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Anthony Niedwiecki
Mitchell Hamline Dean Anthony Niedwiecki (Photo: Rebecca Slater for Mitchell Hamline School of Law)

Bar Buzz: Mitchell Hamline seeks diversity officer

The Mitchell Hamline School of Law is advertising a newly created position of vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. The school announced the opening in a Jan. 14 Twitter post.

The position has been a topic of discussion since at least July 1, when Dean Anthony Niedwiecki sent an email to law-school community members during his first day on the job. In it, he talked about his reasons for creating the position and the importance he places on it.

“The George Floyd murder in our own community has highlighted the need for Mitchell Hamline to have a more visible and active role in fighting systemic racism in our community and provide a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, staff and faculty,” the email said. The school’s press office shared it with Minnesota Lawyer.

The dean’s email lays out a detailed plan for creating “a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community” at the school. Creating the new position was listed among his immediate plans.

School spokesman Doug Belden said interviews for the position will be conducted in February, with plans to fill the job by March or April.

The new vice president will report to Niedwiecki and function as a key member of his executive leadership team, according to the job posting. It calls for candidates with documented histories of developing and advancing successful diversity and inclusion programs.

Niedwiecki’s email goes on to detail the rest of his strategy. His plans include:

  • Increasing the diversity of under-represented groups across the institution.
  • Creating an inclusive community where everyone feels welcomed and supported.
  • Helping to create classroom environments that are culturally inclusive and allow for open and candid discussions on difficult racial and social justice issues.
  • Developing a plan to close any racial, ethnic or gender disparities in student outcomes.
  • Assessing and addressing implicit biases among the students, faculty, staff and administration.
  • Ensuring that students become skilled and culturally competent in working with diverse communities as lawyers.
  • Putting the school at the forefront of positive social and racial change in the community, state and nation.
  • Ensuring that policies and procedures for promotions, hiring and salaries are equitable and do not disparately impact under-represented groups.
  • Empowering faculty and staff to help meet these goals while creating a culture that holds the school accountable.

Candidates for the vice president job can apply online here.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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