On April 21, 2015, the College of Law’s Minority Law Caucus (MLC) received the University of Utah’s Equity and Diversity Award for sustained contributions by students.
In the announcement letter, Kathryn Stockton, the Interim Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity, wrote, “The committee was especially impressed by the longevity of the MLC and the amazing work that the organization has engaged in to work with historically underrepresented students throughout the educational pipeline. Your organization has been described as ‘the saving grace’ for underrepresented students in the College of Law.”
The 2015 award is the third time accomplishments associated with the College of Law have been recognized with an Equity Award. In 1996, the College was the award’s first recipient. Four years later, in 2000, Professor Bob Flores received another Equity Award, based on his work within the College of Law, including running the Academic Support Program and creating and later advising the Minority Law Caucus, as well as broader work at the U, including initiating the awards program.
Associate Dean Reyes Aguilar said, “The MLC is one of the most firmly established student organizations in the College of Law—it is tightly woven into the life and traditions of the law school. MLC’s longevity and success reflect the hard work of the students who are involved, the dedication of Professor Bob Flores as its faculty adviser (and founding member), and to the important needs the MLC fulfills addressing issues affecting racial and ethnic minorities as well as promoting diversity in the legal profession. As Tryston Smith, a 1997 graduate, observed in the award acceptance remarks, the foundation of MLC’s strength has been the coalition of students who come together for the organization. It is not about addressing the needs of a single racial or ethnic group; its work has been about addressing the needs and interest of all underrepresented students. That is a distinctive and powerful attribute.”
In a letter of support for the MLC’s nomination, Sherrie Hayashi, ’91, described her experiences as an MLC member, writing, “when I found out about the Minority Law Caucus, I felt more comfortable, more valued, and less out of place in the College of Law. I felt the support and the demonstrated commitment of the Minority Law Caucus in bringing diversity to the legal profession and more importantly, commitment to the success of diverse and underrepresented students.”
Faculty advisor Bob Flores added, “I find it wonderful that the University’s Equity and Diversity Award is being presented to our student organization in recognition of what our students have accomplished through 30 years of persistent hard work, contributing to the vital diversity of the law school community. The greatest reward for a faculty member is to see students and former students actively making their communities better. For three decades I have been rewarded through watching our students making those kinds of community contributions through the Minority Law Caucus, and then seeing them as graduates give of their time and skills through the Utah Minority Bar Association, as a partner organization for the Caucus. All of us in the law school look with great pride on the accomplishments and societal contributions of the Caucus members, during and after their time as our students. We are pleased that the University is honoring the Caucus for what the students have done over these many years, and delighted that current and former members from across the 30 year history of the Caucus have come together to join in accepting this award from the University.”