UCI Law adopts new race course requirement

The University of California, Irvine School of Law announced the adoption of a curriculum requirement for graduation that requires all students to complete a graded course which includes substantial content relating to “race and indigeneity, structural inequity, and the historical bases for such inequity.”

Led by UCI Law’s Curriculum Committee and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, the school will also debut a new first-year elective in Spring 2022 that will allow students to meet the race and indigeneity requirement in their first year of law school.

The new graduation requirement supports a larger effort by faculty to integrate considerations of race and indigeneity, particularly in the first-year required courses, but also in required core clinics and other upper-level courses, officials said.

“Dismantling centuries of Anti-Blackness and racism will not occur overnight, but we must commit to action and not simply platitudes,” said L. Song Richardson, dean of the law school. “For us at UCI Law, change not only begins with asking how we can do better to fight against Anti-Blackness and racism, in all of its manifestations, but also asking how we can use our voices, our power, our scholarship, our teaching and our influence to make changes in the profession and society.”

Sadaf Doost, a second year and student representative for the DEI Committee, said that with this requirement “the law school is signaling to the legal field that the work of undoing systemic oppression and racism within the legal profession is a responsibility shared by all, irrespective of career practice areas and interests. 

UCI Law faculty already teach a substantial number of courses devoted to race, indigeneity and the law that will enable students to meet the requirement. The faculty will also develop new courses, including classes taught by faculty joining for the 2021-22 academic year to be announced at a later time.