Regarding the Feb. 19 news article “ 3 university centers could be eliminated”: At the Feb. 18 meeting of the UNC Board of Governors’ Working Group on Centers and Institutes, Steven Long claimed that the Center for Civil Rights at UNC is “not an academic center.”
Yet students at the UNC School of Law experience firsthand the center’s involvement in academics. It offers continuing legal education for faculty, students and practitioners. The center produces scholarship; one example, the Inclusion Project, documents and analyzes residential segregation in communities across North Carolina.
The center organizes annual conferences on civil rights issues and community-based lawyering. Staff members offer students practical experience in civil rights law through internships, pro bono projects and events. These experiences enhance what we learn in classes.
Those of us who pursue public interest law are attracted to UNC law school in part because of the education and training we will receive at the Center for Civil Rights. First- and second-year students get hands-on experience there, learning to work with individuals and communities that need access to the legal system.
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Perhaps the working group of the current Board of Governors is not interested in students, and future lawyers, like us.
UNC National Lawyers Guild
President, UNC Black Law Students Association