Northwestern Law Administrators Confess Their Racism in Online Diversity Session

Northwestern University / Wikimedia Commons
September 6, 2020

Northwestern University Law School administrators denounced their own alleged racism in an online diversity training session.

In screenshots taken of the virtual event, three administrators can be seen calling themselves racist and promising to "do better," including the law school's interim dean. "I'm Jim Speta. And I am a racist," the dean wrote. Another administrator called herself a "gatekeeper of white supremacy." The meeting was hosted by Associate Dean of Inclusion and Engagement Shannon Bartlett.

An inside source—who did not wish to be named for fear of retribution—told the Washington Free Beacon that the training was optional and hosted primarily by white women who informed faculty and staff how to act like an "ally" to people of color on campus. The source said there were more than 100 people at the event and that dozens of attendees repudiated their own racism.

After screenshots of the training circulated on social media, several Northwestern law alumni said they would no longer donate to their alma mater. Ron Coleman, a partner at the Dhillon Law Group and a 1988 Northwestern alumnus, told the Free Beacon that such events do a disservice to students.

"When I was at Northwestern Law they actually helped me learn how to think," Coleman, who specializes in First Amendment issues, said. "Now it appears they teach students how to stop thinking."

The meeting followed a letter sent out by the dean of Northwestern Law School, which outlined a commitment to "anti-racism" in hiring and admittance practices. Three female law students who did not find the school's commitment sufficient, penned an op-ed attacking both Northwestern and University of Michigan's law schools for holding meetings without making substantive changes. The op-ed calls on the schools to address "the absence of a critical race theory curriculum, and the general day-to-day racism we face from our peers."

The training session appears to be the first action Northwestern Law has taken to showcase its dedication to "anti-racism." One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said the school "capitulated to a handful of angry students with Twitter accounts."