College Ranks Low on 2021's 'Whitest Law School Report,' Deans Still Promise Students They'll Work to Eliminate the Excess

College Ranks Low on 2021's 'Whitest Law School Report,' Deans Still Promise Students They'll Work to Eliminate the Excess
(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Last week, I covered the story of University of Dayton Law Professor Vernellia Randall’s “Whitest Law Schools Report.”

The annual analysis — which was first released in 2004 — rates law schools in “Total Whiteness.”

Vernellia encouraged listed institutions of higher learning to knock it off with the “excess whiteness.”

Amid those named: Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University.

Subsequently, a couple of deans in The Buckeye State are offended — by their schools’ whiteness.

Per an email obtained by The Washington Free Beacon, Case Western Reserve co-deans Michael Scharf and Jessica Berg aren’t happy that the college finds itself among America’s most competitively Caucasian.

To the student body, the pair had this to say:

First, we should not be satisfied with the diversity of our student body, even on the measures used in this study. It does not mean we have an equitable number of students who identify as Black, Native American, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or other under-represented groups.

Jessica and Michael did note that, since 2004, the percentage of nonwhite first-year law students has increased by 11%.

And don’t misunderstand — Case Western Reserve only made it to #144 in this year’s rundown of most “inappropriately white” schools.

Of the 200 schools profiled for paleness, only 21 had no “excess whiteness.”

Three of those were in Puerto Rico.

One was historically black Howard University.

Jessica and Michael made clear they hope the report will motivate the school to push toward greater nonwhiteness:

We are committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our law school community and know that we still have work to do in this area. This study draws attention to one measure, but its greater impact may be to help reinforce the need for additional conversations and initiatives.

In September 2020, the duo issued a letter to “students, staff and faculty of the law school” about the events of 2020 and how Case Western might bolster racial justice in the law program:

Mobilized by recent incidents of racism and police brutality, you helped us initiate a process of developing an action agenda for integrating racial justice into the curriculum, advocating for reform at local and national levels, and fostering a more equitable and inclusive environment at the law school.

We are committed to taking concrete steps to bring about change — not just during the news cycle, but over the long haul. We write to provide you an update on where things stand.

“We began with community brainstorming,” they explained. “During the past three weeks, more than thirty proposals were submitted by students, staff, and faculty through emails, Zoom meetings, and the evolving Google Document that we circulated for input. That iterative process is still ongoing. We are meeting with the leaders of the [Student Bar Association] and [Black Law Student Association] on a regular basis and will be receiving the BLSA’s collective input shortly.”

Among items on the horizon at the time:

  • Associate Dean of Diversity Bryan Adamson’s Webinar series on racial justice
  • The creation of a law school webpage with information about racial justice and reform
  • A “focused faculty conversation” on implementing racial justice in their lesson plans
  • Exploring options for diversity and inclusion training

The university even released the CWRU School of Law Race and Justice FAQ Document — updated in January — which included more efforts toward equity:

  • On August 5, the faculty unanimously approved a new course entitled Race, Law & Society. Nearly one-fourth of the Case Law faculty signed up to lead a one-credit seminar where students will engage with seminal works on and about race, and include expert presentations on structural racism as evinced in our criminal, housing, banking, health care, transportation and mass media systems. Many staff members also participated and around 90 students. These classes are ongoing.
  • On September 17, the Co-Deans posted on the Race and Justice website the minutes from their bi-weekly discussions over the summer with student leaders related to BLSA’s “Demands for Racial Justice: Action Plan Timeline” with eighteen proposed action items divided into three categories: “Immediate,” “Intermediate,” and Visionary


If the school’s looking for more ideas, perhaps it could take a cue from New York’s prestigious Columbia University.

As I wrote Sunday, “For the Class of 2021, the private Ivy League research university will offer (supplemental) virtual graduation ceremonies.”

Students will be able to participate in “Multicultural Graduation Ceremonies” set aside just for the following groups:

  • American Indian
  • Asian
  • “LGBTQIA+”
  • “Latinx”
  • Black
  • First-generation and/or low income

There’s much work to do.

If the Case Western Reserve really buckles down, perhaps in a few years it’ll rank as nonwhite as its Puerto Rican peers.



See more pieces from me:

Man Robs Bank to Pay Dealership for New BMW, Uses Dealership Loaner as Getaway Car

Ivy League University Offers Separate Graduation Ceremonies According to Race, Sexual Identity, and Income

Not Fit for MSNBC: Alabama GOP Presents Award Officially Declaring Trump ‘One of the Greatest’ Presidents

Find all my RedState work here.

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