Gonzaga Law School Launches Center for Civil and Human Rights

Gonzaga Law School

August 31, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga University School of Law is launching a new Center for Civil and Human Rights this fall to further its mission-based commitment to public service and social justice, and to advance understanding of the law surrounding civil rights and civil liberties.

Directed by Gonzaga Law Professor Jason Gillmer, the John J. Hemmingson Chair for Civil Liberties, the Center is made possible by a generous gift by John Hemmingson, a member of Gonzaga’s Board of Trustees.

The Center will provide students and scholars with opportunities to explore and address issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties, social and criminal justice, public interest law, immigration, Native American law, and international human rights.

“The Center is central to our Jesuit mission in that it promotes access to justice by protecting and enforcing the rights of individuals and communities that are marginalized, subordinated, discriminated against, targeted, or otherwise disadvantaged,” said Gonzaga Law Dean Jane Korn. “Its goals will be pursued through both civil and criminal law, criminal justice reform, and by serving underrepresented communities.”

The Center will provide an institutional framework to further the Law School’s and the University’s mission to educate the whole person to be leaders for the public good. The curriculum will draw on traditional law school courses, clinical offerings, and externship opportunities, and Gonzaga undergraduate and graduate courses. In particular, the Center will benefit students by engaging them in writing projects and experiential learning through clinics, public service projects, and community work both in Spokane and at the Gonzaga campus in Florence, Italy. Additionally, the Center will offer students the ability to obtain a Certificate in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

“The Center will provide visibility and structure to students, faculty, alumni, and community members interested in and concerned about protecting the rights of the underserved, promoting civil rights and liberties, and furthering social and criminal justice,” said Professor Gillmer. Gonzaga Law School, established in 1912, has a strong presence in the Inland Northwest and the Spokane community. The school offers both a traditional two-year and a three-year J.D program and operates a legal clinic, which serves the Spokane community.

Gonzaga President Dr. Thayne McCulloh strongly supports establishing the Center and the potential it brings to Gonzaga University and to the Spokane community.

“Gonzaga University has long been committed to supporting and protecting the rights of the underserved and those who live on the margins of society. The work of this new Center not only meets the mission of the University, but it will serve as a thought leader in the areas of civil and human rights,” President McCulloh said. “Because the law intersects with all aspects of society, the School of Law is uniquely positioned, through both the doctrinal and experiential learning curriculum, to tackle the social challenges we face in our society. The Center for Civil and Human Rights will enhance our already strong efforts to educate leaders who can impact social change.”

To advance students’ career development, the Center will coordinate efforts with career placement to foster relationships with potential employers, especially career tracks in civil rights and civil liberties, social and criminal justice, public interest law, immigration, Indian law, and international human rights.

The Center will offer significant new scholarship and professional development opportunities for faculty as well, and will sponsor an annual lecture from a nationally known scholar of civil rights and civil liberties.

For more information, please contact Professor Jason Gillmer at (509) 313-3750 or Jeff Geldien, assistant dean of external affairs for Gonzaga Law at (509) 313-6121.