Background

The University of Maine School of Law’s (“Maine Law”) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force is established by Dean Leigh I. Saufley to bring together a wide range of voices within the Law School and from its alumni. It is intended to replace Maine Law’s smaller Diversity Committee.

With input from students, alumni, faculty, and staff, the overarching goal of this Task Force is to support and enhance Maine Law’s ability to carry out its responsibility to advance justice for all members of society.

Charge

The Task Force is charged with listening, assessing, and recommending actions by Maine Law and the Maine Bar that will improve inclusion, equity, and justice for all members of society.

Goals

The goals of the Task Force will be enumerated in a separate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan (“Diversity Plan”).

Outcomes and Assessments

The Task Force will strive to obtain all relevant data and available information on which to base its conclusions, actions, and recommendations, and will include trustworthy data and outcome assessments in its Reports.

Preliminary Actions – Priorities for First Year of Task Force

The Task Force subcommittees will establish priorities for the 2020-2021 school year in accordance with the goals outlined above in Section III.

Report and Recommendations

The Task Force will prepare a Report and make recommendations to the Dean and leadership of Maine Law each year on or before May 15th.

 Resources & Input

The Task Force will seek input, suggestions, and recommendations from individuals and groups outside of the Task Force. The Task Force may invite non-members to its meetings as needed.

Membership

Task Force members will include faculty, staff, alumni, and student representatives from each current law school class.  To ensure substantial student input, the Diversity Task Force will include student representatives from each current law school class (including a representative from the student Multicultural Law Society).  Student members will serve a term of one-year and will be selected through an application process. The alumni representatives serve a one-year term and will be selected through an application process. The membership list may be modified at any time at the discretion of the Dean.

Subcommittees

There will be four standing subcommittees of the Task Force as follows:

  • Programming – Forums/Lectures; Additional forms of Education and Public Outreach
  • Diversity Plan – Creation and Implementation; Metrics and Accountability
  • Curricular Initiatives – Common Read; New Courses; Integration into Existing Courses; Student Training
  • Recruitment and Retention – Admissions; Recruitment, Retention, and Support of Students, Faculty, and Staff; Faculty/Staff Training

All subcommittees will include, at a minimum, one member of the Maine Law faculty, one Maine Law staff member, and one student or alumni, unless otherwise approved by the Chairs.  Each subcommittee will appoint a chair responsible for setting meeting dates and times, taking minutes, and reporting progress to the full Task Force.  Subcommittees may invite additional input as needed.  At the discretion of the Chairs, the Task Force may also designate additional subcommittees to address specific issues and report back to the Task Force.

Decision-Making

The Task Force will work through consensus.  All members of the Task Force, including the Dean or a dean designate as an ex officio member, are voting members.  Where consensus is not possible, a vote of the majority of the membership will be sufficient to include a recommendation in the report.  One or more minority reports may be included in the final report.

Reporting

The Task Force will report to the Dean on or before May 15th of each year.  The Report will contain an assessment of progress made, outcomes achieved, and any specific recommendations for new or ongoing innovations and improvements, including an identification of the resources needed to achieve the goals identified.

Meetings

Meetings will occur monthly at times and places designated by the Chairs. During the continuation of the pandemic, all meetings may be held by digital appearance, unless in-person meetings can be convened safely.  A minimum of one meeting of each subcommittee will occur between the monthly full Task Force meetings. Subcommittee chairs will report out on the progress of each subcommittee at the monthly Task Force meeting. Individual members will continue to have the discretion to appear digitally, until the pandemic is over, as declared by the CDC.

In addition to the monthly meetings, the Task Force will work with student organizations and the student representatives to host at least two Town Hall meetings (one each semester) for the larger Maine Law community to report on progress and receive feedback.

Task Force Duration

Until the Task Force is dissolved by the Dean, the Task Force will continue its work each year.