Dear members of the BC Law community:
I want to begin this week by updating you on our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the Law School. I have asked Professor Frank Garcia to chair a new faculty DEI Working Group. Professors Mike Cassidy, Hiba Hafiz, Steve Koh, and Fran Sherman will be joined by Legal Information Librarian and Lecturer in Law Laurel Davis, Assistant Dean of Graduate Enrollment Shawn McShay, and a representative from LSA leadership.
The DEI Working group will initially focus on three areas:
Participating in the hiring process for the new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs;
Considering ways in which the faculty might begin to think more critically about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom and curriculum;
And serving as the liaison group between the Law School and the Boston College Forum on Racial Justice.
One of the first initiatives of the Forum will be conversations about racial justice and racial healing modeled on restorative justice. Connecting the DEI Working Group to the Forum will allow our Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, chaired by Professor Evangeline Sarda and composed of students, faculty, staff and alumni, to finalize their report on how to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. This report will incorporate what we have learned about our campus climate from the diversity consultants and from our various open forums.
Earlier this week, the University provided an update on COVID-19 testing and how Governor Baker’s travel quarantine order affects Boston College. All Law School faculty and staff who will be working in-person on campus, along with those students who are starting in-person classes the week of August 24, will complete their mandatory testing the week of August 17. Our first-year students who will be attending in-person classes will complete their mandatory testing the week of August 24. There will be multiple testing sites across campus, including in Conte Forum. The University will communicate where these additional sites will be located shortly, as well as the process for scheduling testing. We expect students who have just arrived from a non-exempt area to remain “quarantined” in their homes until they receive a negative test result.
The University also provided more detailed information about its plan for shuttle buses and dining:
To comply with reduced capacity on shuttles, additional buses have been added to the Newton and Commonwealth Avenue shuttle routes. Protocols for comprehensive cleaning and sanitizing have also been put into place for all University shuttles.
Stuart Dining will be open with limited seating and modified service layouts to move lines quickly and serve guests safely. The Yellow Room will be exclusively operated by BC Dining and open for lunch and dinner with additional lines and the same menu selections. The Yellow Room will also be a pick-up location for GET Mobile ordering. Legal Grounds will not be open initially, but more popular items will be available through GET Mobile ordering. Please review the more detailed updates for BC Dining this fall.
It is important to pause here and discuss people’s physical presence on campus. Due to the need to control campus density and to help the University manage testing and contract tracing mandates, the number of people allowed on campus this fall at any one time will be very limited. A skeleton staff of administrators and staff, as well as instructors and students on in-person class days, will be present. So that means if you do not have an in-person class, you should not be physically present on campus. Our community will continue to conduct meetings, office hours, and advising online or over the phone. We will encourage virtual guest lectures and other virtual programs, but not be able to host them in person, and our Admissions team will be offering exclusively virtual tours, similar to the University plan. It is crucial for all of us to take these and other health and safety protocols seriously, in order to make this fall academic experience a positive one.
Lastly, some of you have asked what will happen in the spring. The University will continue to follow the public health guidance of federal, state and local government officials and make a determination at some point in the fall. If the COVID-19 pandemic does not subside prior to the start of the Spring 2021 semester, we will be able to continue hybrid or fully remote instruction under the ABA online instruction emergency waiver we have received.
Unless there is a need for a brief interim update, our next planned update will be the week of August 17 when I return from my vacation. I hope everyone can take some time for themselves and with their loved ones before we gear up for the fall semester.
Dean, Boston College Law School
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