Thursday, June 11, 2020

Statement by Members of the Faculty at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law

This week, many of our faculty at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law signed a statement of mourning and commitment to confront racism and racial injustice in our work, teaching, school, and legal systems. It gathered broad support from across the diversities of our faculty - races, genders, generations, faiths, parties, and faculty statuses.

I add this note personally; this statement is the least we can do. We will and must advance these principles and commitments in real, transformative, critical, and bold work to combat racism and racial injustice in our lives, school, communities, laws, and the justice system.

I ask our students, alumni, clients, colleagues, and communities to hold us accountable to these commitments.


We, the undersigned faculty members of Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, stand united in the national mourning of the death of George Floyd. As Pepperdine University President James Gash has declared, “[t]he tragic killing of George Floyd has brought into sharp focus again the need for action to eradicate racism and to right the wrongs of centuries of oppression of Black people in our nation. … I stand with you believing all forms of racial violence or oppression are abhorrent and that we need to be agents of change. … God calls us and empowers us to be instruments of justice and to actively oppose racism in every form, and especially right now against our Black brothers and sisters.”


As legal educators and members of the legal profession, we wish to join in declaring our firm support of these principles, particularly with respect to the administration of criminal justice and law enforcement throughout America. As Dean Paul Caron has emphasized in his recent letter to the Pepperdine community, “The Caruso School of Law embraces our responsibility to address systemic injustices in our society. Our mission is to provide our students with the tools they need to become future leaders who will effect positive change in the world.”


As faculty at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, we recommit to the principles of diversity, of equity (so that each member of our community is treated fairly), and of inclusion (so that every member of the community will know that they belong). We also recommit to serving the student body with fairness, justice, and equality, while empowering our students to use their legal education to lead the change that we seek in our country. As legal educators at a faith-based institution, we remember the prophet Micah’s call in Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” We are committed and compelled to act now in fulfilling the call for justice in our country and to listen to the voices of the Black community as we seek to eradicate racism in all forms.


Some faculty members prefer to express individually, by their own words and conduct, rather than by signing a letter, their commitment to racial equality and to equal justice under the law.


We encourage our fellow legal educators across the nation to commit to fostering intellectual curiosity, debate, cultural competency, human compassion, and critical thinking concerning racism in America. We also encourage them, where appropriate, to teach students and others about the ways in which pathways may be created that would allow individuals and communities to thrive, as we seek to eradicate racism and to eliminate its impact in America and globally.


June 10, 2020


Jeffrey R. Baker

Stephanie Blondell

Tom Bost

Mireille Butler

Harry Caldwell

Carol A. Chase

Robert Cochran

Jack J. Coe, Jr.

Tanya Asim Cooper

Isai Cortez

Rick Cupp

Catherine K Dodds

Selina Farrell

Chris Chambers Goodman

Naomi Goodno

Colleen Graffy

David Han

Michael Helfand

Bernard James

Kris Knaplund

Mark Kubisch

Barry McDonald

Gregory S. McNeal

Anthony Miller

Grant S. Nelson

Alan Tzvika Nissel

Sarah M. Nissel

Greg Ogden

Brittany Stringfellow Otey

Robert G Popovich

Peter Robinson

Shelley Ross Saxer

Mark Scarberry

Steve Schultz

Victoria Schwartz

Sukhsimranjit Singh

Tom Stipanowich

Ahmed Taha

Peter Wendel

Maureen Weston

Stephanie R. Williams

Tiffany M. Williams

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