Ad-hoc committee established to perfect diversity resolution

During the Student Bar Association meeting on Feb. 2, the resolution intended to address diversity issues that was discussed last semester advanced further, although no vote was held.

SBA delegates Mike Mazzella and Amber Smith , sponsors of the resolution, presented a new version incorporating the feedback from the previous meeting and private discussions they had over break.  The major changes included the striking of language discussing the resolution’s possible free speech implications, which the authors felt needed clarification.

Another change was the reworking of the divisive proposal to add a diversity education requirement to graduation.  The proposal had drawn substantial criticism in the earlier meeting, with students concerned that additional graduation requirements would impose a further burden on already-constrained class selection opportunities.  Instead, Mazella and Smith suggested that the Professional Responsibility course, a two-credit class mandated by the American Bar Association, be expanded to three credit hours and feature diversity education.

SBA President Rachel Morris, acting on an agreement between the SBA executive board and the sponsors, moved to establish an ad-hoc committee to clarify and perfect the language of the resolution.  SBA Attorney General Ben Clark was voted in by resolution to head the committee.  Supporters cited his impartiality (the Attorney General cannot vote on resolutions) and his demonstrated expertise at managing meetings.

The composition of the committee has yet to be determined, although Morris said that she is looking for around fourteen or so SBA  delegates.  The delegates will be selected to be representative of the variety of opinions presented at prior meetings.

While no firm date was set for further action on the resolution, a vote could happen as soon as the next SBA meeting on Feb. 9, but more likely will wait until the following meeting later this month.

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