Stetson Law Professor Criticizes School’s Lack of Diversity

Stetson Law Professor Criticizes School’s Lack of Diversity

GULFPORT, Fla.

A White professor at Stetson University’s College of Law is attacking the school’s record on recruiting minority students, and believes school officials are punishing him for his opinion.

An article written by Mark Brown, 43, was published in Temple University’s law review and contends that Stetson has achieved nothing but “token success” in the area of campus integration.

Brown’s article claims that Stetson Law’s Black enrollment has remained steady at 5 percent to 7 percent for nearly a decade, while some other Florida law schools have nearly three times as many Black students.

“Stetson’s Black enrollment remains last among law schools to this day,” Brown wrote.

Many students at Stetson Law are applauding the article, while others are questioning Brown’s motivation for writing the piece. School officials insist they are actively recruiting minority applicants.

“Someone finally said it formally,” Yvette Lopez, a 28-year-old Hispanic and recent Stetson grad, told the St. Petersburg Times. “With us, we know what it’s like. … But someone said it other than us, and they said it in an avenue where it’s respected because it came from a White, middle-aged Southern professor.”

The article was e-mailed to Stetson’s 800 law students, but it was not published in the Stetson law review, which is part of the reason why Brown filed a grievance contending the school is punishing him.

Brown’s summer grant request was denied in 2000 because of the article, he said, adding that school officials also denied him grant money in 2001.

Law school dean Gary Vause wrote in an e-mail to students last month that the article appeared to be the work of someone trying “to discredit, not improve, his institution.”

According to the school’s Web site, 19 percent of the 320 students entering Stetson Law in 2002 were minorities. No further breakdown of the minority students was available.

“This is somewhat of a confession,” says Brown, who has worked at Stetson for 16 years, but will teach at the University of Illinois at Champaign next semester. “I’m embarrassed for my generation.”



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