Law schools control access to the legal profession. In this role, Vermont Law School (VLS) has had an obligation to ensure that individuals who have been traditionally under-represented and have not had the opportunity to enter the profession are able to do so. The broader American society, and indeed the world, is culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse. We live in a global society where technology has largely eliminated geographic and cultural barriers to communication and commerce. To live up to the expectations of its motto, Lex Pro Urbe Et Orbe—Law for the Community and the World—Vermont Law School must equip its students with the skills, knowledge, and understanding to reside as citizens and leaders in this increasingly diverse and dynamic world.
- DIVERSITY is the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people that make us unique, such as cognitive skills and personality traits, along with things that shape our identity, such as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, and cultural background.
- INCLUSION refers to the procedures organizations implement to integrate everyone in the workplace, allowing their difference to coexist in a mutually beneficial way. The goal of inclusion strategies is to make everyone feel accepted and comfortable, ready to share their opinions and thoughts without hesitation.
- EQUITY(Equality) is justice free from bias or favoritism.
- DIVERSITY is a globally accepted concept which brings different people into the same place or territory. Inclusion introduces concrete methods and strategies to make diversity work. Equity among all people is the result.
Vermont Law School aspires to become a more diverse community where individuals of all races, cultures, ethnicities, classes, religions, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and political views live and learn together in an atmosphere of open communication, acceptance, and understanding.
The VLS Diversity Report and Plan (now VLS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) was first created in 1998 to educate the VLS community of the importance, purpose, goals and progress of the law school’s diversity efforts. This document is periodically amended and subject to the review, comment, and approval by the administration and faculty. It is also provided to the VLS Board of Trustees for consideration and adoption.
This report mostly covers past activities from August 2017 to August 2020, as well as future plans for the next three years, from September 1, 2020, through August 31, 2023, after which the reporting and planning period will remain triennial, every three years: September 1 through August 31.