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Students attending law school — in San Francisco — claim campus steeped in racism

Students attending a top law school in the heart of San Francisco, a Democratic stronghold, claim their institution is steeped in racism.

Their proof? A lengthy investigative report by KQED, a publicly funded news outlet, cited three main anecdotes from UC College of the Law, San Francisco, formerly called UC Hastings Law.

The first example centered on a black law student given an assignment on workplace discrimination.

“The case involved an employee who called another employee the N-word, and [Megan] Wilhelm was tasked with defending the perpetrator’s employer,” KQED reported. “Wilhelm recalls being the only Black student in the room asked to participate, and said she felt alienated when a teacher’s assistant told other students they could use the N-word because it was a fact of the case.”

Wilhelm “would cry every day” and filed a complaint with the dean of students, the news outlet reported.

The second example of racism cited in the KQED report was the fact that the law school hosted conservative legal scholar Ilya Shapiro last year, a guest of the conservative legal group the Federalist Society.

“Shapiro had recently posted racist tweets denigrating the Black female judges President Biden was considering for the Supreme Court,” KQED reported, inaccurately paraphrasing Shapiro’s tweet argument against affirmative action.

Shapiro’s speech was shut down by raucous protestors. The students were not punished for canceling the speech. The university later enacted a policy prohibiting protests that shut campus events down.

“For us, it was trying to convey a message that we are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. We are paying the same tuition as white students and we aren’t getting the same treatment,” Dominique Armstrong, then co-president of the school’s Black Law Student Association, who helped organize the protest, told KQED. “There isn’t much acknowledgement of race, and our administration has done little to address the racism and misogyny in our coursework.”

The third example of racism cited in the investigative report was a Chinese student who said she was told by a peer: “You should thank Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal for you being a student at this law school, because without him, Chinese people wouldn’t be allowed in this space.”

Students collected similar anecdotes and presented them to a campus administrator in late April, according to the article, which did not detail or summarize the complaints.

The university and California lawmakers last year changed the name of the school from UC Hastings College of the Law to UC College of the Law, San Francisco. The law school, the oldest in California, was founded in 1878 by Democrat Serranus Clinton Hastings, who board leaders say “perpetrated genocidal acts against Native Californians.”

That claim has been disputed as somewhat misleading and inaccurate. Hastings’ family has filed a lawsuit against the school.

MORE: UC Hastings eliminates heckler’s veto in new free speech policy

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.