Diversity & Equity Services Office

The Law College has provided legal opportunities to diverse populations since its founding in Detroit in 1891. Michigan State University College of Law students come from a wide variety of personal, professional, and educational backgrounds. This diversity creates a rich exchange of ideas in the classroom and beyond.

Diversity includes you. The Diversity & Equity Services Office (DESO) enhances the MSU Law experience for our whole community by embracing diversity in all its forms. Everyone in the Law College family contributes to our diverse environment.

The DESO exists to ensure a smooth transition and positive experience for all students. We demonstrate our commitment to diversity by recruiting students from diverse backgrounds, supporting students’ academic success, and promoting diversity in the legal profession.

The DESO facilitates:

  • Cultural associations to support groups underrepresented in law.
  • One-on-one advising to help with the challenges of law school.
  • More than 40 student groups representing our vibrant student body.
  • An annual Diversity Week to celebrate our shared community.
  • Funding for inclusion initiatives.
  • Title IX complaint procedures and compliance.

Above all, our mission is to accept, appreciate, and achieve diversity.

  • Prospective Students

    Spartans are known for being exceptionally inclusive. Law school is an intense three years, but you’ll join a community of friends and mentors from all over the nation. They'll support you throughout law school, and throughout your legal career. Incoming students form close mentoring relationships with 2Ls and 3Ls, and work one-on-one with staff and faculty to ensure that law school is a positive experience.

    MSU Law applicants are automatically considered for our generous scholarship program, which provides up to 160 full- and partial-tuition scholarships each year.

  • Current Students

    MSU Law's dedicated staff and distinguished faculty all collaborate toward the goal of making sure each law student's legal educational experience is exceptional. A strong support network of friends, colleagues and professionals can help students fulfill their academic and career goals.

    The Diversity & Equity Services Office (DESO) offers a variety of student support resources:

    Multicultural Executive Council. The Council streamlines efforts among the multicultural student organizations and serves as a liaison to the DESO.

    Diversity & Equity Services Office Alliances. The goal of these groups are to foster alliances between the Diversity & Equity Services Office and individuals from underrepresented populations in law school and the legal profession to ensure their success during their legal education. Student representatives of these populations volunteer to serve as liaisons to the DESO office in order to make sure the needs of their populations are being satisfied while at MSU Law. DESO Alliances, such as the Women's Alliance, African Heritage Alliance, LGBT Alliance, and Student Parent Alliance, have regularly scheduled programs throughout the academic year.

    Co-Sponsorship and Conference Funding. The Diversity & Equity Services Office is excited to cosponsor programs, events, and symposiums with members of the MSU Law community. Funding Request Forms. Our office also provides limited funds for students and organizations to attend events and conferences each academic year. Diversity & Equity Services Office (DESO) Conference Funding Form.

    • Fall Conference Funding Application Deadline: December 1, 2017
    • Spring Conference Funding Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

    One-on-One Academic and Non-Academic Advising. The Diversity & Equity Services Office has an "open-door" policy designed to assist MSU Law students with their day-to-day needs.

    Student Organizations. We're proud of the number of student organizations that are committed to promoting diversity in the Law College. Many of these organizations collaborate regularly with the Diversity Services Office to provide support, assistance and programs to the law schools community.

    Career Resources. The Diversity & Equity Services Office connects students with bar success programs, summer and post-graduate employment opportunities with employers that share our aspirations for a legal profession that better reflects the diversity in society.

  • Alumni and Legal Professionals

    MSU Law has a proud legacy of supporting a diverse bench and bar. The Law College’s first class included a woman, and its second included an African American.

    Today, MSU Law alumni are members of the global legal profession. Spartans are practicing law in all 50 states and all over the world. Our graduates include ethnic/cultural/religious minorities, women and LGBT individuals who have achieved noteworthy professional accomplishments and serve as dynamic connections for our students.

    We work to promote diversity in the legal profession by working closely in the diversity education pipeline of students in K-12, college, and in the community.

  • Non-Discrimination Policy

    Law College programs, activities and facilities shall be available to all without regard to race, color, genetic information, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, political persuasion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, height, weight, veteran status, age or family status. For more information on MSU Law’s policies and procedures relating to discrimination, review the Student Handbook.

    MSU Law complies with Title IX laws, as with Michigan State University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, and the University Policy on Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct.

  • Title IX Policy & Procedure

    Policy

    As a recipient of federal funds, Michigan State University College of Law complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as enforced by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (hereafter “Title IX”), in all aspects of College of Law programming and activities:

    • Provides assurances that all education programs and activities are in compliance with Title IX
    • Designates a Title IX Coordinator to oversee compliance efforts
    • Establishes procedures to resolve student and employee Title IX complaints
    • Provides notification to students and employees that sex discrimination is prohibited within its programs
    • Ensures that all administrators, deans, and directors familiarize themselves with and implement Title IX provisions

    Title IX applies to all programs and activities, including recruitment, student admissions, financial assistance, housing, access to academic offerings, athletics, and all aspects of the Law College’s employment process. Further, MSU Law complies with Michigan State University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, and the University Policy on Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct.

    Mary Ann Ferguson, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Equity Services, (DESO), ensures MSU Law’s compliance with the law in this area. The DESO is responsible for implementing and monitoring MSU Law’s Title IX compliance, as well as providing additional resources, information, and assistance.

    Procedure

    All complaints regarding Title IX, the Anti-Discrimination Policy, and Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct (RVSM) filed by MSU Law students and employees are investigated by the MSU Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).

    STEP ONE: A reporter initiates a complaint.

    Complaints may be filed directly with MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) or through MSU Law’s Title IX Coordinator. Anyone is welcome to file a report with OIE, including students, faculty, staff, and guests.

    STEP TWO: MSU’S Office of Institutional Equity reviews the complaint.

    After reviewing the complaint, the OIE may decide that an investigation is warranted. When an OIE complaint is in the investigation phase, MSU Law will ensure that all parties involved in the complaint are safe and aware of resources.

    STEP THREE: The Office of Institutional Equity directs the outcome of its review to MSU Law.

    If an OIE complaint investigation determines that a violation has occurred, these results are sent to the MSU Law Title IX Coordinator. At that stage, MSU Law will facilitate interim measures or appropriate sanctions in accordance with the MSU Law Code of Student Discipline and/or Law Student Rights and Responsibilities.

    File a report »

    Questions?

    Contact MSU Law’s Title IX Coordinator
    Mary Ann Ferguson, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Equity Services
    648 N. Shaw Lane, Room 201A
    East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
    (517) 432-6847 or fergusma@law.msu.edu