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Drake Law School Launches New Course Examining Race and Law

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

“Current Topics in Race and the Law,” a new course at Drake Law School, was introduced during the January interim semester, in response to strong student interest in further exploration of racial justice issues. The class explores how race intersects with various aspects of the law. Topics included why race matters, implicit bias, access to justice, prosecution and sentencing, reparations, policing, and antiracism in legal education. Students were encouraged to reflect on readings and lectures and consider ways change can and should be effectuated in the areas discussed. A culminating capstone project on the topic of their choice demonstrated students’ understanding of the subject area.

The course was taught by faculty, staff, and adjuncts with unique experience in the topics they addressed. Many thanks to the following for devoting their time and knowledge to this important topic:

Rita Bettis Austen, Legal Director, ACLU of Iowa

Hon. Mark W. Bennett, LW’75, Director, Drake Institute for Justice Reform and Innovation

Erica Nichols Cook, LW’09, Director, Wrongful Convictions Division of the Public Defender, State of Iowa

Sally Frank, Professor, Drake Law School

Rajee Harris, BN’10, GR’13, LW’13, Director and Counsel, Partners Enterprise Capital

Theresa Hassler, LW’10, Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Engagement, SCO Family of Services

Ronnie Hawkins, Executive Assistant, Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Iowa State University

Ricky Kidd, Exoneree and Community Engagement Manager, Midwest Innocence Project

Erin Lain, AS’06, LW’08, ED’16, Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion, Associate Professor of Law, Drake University

Teri McMurtry-Chubb, Professor, John Marshall Law School

Victoria Millet, LW’18, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Associate, University of Minnesota

Darren Page, LW’00, Public Defender, State of Iowa

Robert Rigg, LA’75, LW’78, Professor, Drake Law School

Danielle Shelton, Professor, Drake Law School

Julia Steggerda-Corey, LW’18, Director, Compliance and Risk Management Program, Drake Law School


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