryant Garth, Thomas Jefferson Law Board of Trustees, Chancellor’s
Professor of Law at UC Irvine School of Law, former Dean at Southwestern
Law School and Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Director of
the American Bar Foundation, delivered the keynote Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“In view of the Supreme Court’s new examination of the role of diversity
in university admissions, the timing is perfect for this conference; and
Thomas Jefferson, with its long commitment to diversity, is the ideal
venue,” said Garth.
Under Prop 209, California became the first state to ban the use
of race and ethnicity in public university admissions, as well as hiring
and contracting. Since its adoption in 1996, California’s most selective
public colleges and graduate schools have struggled to assemble student
bodies that reflect the state’s demographic mix. The United States
Supreme Court is currently considering the second iteration of the case Fisher
v. University of Texas, with a decision expected by the end of June.
This case centers upon whether or not affirmative action violates the
constitution and the 14th Amendment right to Equal Protection for
Fisher, a white female.
Additional discussions focused on a number of critically important
topics including facilitating educational access for undocumented
students, challenges to developing and nurturing a diverse educational
environment, and the importance of training students in professional
programs (including medicine and law) to serve diverse populations.
“The interaction between diversity and admissions, financial aid,
faculty, the student body and the future can be difficult to navigate,
especially when the number of people aspiring to be lawyers is in
serious decline,” said President and Dean Thomas Guernsey. “But
considering the state of the profession, diversity isn’t an option, it’s
our lifeblood. We find tremendous value in leading conversations on
diversity in education.”
A leadership roundtable concluded the event with prominent panelists
Toni Atkins, Speaker of the California Assembly; Adrian Gonzales,
Interim Superintendent/President and Vice President of Student Services,
Palomar Community College; Vallera Johnson, Administrative Law Judge;
and Susan Westerberg Prager, Dean, Southwestern Law School, former Dean
at UCLA School of Law and Executive Director/CEO of AALS.
About Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers a comprehensive legal education to
a nationally-based, diverse student body. The non-profit law school is
consistently ranked as one of the most diverse law schools in the
nation, with 52 percent of its most recent class being students of
color. Located in Downtown San Diego, Thomas Jefferson Law has evolved
into an innovative, cutting-edge law school, devoted to the individual
needs and success of its students. More information is available at www.tjsl.edu.
Marlee J Ehrenfeld, 619-682-3841