This is a week of milestones. First and foremost, today is the last day of final exams. This is a remarkable milestone, especially for the 1L class, the first in our law school’s history to complete an entire 1L semester virtually. I congratulate you all, but I also recognize this unusual examination period may make this particular milestone one for which additional support for your mental health and wellbeing may be particularly useful. Therefore, in addition to the resources that you will find on our Dean of Students’ website, I want to share information about another source of support that may be helpful to you:
The DC Bar’s Lawyers’ Assistance Program services include individual clinical support for GW Law students, as well as educational seminars and presentations related to mental health, substance use, and overall well-being. You may contact Niki Irish, Outreach and Education Coordinator, for more information. She is available at NIrish@dcbar.org or at 202.347.3131. You may find the DC Bar LAP Newsletter helpful as well.
Law Student Wellness Online Support Group: A confidential online discussion group designed for current DC law students to find support and connection meets every Thursday at Noon EST. The group is set up to help law students face the special challenges they are experiencing during these uncertain times. For more information, please email email@example.com.
Also this week, I am pleased to report that the GW Law faculty began workshop sessions for law professors, tailored to help faculty to develop more inclusive classrooms. The inclusive classroom workshops are being offered throughout this week to second-semester 1L professors and professors teaching high enrollment upper-level courses. These workshops follow a moderated all-faculty discussion workshop on how to run an antiracist law school that featured presentations to the faculty by experts including two current law school deans. These workshops and sessions are just the beginning, but they are a milestone in the GW Law’s work to implement our faculty’s Antiracism Resolution.
I also am pleased to report another milestone—we anticipate some students will return to the GW Law campus for classes next spring. The administration has given permission for two clinic classes, one reading group, and a class for international students to be held on campus next spring, in compliance with Mayor Bowser’s guidelines for the District of Columbia, and the University’s COVID-19 protocol. This is a welcome milestone and a sign of good things to come.
Finally, this week, the nation received and began administering the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine. As the nation passed the grim and tragic death toll of over 300,000 American lives lost to this pandemic, five health care workers at George Washington University Hospital were the first in the nation’s capital to receive the Pfizer vaccine yesterday afternoon. You can read The Washington Post story here.
As we enter the winter break, I wish rest, recovery, and replenishment to every member of our student community. I look forward to seeing you again in the spring.
Dayna Bowen Matthew
Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law