College Columns May 2022 - Page 8

The Hard Work Yet to Be Done

Hon . Erithe Smith , C . D . California Paul E . Harner , Sheppard Mullin LLP
More than a year ago , our then-Chair Mark Bloom and then-President ( now Chair ) Melissa Kibler had the foresight and wonderful judgment to appoint a Collegewide Diversity , Equity and Inclusion Commission . It was co-chaired , tirelessly , by Judges Laurel Isicoff and Jeffery Hopkins , and its reporter was the remarkable Professor Nancy Rapoport .
One of the many good reasons for Mark ’ s and Melissa ’ s establishment of the Commission was ( and remains ) that , like many longstanding and admirable professional organizations , the College was not yet sufficiently attentive to diversity and inclusion issues . What the Commission accomplished in a year is truly breathtaking , and we strongly urge you read its final report , linked here . What bears the most emphasis , however , is that the Commission was focused not on changing the College ’ s “ standards ,” or its fundamental missions , but instead on ensuring that diversity , equity and inclusion were appropriately a part of its basic functions , and how it carries out those functions . As with many such organizations , and to the fault of no one involved , they had not done that in the past .
On a more specific note , the Commission made several recommendations to the College Board that were adopted at our meeting in Denver , including that :
• All members of College and Foundation leadership ( defined to include all officers , directors and Committee chairs of the College and Foundation , and all members of the Board of Regents ), be required , on a self-reporting basis , to certify that they have undergone DEI training .
• All new Fellows , commencing with Class 33 , be required , on a self-reporting basis , to certify within 12 months after induction that they have undergone DEI training .
• The Board encourages the Board of Regents to ensure that each Circuit Admission Council , the Judicial Fellows Nominating Committee , and International Fellows Nominating Committee have at least one member who qualifies or identifies as diverse ( based on gender , race or sexual orientation .
• The Board directs the newly established DEI Committee to develop and present , at the earliest opportunity , a series of recommendations for adoption of a principle based on the ” Rooney Rule ” or “ Mansfield Rule ,” to promote the identification and selection of diverse candidates as Fellows of the College .
• The Board has established a new Diversity , Equity and Inclusion Annual Award to be presented annually to one or more deserving individuals or an organization , selected each year by the DEI Committee and approved by the Board ,