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Inclusiveness Committee

Mission

Committee

  • Margaret Hu (Penn State) (Chair) hum@wlu.edu
  • Susan Kuo (South Carolina) (Vice Chair)
  • Deborah Ahrens (Seattle)
  • Bill Araiza (Brooklyn)
  • Jeremy Bock (Tulane)
  • Jane Cross (Nova Southeastern)
  • Andrea Dennis (Georgia)
  • Ben Fernandez (Florida)
  • Brian Gallini (Willamette)
  • Jeremy Kidd (Mercer)
  • Elizabeth Pendo (St. Louis)
  • Kenya Smith (Southern)
  • Jeffrey Usman (Belmont)

Important Links

2020 Annual Report

For 2019-2020, the Inclusiveness Committee reviewed the surveys and other informal responses received from members who attended the 2019 Annual Meeting. Feedback included creating more formal conversations for how to structure and implement inclusion strategies into the legal academy. Additionally, members encouraged the Committee to work to ensure inclusive representation in SEALS leadership and programming. One member specifically encouraged more female voices and voices of color on panels and discussion group topics that might be viewed as historically under-represented.

The Inclusiveness Committee worked together with the SEALS Deputy Executive Director in developing and participating in programming initiatives that were responsive to member feedback, such as the “Beating the Odds” Discussion Group to offer a forum for non-traditional law faculty candidates. The Chair and Vice Chair participated in a robust dialogue on challenges in the legal academy in a post-Floyd and post-COVID environment at the 2020 Leading Edge conference, hosted by Wolters Kluwer, a SEALS’ meeting sponsor.

The Inclusiveness Committee also hosted a Discussion Group at the 2020 SEALS Annual Meeting titled, “The Future of Inclusivity.” The discussion was very thoughtful and provided potential action items for the participants on how to increase inclusion efforts at member institutions. Finally, the Inclusiveness Committee learned in 2020 that the Omni Amelia Island Hotel and Resort had dropped “Plantation” from the hotel name. The Inclusiveness Committee had drafted a letter for the Board to send to the Omni in 2016/2017, sharing the Inclusiveness concerns of its members and why “Plantation” was viewed as objectionable by some SEALS members

2018 Annual Report

During the 2017-2018 year, the committee engaged in the following activities:

  • Reviewed 2017 annual meeting survey responses for inclusiveness concerns
  • Reviewed 2017 annual meeting new scholars survey responses for inclusiveness concerns
  • Hosted a discussion group at the 2017 annual meeting that addressed inclusiveness concerns (discussion group on national security issues and the Executive Order on the travel ban)
  • Encouraged review of future conference sites and potential conference sites for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Encouraged review of future conference sites and potential conference sites for compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws
  • Discouraged considering Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort as a future conference site in light of member concerns
  • Discussed drafting a mission statement for the Inclusiveness Committee and began the process of drafting a mission statement

2017 Annual Report

During the 2016-2017 year, the committee engaged in the following activities:

  • Reviewed 2016 annual meeting survey responses for inclusiveness concerns
  • Reviewed 2016 annual meeting new scholars survey responses for inclusiveness concerns
  • Supported the recommendation to host a discussion group or panel in 2017 that addresses inclusiveness concerns (will host a discussion group on national security issues and the recent Executive Order on the travel ban)
  • Encouraged review of future conference sites and potential conference sites for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Encouraged review of future conference sites and potential conference sites for compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws
  • Encouraged an alternate hotel venue in 2016 for those meeting participants who did not wish to stay at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
  • Participated in meeting with hotel management at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort during the 2016 Annual Meeting to discuss member concerns
  • Recommended posting on the SEALS website the new letter from the Board on actions taken in response to concerns expressed about the 2016 conference venue, including notice of a resolution passed by the Board not to return to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort hotel until “Plantation” is removed from the hotel name
  • Discussed drafting a mission statement for the Inclusiveness Committee and began process of drafting a mission statement

2016 Annual Report

During the 2015-2016 year, the committee engaged in the following activities:

  • Reviewed 2015 annual meeting survey responses for inclusiveness concerns
  • Reviewed 2015 annual meeting new scholars survey responses for inclusiveness concerns
  • Supported the recommendation to honor Kosher meal requests by conference attendees if supported by conference budget
  • Encouraged review of conference sites and potential conference sites for compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Encouraged review of conference sites and potential conference sites for compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws
  • Committee served as liaison for communications with 26 minority faculty representatives from SEALS member institutions concerned with 2016 conference venue (Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort and inclusion of “Plantation” in hotel name) and who wished to remain anonymous
  • Recommended the arrangement of alternative hotel accommodations for 2016 SEALS conference
  • Recommended posting on SEALS website statement from Board on actions taken in response to concerns expressed about 2016 conference venue, including notice of resolution passed by Board not to return to Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort hotel until “Plantation” is removed from hotel name
  • Recommended posting on SEALS website letter from Board to Omni Hotel corporate leadership stating concerns regarding the inclusion of “Plantation” in hotel name
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