UPDATED, 2:55 p.m., with text of letter.
Democratic lawmakers have say they support University of Idaho Law School Dean Don Burnett's decision to require students to attend a diversity program.
"It has come to our attention that some of our colleagues in the Legislature oppose having students attend this diversity program, which is a necessary component to their degree program," the 20 Democrats said in a letter to Burnett Monday. "We hold another point of view and encourage the enrichment of both students and faculty in this area."
Twenty-one Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Burnett recently, criticizing the plan to require 360 law school students in Moscow and Boise to attend the 75-minute session.
Here's the text of the letter:
We are writing to give you and your faculty our support in conducting the upcoming program, “Dialogues on Professionalism and Diversity.” It has come to our attention that some of our colleagues in the Legislature oppose having students attend this diversity program, which is a necessary component to their degree program.
We hold another point of view and encourage the enrichment of both students and faculty in this area. Creating a welcoming environment to students of diverse backgrounds should be a top priority at the College of Law. The
American Bar Association and future employers should know the University of Idaho believes in the importance of providing these dialogues. This training will no doubt bolster your college’s reputation throughout the nation.
In order to excel in the global environment, future attomeys must be able to interact with individuals in workplace, market place, and community representing multiple dimensions of diversity — race, ethnicity, language, culture,
sexual orientation — including all the differences that make us unique.
We commend you and your iäculty for inviting Dean Blake Morant of Wake Forest Law to host this training. Your students will gain valuable skills from an open discussion on how to communicate in a professional manner with
people from all walks of life. We also recognize the importance of training future attorneys in the fundamentals of representing clients regardless of their race, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientàtion, or socioeconomic
status. We believe all people deserve fair representation when pursuing justice. Any effort to further this cause should be welcomed. Thank you for committing to this important work.
Here is a link to our Tuesday editorial taking the Republican lawmakers to task.