The Center for Civil and Human Rights at Gonzaga Law offers a number of programs designed to provide students and scholars opportunities to explore and address issues relating to civil and human rights.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights hosts an annual conference on a topic consistent with the Center’s mission. The annual conference brings together experts in practice and policy to promote access to justice and to further the rights of those who are underserved, marginalized, disadvantaged or otherwise discriminated against.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights sponsors an Art Competition for local artists. The purpose of the Art Competition is to build bridges between the Law School and the local community by supporting Spokane-based artists pursuing social and criminal justice themes. The winner of the annual competition will have their art displayed in a designated space outside the Center.
Local Spokane artist, Melissa Cole, was the winner of the Spring 2019 Center for Civil and Human Rights Art Competition. Ms. Cole’s piece, “Pillars,” rose above the numerous entries received by the Center, to take the $1000 prize and the opportunity to display the artist’s artwork near the Center on the 3rd floor of the Law School.
The Center created this competition to build a bridge between the Law School and the greater Spokane community, as well as to enrich the educational experiences of students. The competition asked local artists to envision a piece of art which would capture the social justice mission of the Center; serve as a positive symbol for the Law School and the community; enrich the aesthetics of the Law School; and connect the community to the Center.
In May 2019, Ms. Cole created her piece, “Pillars,” as a 13’ x 8’ mural next to the Center. Over a week period, Ms. Cole used acrylic paint and mirrors to produce the striking mural which, Ms. Cole states, was inspired by the mission of the Center. She states that the lower figures represent the Center’s commitment to the three pillars of excellence: research, education and community engagement, and that by building upon this strong foundation, positive steps can be made toward achieving equal rights for all humans, represented by the upper figure.
The Certificate in Civil and Human Rights program provides an opportunity for students to formally focus their legal education on the study and analysis of civil and human rights and the legal, theoretical, and policy perspectives associated with these rights. It also offers the opportunity for direct action in civil and human rights advocacy work, and development of professional experience in this field.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights organizes and helps coach a Civil Rights Moot Court team. The moot court team participates in a national competition in the Spring.
Gonzaga Law in Action (GLA) is an alternative spring break program for law students committed to civil and human rights. Housing and travel will be provided to selected law students to work with a social justice or public service legal organization during their spring break. Students may use the GLA hours as pro bono or public service hours.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights brings a distinguished judge or accomplished practitioner to Gonzaga every year to offer a condensed course for credit on a topic related to civil and human rights. The judge or practitioner also discusses his or her work, participates in law school events, and counsels students about career paths on both a formal and informal basis.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights provides Summer Grants of up to $5,000 to a select number of students to cover living and travel expenses in support of otherwise unpaid summer work. The opportunity is available to students spending their summers doing internships in legal areas important to the Center and its mission.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights is pleased to partner with the Korematsu Center at Seattle University School of Law and the University of Washington Law School to relaunch the Task Force on Race and the Washington Criminal Justice System. This effort builds on the work of the previous Task Force, which came together ten years ago to study and report on the racial disproportionalities in the state’s criminal justice system. The deans of Washington’s three law schools, Jacob Rooksby (GU), Annette Clark (SU), and Mario Barns (UW), have agreed to serve as co-chairs. For more information, please see the additional documents posted here.Washington’s Three Law Schools Announce Task Force on Race & State’s Criminal Justice System
The Center for Civil and Human Rights houses the Thomas More Scholarship program. Through the program, a small number of entering first-year students are awarded full tuition so that they may pursue careers in public service unencumbered by substantial law school debt.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights administers a Visiting Assistant Professor (VAP) program for new law teachers. The VAP program provides time for an aspiring scholar to write and to hone classroom skills by teaching one course per semester while also pursuing a scholarly agenda related to the goals of the Center