Dean Gregory Mandel has announced the appointment of Associate Dean Donald Harris to serve as Temple Law’s inaugural Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Liaison. The appointment comes as part of a series of initiatives undertaken to improve accessibility and make the law school a more diverse, inclusive community.
In this role, Dean Harris will work closely with Valerie Harrison, Senior Advisor on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Office of the President, and the members of Temple’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Leadership (IDEAL) as well as with Dean Bretschneider and the Student Services team and others throughout Temple Law to identify tangible, meaningful actions the law school can take to become a more inclusive and equitable academic community.
“Dean Harris is an exceptional leader and a tireless advocate for our students, in particular those from underrepresented communities and our first-generation students,” said Dean Mandel. “Making our community as welcoming, supportive, and accessible as possible is central to the principles upon which this law school was founded, and I know that Dean Harris will lead us forward with the same thoughtfulness and care he has brought to the rest of his work here.”
“I am excited and eager to take on this new role,” said Dean Harris, “both because the Temple Law community is a special place and because we have an opportunity, at this moment in time, to make significant progress toward a more equitable and just society – but to do that, we will need lawyers with a vision for how to get there. I have the good fortune to work with many colleagues in the Temple Law faculty and administration who have made these ideals – equity and justice – a focus of their life’s work. I believe that Temple Law students, most of whom come here because they want to make the world a better place, can also be leaders on this journey.”
The recommendation to appoint a diversity officer came from both the Dean’s Advisory Council on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and an ad hoc Racial Justice Working Group, convened amid the national unrest over police brutality and systemic racism. A second initiative, to better communicate the law school’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion on its website, has also recently gone live.
“I want to thank Dean Harris, the members of the Dean’s Advisory Council on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Racial Justice Working Group, and those who worked hard to develop the new equity, diversity, and inclusion webpages so quickly, especially while continuing to work on the many challenges of preparing for the fall semester during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dean Mandel in a message to the law school community. “It is evidence of the urgency and great care with which they have approached this work, and I am eager for us to build on these initiatives, together.”