American Bar Association Proposed Diversity and Inclusion Accreditation Standard

ABA:

Revised Standard 206 aims to achieve the effective educational use of diversity, the compelling state interest recognized in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), Fisher v. University of Texas, 570 U.S. 297 (2013) (Fisher I), and Fisher v. University of Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2198 (2016) (Fisher II). Subsection (a) outlines three things a law school must provide in service of this goal, related respectively to the student body, faculty and staff, and an inclusive and equitable environment.

Subsection (a)(1) requires a school to provide full access to the study of law and membership in the profession to all persons but focuses particularly on underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity. This focus acknowledges the unique historical injustices and contemporary challenges faced by those groups. Subsection (a)(2) requires a school to include members of underrepresented groups in its faculty and staff, but again requires a particular focus on underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity. Subsection (a)(3) requires an inclusive and equitable environment for a larger list of groups.

Subsection (b) indicates that subsections (a)(1) and (2) will be enforced through analysis of data collected by the law school through the ABA Annual Questionnaire (AQ). However, the law school is required to publish the data already collected to ensure public scrutiny of its progress in meeting the Standard.

Subsection (c) focuses on the enforcement of Subsection (a)(3) by requiring an annual assessment of the inclusivity and equity of a law school’s educational environment. The law school is required to provide the results of this assessment (which could be a law school climate survey, the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), or similar assessment mechanism) to the faculty and to the Council upon request and is required to take concrete actions to address any deficiencies.

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