Diversity & Inclusion
"We continue the fight for justice and equity because we must. Together we must use the law unremittingly to achieve a greater measure of justice in our own lifetimes, and we must raise an army of new lawyers to wage legal warfare against racial injustice."
Dean Craig M. Boise, Opening Remarks,
Annual College of Law Alumni of Color Reception, Sept. 25, 2020.
Syracuse University and the College of Law are committed to fostering a campus community that is free from discrimination and that celebrates the diversity of its community members within a supportive and inclusive learning environment. This commitment is rooted in the belief that multiple points of view and different life experiences, ethnicities, cultures, and belief systems are essential to academic excellence.
Our goal is that diversity be a core value not just in vision but in practice. At the College of Law, students join a community motivated by the values of respect and inclusion. By embracing the diversity of our community, we positively enrich our students’ learning experience. We expect that law school will challenge belief systems and preconceptions, and we encourage our students to be open to this challenge.
The ability to recognize and genuinely appreciate our individual differences in matters like gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, and age—among many others—allows us to learn and grow from the unique gifts that others bring to the College of Law. More often than not, we realize that we share remarkably similar values and aspirations for our lives.
At the College of Law, we want our students not only to embrace diversity, we want them to experience inclusion—to know what it means to belong. For with a sense of belonging, our students are able to help each other power through the challenges of law school and achieve their potential for greatness, knowing they are supported in their endeavors by their peers. This is what we at Syracuse mean when we speak of being part of the “Orange Nation.”
The rule of law is fundamental to maintaining pluralistic, democratic, and just societies and, here, that notion is strongly reinforced. Students also learn that in practice they must advocate for individuals or communities for which the law, due process, and protections have not been applied fairly or equally, whether as a result of systemic racism or other injustices. They are challenged to answer the question, “How must the world change in order for it to be more fair, equitable, and just, and how might I use my legal education to effect that change?”
As students move from law school into their careers, they will journey through various workplace cultures and represent a wide variety of client needs and interests. In an ever-changing and interconnected world, we pledge to prepare our students for the challenges and the opportunities of cross-cultural representation and to refine awareness and skills that will enhance their capacity to develop respectful relationships and effective communications styles for a successful career.
The College of Law’s Inclusion Council affirms my commitment to creating a campus that is not only free from discrimination but that also ensures we build on our individual and collective strengths, as a dimension of academic excellence.
The Council—comprised of College of Law faculty, staff, and students—is charged with identifying programs, resources, and activities that reinforce diversity and inclusion. The work of the Council guides diversity and inclusion programming for Orientation Week, Diversity Week, faculty and staff training, and many other events and initiatives.
Follow the Council's work on these pages, and please plan to get involved. We need you!
I am proud of the progress we have made toward greater diversity and deeper inclusiveness in our law school, but I recognize there is still much work to be done. At Syracuse, we stand together—and learn together—as one, for the greater good, to understand and uphold the law, to pursue truth and justice for all, and to use the power of the law to improve our world.
Craig M. Boise
Dean & Professor of Law
The College of Law is devoted to the inclusion and success of students with disabilities and those in need of special accommodations. To learn more, visit the Accommodations & Accessibility webpage or the Syracuse University Office of Disability Services, or contact Annette Jenner-Matthews, Senior Counselor.
Starting in 2019, the College of Law entered into 3+3 agreements with three Atlanta-based HBCU institutions: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. The 3+3 program at these and other colleges* allows students to finish the bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees in an accelerated format by completing all coursework required for the undergraduate major in three years and finishing their degree during their first year of law school at Syracuse.
"This is one of the ways we can address the legal profession’s need for more diversity among the ranks of lawyers," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "This program also includes sessions and workshops that assist students in the law school admissions process."
Contact the Admissions Office for specific information on applying as a 3+3 candidate.*Alfred University, Le Moyne College, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management.
Syracuse University is just minutes from the heartland of Onondaga Nation, the fire keepers of the Haudenosaunee, the indigenous peoples on whose ancestral land the University now stands.
The University is invested in a relationship with our Native American neighbors that promotes cross-cultural dialogue, research opportunities, and stronger appreciation for Native American leadership, innovation, and contribution.
SULAA Inclusion Network The mission of the SULAA Inclusion Network is to promote professional and personal friendship, association, and affiliation among alumni, to support future generations of College of Law students, and to strengthen the institution, by:
Alumna Felicia Collins Ocumarez L’98, G’98 has generously spearheaded an effort to establish a $150,000 Endowed Scholarship to support black College of Law students, as a part of the MCMIII Movement in honor of William Herbert Johnson’s graduation year (1903): make your donation here*.
*The deadline for raising the funds is December 31, 2020. If we don’t meet that threshold, the funds raised will be transferred to the Our Time Has Come scholarship fund for undergraduate students.
The Syracuse University College of Law Alumni of Color Awards are presented on behalf of the SULAA Inclusion Network and the College of Law to celebrate the distinguished achievements in any field of endeavor by living members of the Syracuse law family—alumni, current and former faculty and staff, students, parents and friends–for service to the College of Law, the legal profession, Syracuse University, or the world at large.
Syracuse University is fully committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive and respectful campus community, not only in vision but in practice. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is rooted in the belief that multiple points of view, life experiences, ethnicities, cultures and belief systems are essential to academic excellence.
Non-Discrimination Statement—Students have the right not to be discriminated against by any agent or organization of Syracuse University for reasons of being members of a protected category, including; creed, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation, reproductive health decisions, national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, political or social affiliation, age, race, color, veteran status, military status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence status, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. Students have the responsibility not to discriminate against others.