We recently received as a carbon copy this email to Dean Testy from a law student at a school other than UW Law. Please read and contemplate her points, then write the administration and their bosses yourself: Dean Testy <email@example.com>, Prof. Maranville <firstname.lastname@example.org>, UW President Michael Young <email@example.com>, UW Provost <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Board of Regents <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter from law student Megan
Dear Dean Testy —
I am writing as a law student to urge you to redirect those resources which you currently plan to put into a prosecution clinic at UW into meaningful programs to increase diversity and support students of color at UW, or into clinical programs that will provide opportunities for all UW Law students to better understand the racial injustice that is so deeply embedded in our society.
As someone who has been deeply moved and whose legal skills have been greatly improved through my own work with incarcerated clients, I both appreciate how clinical work can transform one’s legal education and how the criminal justice system can needlessly destroy the lives not just of wrongdoers, but of their families and friends. I believe strongly that clinical work should not just serve educational goals, but also provide a means by which law students can serve their communities – particularly by fulfilling legal needs that would otherwise be unmet. Prosecution is not one of these needs. Even if one feels strongly that a law school must train future prosecutors, the fundamental principles of the American legal system argue strongly in favor of providing equal training and opportunity to educate future lawyers for both sides of the criminal trial. Moreover, the department with which the clinic will work is one with a recent and troubling history of racial animus among its attorneys.
Besides these intrinsic problems, the speed at which the clinic gained status is at least awkward, if not insulting, given long-standing and long-frustrated efforts of students of color at UW – efforts not dissimilar to those at my own law school – to gain resources for important critical race scholarship and diversity efforts to make UW a more welcoming community for students and faculty of color.
Thank you for your time and consideration.