“We continue the fight for justice and equity because we must. Together we must use the law unremittingly to achieve a greater measure of justice in our own lifetimes, and we must raise an army of new lawyers to wage legal warfare against racial injustice.” 

Dean Craig M. Boise, Opening Remarks,
Annual College of Law Alumni of Color Reception, Sept. 25, 2020.

A Statement on Diversity & Inclusion by Dean Craig M. Boise

Syracuse University and the College of Law are committed to fostering a campus community that is free from discrimination and that celebrates the diversity of its community members within a supportive and inclusive learning environment. This commitment is rooted in the belief that multiple points of view and different life experiences, ethnicities, cultures, and belief systems are essential to academic excellence.

Our goal is that diversity be a core value not just in vision but in practice. At the College of Law, students join a community motivated by the values of respect and inclusion. By embracing the diversity of our community, we positively enrich our students’ learning experience. We expect that law school will challenge belief systems and preconceptions, and we encourage our students to be open to this challenge.
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The ability to recognize and genuinely appreciate our individual differences in matters like gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, and age—among many others—allows us to learn and grow from the unique gifts that others bring to the College of Law. More often than not, we realize that we share remarkably similar values and aspirations for our lives.

At the College of Law, we want our students not only to embrace diversity, we want them to experience inclusion—to know what it means to belong. For with a sense of belonging, our students are able to help each other power through the challenges of law school and achieve their potential for greatness, knowing they are supported in their endeavors by their peers. This is what we at Syracuse mean when we speak of being part of the “Orange Nation.” 

The rule of law is fundamental to maintaining pluralistic, democratic, and just societies and, here, that notion is strongly reinforced. Students also learn that in practice they must advocate for individuals or communities for which the law, due process, and protections have not been applied fairly or equally, whether as a result of systemic racism or other injustices. They are challenged to answer the question, “How must the world change in order for it to be more fair, equitable, and just, and how might I use my legal education to effect that change?”

Baseball Day at Orientation 2019.
Baseball Day at Orientation 2019.

As students move from law school into their careers, they will journey through various workplace cultures and represent a wide variety of client needs and interests. In an ever-changing and interconnected world, we pledge to prepare our students for the challenges and the opportunities of cross-cultural representation and to refine awareness and skills that will enhance their capacity to develop respectful relationships and effective communications styles for a successful career.

The College of Law’s Inclusion Council affirms my commitment to creating a campus that is not only free from discrimination but that also ensures we build on our individual and collective strengths, as a dimension of academic excellence.

The Council—comprised of College of Law faculty, staff, and students—is charged with identifying programs, resources, and activities that reinforce diversity and inclusion. The work of the Council guides diversity and inclusion programming for Orientation Week, Diversity Week, faculty and staff training, and many other events and initiatives.

Follow the Council’s work on these pages, and please plan to get involved. We need you!

I am proud of the progress we have made toward greater diversity and deeper inclusiveness in our law school, but I recognize there is still much work to be done. At Syracuse, we stand together—and learn together—as one, for the greater good, to understand and uphold the law, to pursue truth and justice for all, and to use the power of the law to improve our world. 

Craig M. Boise
Dean & Professor of Law

Black History Month 2023

Message from Professor Paula Johnson

Dear College of Law Community,

Welcome to Black History Month!  There are many informative and inspiring events occurring during the month, including at the College of Law. The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) have events planned as shown in the link below. BLSA is especially excited about the Black History Month Dinner on February 25th.  Here is the invitation link for the Dinner: https://su-email.s3.amazonaws.com/Ew1Yr/267156/hosted.html

We hope that you will RSVP and attend this event and others that may interest you.  Please note that the Tyre Nichols Dialogue is listed as taking place in the Diversity Room which is the Sandra Townes Room in our law library. Also, be sure to check out BLSA’s Daily Quotes on the electronic bulletin board, and the library’s display commemorating Black History Month.

Please feel free to direct any questions to BLSA president, Taville Francis at tfrancis@syr.edu.  Professor Suzette Melendez (smmelend@syr.edu) and I (pcjohnso@syr.edu), also are happy to assist. 

Happy Black History Month,


Paula C. Johnson

Faculty Advisor, BLSA

College of Law Schedule of Events

February 2Tyre Nichols Dialogue
The Hon. Sandra Townes L’76 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Resource Center, 7 p.m.
February 8BLSA General Body Meeting
February 8-12NEBLSA Convention
February 13Black Trivia Night
February 15“Walk a Mile in My Shoes” Panel Event
February 17Suits and Scrubs Social Mixer
Gilded Club, 8 p.m.
February 25Black History Month Dinner
Dineen Hall, 6 p.m.
Awardee Biographies

Syracuse University Schedule of Events

Black Law Students Association 2022-23 Executive Board

Latinix Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

The College of Law celebrates its Latinix alumni throughout Latinix Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Black History Month 2022

The College of Law is Celebrating Black History Month 2022 by Recognizing Our Accomplished Alumni.

Diversity & Inclusion at the College of Law

Inclusion Council Programs & Activities Report a Bias Incident Scholarships Cultural Competency Curriculum

CLASS PROFILE 2022-2023*

Total Number of Incoming Students: 239

  • Residential Program Class of 2025: 143
  • JDinteractive Class of 2026: 95
  • Master of Laws Class of 2023: 16
  • Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.): 3
  • Two-Year J.D.: 2

J.D. Class Profile

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color: 75
  • Gender: 133 women/ 99 men / 6 non-binary or prefer not to answer
  • Identifying as LGBTQ+: 32
  • First-Generation Students: 67
  • Active Duty/Veterans: 25
  • States Represented: 33, including D.C.
  • Countries Represented: 9

*Data as of Aug. 31, 2022

Accommodations & Accessibility

The College of Law is devoted to the inclusion and success of students with disabilities and those in need of special accommodations. To learn more, visit the Accommodations & Accessibility webpage or the Syracuse University Office of Disability Services, or contact Annette Jenner-Matthews, Senior Counselor. 

Orange Advance

In May 2022, a cohort of more than 20 undergraduate students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College spent a week in Syracuse to learn about the legal profession and law school thanks to a generous grant from AccessLex Foundation.

In 2019, the College of Law launched our Orange Advance program with three HBCU institutions that are part of the Atlanta University Center: Clark Atlanta UniversityMorehouse College, and Spelman College.  Orange Advance provides interested students at the three schools with pre-law programming across their four years of undergraduate education, as well as connections with Syracuse College of Law alumni for networking, mentoring, and internships.  Orange Advance students will be exposed to hot topics in law, training in skills necessary to succeed in law school, exploration of the many potential career paths available to law graduates, and a capstone, week-long Summer Residency visit to the Syracuse University campus and the College of Law.

Qualified Orange Advance students may also accelerate their education by completing the coursework required for the undergraduate major in three years and finishing their degree with the coursework required in their first year of law school at Syracuse.  This enables them to complete their undergraduate and legal education in six years, rather than seven.     

“This is one of the ways we can address the legal profession’s need for more diversity among the ranks of lawyers,” says Dean Craig M. Boise. “This program also includes sessions and workshops that assist students in navigating the law school admissions process.”

Pertinent Courses

All Course Descriptions Cultural Competency Curriculum

Professional Responsibility
Law and Sexuality
Family Law
Veterans Law
Professional Responsibility
Employment Discrimination
Disability Law
Voting Rights
Asian Americans & the Law
Investigating and Reopening Civil Rights Murder Cases 
Criminal Justice Reform 
Elder Law 
International Human Rights Seminar 
Political Advocacy in Disability Rights 
Immigration Law 
Constitutional Civil Rights Litigation
Constitutional Law II: Bill of Rights 
Refugee and Asylum Law Seminar
Feminist Jurisprudence
Race and the Law
International Human Rights and Comparative Disability Law Seminar
Advanced Interdisciplinary Disability Law Seminar
Elder Law Clinic
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
Disability Rights Clinic
Social and Economic Justice in South Africa
Veterans Legal Clinic

Degree & Certificate Programs

Centers & Institutes

Clinical, Pro Bono, & Other Experiential Programs

Experiential Programs

Student Groups

More Information on Law Student Organizations

Asian-Pacific American Law Student Association
Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
Catholic Law Students Association
Disability Law Society
Impunity Watch News
International Law Society (works with Catholic Charities on refugee services)
Italian American Bar Association
Jewish Law Students Association
Korean Law Students Association
Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA)
South Asian Law Students


Syracuse University is just minutes from the heartland of Onondaga Nation, the fire keepers of the Haudenosaunee, the indigenous peoples on whose ancestral land the University now stands.

The University is invested in a relationship with our Native American neighbors that promotes cross-cultural dialogue, research opportunities, and stronger appreciation for Native American leadership, innovation, and contribution.

SULAA Inclusion Network The mission of the SULAA Inclusion Network is to promote professional and personal friendship, association, and affiliation among alumni, to support future generations of College of Law students, and to strengthen the institution, by:

  • Celebrating the College of Law’s diverse population,
  • Encouraging, facilitating the creation of, and engaging identity-based subgroups of the Network,
  • Providing learning opportunities, dialogues, and experiences that support equality,
  • Attending and participating in College of Law and SU events,
  • Providing financial support to advance the College of Law’s mission to educate and support students, and
  • Being active members of SULAA.

Alumni of Color Awards

The Syracuse University College of Law Alumni of Color Awards are presented on behalf of the SULAA Inclusion Network and the College of Law to celebrate the distinguished achievements in any field of endeavor by living members of the Syracuse law family—alumni, current and former faculty and staff, students, parents and friends–for service ‎to the College of Law, the legal profession, Syracuse University, or the world ‎at large.

Alumni of Color Award Recipients 2022

Asian Pacific Islander Legacy of Excellence Award: Tanuja Dehne L’98
BLSA William Herbert Johnson Legacy Award: Tonastacia (Staci) Dennis-Taylor L’14
Jose Bahamonde-Gonzalez L’92 Legacy Award: Scott A. de la Vega L’94

Alumni of Color Award Recipients 2021

BLSA Legacy Award : The Hon. Rodney Thompson L’93

LALAA Legacy Award: The Hon. Ramon Rivera L’94

Inaugural Asian Pacific Islander Legacy of Excellence Award: Seuk Joon Lee L’99

Alumni of Color Award Recipients 2020

Felicia Collins Ocumarez L’98 G’98
Felicia Collins Ocumarez L’98 G’98
José Bahamonde-González L’92José Bahamonde-González L’92

Alumni of Color Awards Recipients 2019

(L to R) Alex Galvez L'07, the Hon. Theodore McKee L'75, and José Perez L'07. Alumni-of-Color-recipients-2019_2
(L to R) Alex Galvez L’07, the Hon. Theodore McKee L’75, and José Perez L’07. Alumni-of-Color-recipients-2019_2

Grossman Trial 2019

Syracuse University is fully committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive and respectful campus community, not only in vision but in practice. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is rooted in the belief that multiple points of view, life experiences, ethnicities, cultures and belief systems are essential to academic excellence.

Student Conduct

Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Non-Discrimination Statement—Students have the right not to be discriminated against by any agent or organization of Syracuse University for reasons of being members of a protected category, including; creed, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation, reproductive health decisions, national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, political or social affiliation, age, race, color, veteran status, military status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence status, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. Students have the responsibility not to discriminate against others.

More Resources for Faculty, Staff, & Students

Neal Powless, University Ombuds
Neal Powless, University Ombuds