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Updates from the Lawyers’ Committee

Blog January 5, 2016

The CERD Treaty: Another Tool in the Fight Against Police Violence

Fifty years ago in December 1965, the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).  Countries that ratify the treaty must take affirmative steps to “prohibit and eliminate” racial discrimination on all levels of society including federal state and local.  In other words, nations are required to do more than just prevent discrimination. Twenty-nine years after adoption, the U.S. ratified the treaty in 1994.  International law imposes obligations on nations to discharge their duties under the treaties they ratify. The U.S. participates in periodic reviews of its compliance with the treaty.  Importantly, the review process allows civil society to provide shadow reports presenting alternative perspectives on their country’s compliance with the treaty’s obligations.  During the most recent U.S. review in 2014, the CERD committee asked the United States to report back in one year on actions it had taken to address the […]

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Inquiries to Colleges Requesting Criminal Background-Related Information on Applications

January 30, 2016

Al Jazeera America

Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Kristen Clarke is interviewed by Correspondent Randall Pinkston regarding national initiative to eliminate barriers to educational opportunity faced by students with criminal histories.

Universities are asking students to divulge ANY contact they’ve had with the police or courts

January 29, 2016


According to the ‘Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law‘ SEVENTEEN universities require students to divulge ANY contact they’ve had with the police or courts. “The first phase of the initiative seeks information from 17 colleges and universities that include inquiries on their applications regarding contact with the criminal justice system, including arrests that did not lead to conviction, sealed or expunged youthful offender records, or pardoned records.”

College Application Question About Past Run-In With Police In Draw Scrutiny For Being Discriminatory

January 29, 2016

Lawyer Herald

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law reportedly reached out to 17 schools in the South on Thursday. This is to look into their practice of questioning aspiring students and asking them to give an account about their experience with violating laws and whether they have been convicted for criminal offenses.

HOT BLAST: How Auburn (and others) deal with students’ difficult pasts

January 29, 2016

Anniston Star

Did you know that Auburn University, as well as other schools, call certain perspective students with additional questions about their application? It happens when students admit to having, as The New York Times calls it, “brushes with the law.” From the school’s point of view, it allows administrators to get a better idea of which students should be admitted. From the students’ side, it can sound as if the university is unfairly judging them — particularly if their brush with the law was well in the past.  

The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity - work that continues to be vital today.

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