November 4, 2011 -
Diversity at YLS
As a student of color, I was concerned about attending a school with a small class size. I assumed a small school, even one that valued diversity, would not be able to supply as diverse of an environment as a larger school. My first day at Yale Law School, I learned my assumption could not have been further from the truth.
Yale Law School is home to an alphabet soup of affinity groups: Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Latino Law Students Association (LLSA), the Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association (MENALSA), the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA), OutLaws (representing LGBTQ students and issues), the South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA), Yale Law Women (YLW), and the Women of Color Collective (WoCC). All of these groups work together to welcome students of various backgrounds and to host events that represent their diverse initiatives. Many of the affinity groups provide mentors for 1Ls, personal development events, close-faculty interaction opportunities, and exposure to working professionals in different areas of law. I have found a community within a community in a few of these groups, and all are welcome to join and participate, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, or gender.
The level of diversity that affects my life on a daily basis, however, is much broader than the presence and efforts of the affinity groups. Imagine having dinner with an astronaut, a deep-sea diver, a nurse, a prince, and a secret agent. There would never be a pause in the conversation and each person would bring a unique perspective on the world owing to his or her diverse background. Every day at Yale Law School is like that. My classmates are from all over the world and have participated in every job, activity, project, and venture. They can speak with personal experience about working on an oil rig, playing the didgeridoo, modeling for Abercrombie, and working with the team that first observed a Bose–Einstein condensate. I learn so much from my classmates between classes that it always amazes me that despite our radically diverse paths, we have all been brought to the same place where we will spend there years learning with and from each other before we take off again for the next stop on our journey.
Diversity at YLS is not a talking point in a brochure; it is a reality for which I am thankful. Regardless of size, diversity is a priority amongst the students, the faculty, and the admissions office.