Student Organizations

Disability Allied Law Students Association (DALSA)

[To all students and individuals, please use this google form to sign-on in support. Student organizations, please also REPLY ALL to Coases to voice your support. Please share the google docs version of this statement below with members of the NYU Law community, including faculty, staff, and alums.]

[Clarification 8/26/2021: Remote accommodations may be provided for some—not all—classes, and these accommodations are not guaranteed to students who provide the necessary documentation of being at high risk. DALSA's demand remains the same: equal access to synchronous remote learning for high-risk students as the default as already guaranteed to students who contract COVID-19. DALSA remains committed to working with the administration to find solutions together.]

To our fellow students:

Dean Morrison’s August message that the law school will be moving forward with in person learning was met with enthusiasm from the majority of the student body.

But many of us are terrified.

The situation is changing fast with new COVID variants arising around the world. While COVID vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective against the known variants and continue to be the best way to protect yourself and others, there is still so much we do not know about the variants’ transmissibility and infectiousness. Just last week, there were 68,575 confirmed deaths from COVID. Of these, 10% were in the United States

The pandemic is not over. Not around the world, not in the US, not in New York, and not at NYU. 

So what is the university doing about this? 

Current policies place needless restrictions on remote learning options and threaten the lives and wellbeing of all students, especially those at high risk for hospitalization and death from COVID. In DALSA’s conversations with our peers, we have found overwhelmingly that students assume NYU Law is guaranteeing synchronous participation through hybrid or remote learning for immunocompromised and otherwise high-risk students. It is not. 

One measure they have taken is allowing students who contract COVID to attend classes remotely. We all know the infrastructure for remote learning pre-infection exists, because we experienced it last year. And the university deemed this remote and hybrid learning format suitably effective to charge students last year the same tuition they would have paid for an in-person law school experience. 

Aside from denying opportunities for synchronous participation to high-risk students, the university is also allowing professors to use their discretion in allowing remote learning for students “ill for non-COVID reasons” (per Dean Morrison’s August email). In other words, the university wants to return to a time where people come in sick because they’re afraid of professors grading them down.

So our question for the administration is this: Why are immunocompromised and other students at high risk from COVID being asked to risk their lives when the university is willing and able to guarantee remote or hybrid options? 

In our correspondences and meetings with the administration, they have yet to provide a reason why disabled students should be denied accommodation until after they have contracted a life-threatening disease. They explicitly told us that some classes will require in-person participation, effectively banning immunocompromised students from these classrooms. They can’t or won’t work with us to come up with safe and equitable solutions, and that’s why we are coming to you.

This is a critical issue for disabled students and allies. 

As we celebrate the return to in-person learning for some, let’s remember that synchronous participation is possible, makes legal education more accessible, and literally saves lives. Now, those accommodations are being snatched away from disabled students, despite the fact that they are clearly possible.

DALSA's demand is simple. We ask that the university provide disabled students with a guarantee of remote, synchronous participation that it has already given to students who contract COVID. We call on the law school administration and university at large to make this change now. Do not leave it in the hands of each individual professor to deem the severity of a student's legitimate concern. Do not force students to disclose their medical condition to each of their professors just so that they might be taken seriously. Do not ask students to choose between their education and their lives.

Doing anything less puts the health of our entire community at risk.

In solidarity,
Disability Allied Law Students Association (DALSA)

 

Student Organization in Support:

Black Allied Law Students Association (BALSA)

Women of Color Collective (WoCC)

Law Women

OUTLaw

Unemployment Action Center

Law Democrats

Identity Documents Project

EPIC

Sports Law Association (SLA)

I-PREP

Latinx Law Students Association (LaLSA)

Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)

Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA)

Environmental Law Society

South Asian Law Student Association (SALSA)

HIV Law Society
 

Students in Support:

Danielle Eiger ‘23

Violet Fortier ‘23

David Blitzer ‘22

Em Cooper ‘23 - Equal Rights Advocates, Law Clerk

Shirley LaVarco ‘22

Lizzy Pott ‘23

Pooja Goel ‘23

Sarah Barth ‘23

Jessica Coffrin-St. Julien ‘22

Rachel Lindy ‘22

Christopher Livingston ‘22

Elizabeth Ortiz ‘23

James Janison

Hailey Corkery ‘23

Ellie Rutkey ‘23

Rebecca Schectman ‘23

Matt Rosenthal ‘22

Arielle Lipan ‘23

Justin Cook ‘23

Amanda Frame ‘23

Sara Miller ‘22

Ninan Pollack ‘23

Emma Stanton ‘23

Brooks Weinberger ‘23

Teddy Rube ‘23

Skylar Spear ‘22

Sophie Spears ‘23

Hannah Sotnick ‘22

Kevin Lissemore ‘23

Iva Petkova ‘22

Christine Yoon ‘20

Spencer Hamersmith ‘23

Ainsley McMahon ‘23

Christina Vo ‘22

Samar Amidi ‘22 - Moot Court Board, Editor-in-Chief

Devin McCowan ‘23

Isaiah Anderson ‘22

Julia Harvey ‘21

Brit Zak ‘24

Carrie Brown ‘22

Helen Avery Campbell ‘22

Myra Hyder ‘22

Jake Gold ‘24

Cameron Bills ‘23

Rebecca Orleans ‘22

Tina Szpicek ‘23

Anaika Miller ‘22

Laura Sabia ‘23

Samuel Siegel ‘22

Luciano Hamel ‘23

Micah Jaffe ‘24

Jason Taper ‘24

Winnie Vien ‘22

Sarah Winslow ‘22

Jessica Daneshvar ‘23


DALSA is NYU Law's affinity group for people with disabilities and their allies. The focus of our group is on all disabilities including physical disabilities, mental health, sensory impairments, learning disabilities, communication disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and other impairments that substantially limit major life activities. Our approach is intersectional and inclusive of the varied experiences that people with disabilities have based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, visibility of disability, religion, immigration status, ability, and class. Our goal is to go beyond a medical diagnosis model of disability to consider the different social experiences of people with disabilities and how that relates to the practice and study of the law. DALSA works independently and in collaboration with other student groups to provide programming to educate the law school community about how disability is experienced by different groups of people and how that experience is shaped by the law. DALSA aims to amplify the awareness of and people with disabilities in all areas of the law.


Please take a look at our guide to planning accessible events at NYU Law!

Past Events: Institutionalization to Inclusion: Disability Justice Through Employment Recording 

To join our email listserv, get involved, or learn more about our work, email sep9218@nyu.edu. 

You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

The content on student group pages is created by each group and does not constitute official statements or views of NYU Law.