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Moritz College of Law


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Civil Rights, including gender, race, and sexuality

Aspire to make justice equal

Barbara Schwabauer

"As a law student committed to social justice, I had the amazing opportunity to work as a summer law intern at the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Justice. By offering the strong legal research and writing skills I developed at Moritz, I was able to assist the trial attorneys in the division in protecting the rights of individuals who had faced discrimination because of their gender, race, national origin, or religion. Taking classes with Professors Martha Chamallas and Michelle Alexander has challenged me to think critically about the ways that diversity continues to pose challenges to our legal system. With their guidance, I have learned to look at the law from multiple perspectives. As a result, I was better able to understand the obstacles that the individuals we helped in the division had experienced when they received unequal treatment."

Barbara Schwabauer
3L
Cleveland, OH

Some of the most well-known legal battles in American history have involved questions of
civil rights – school desegregation, voting rights, gender discrimination in hiring, and more. But,
this broad field is constantly evolving and todayincludes discrimination against racial minorities,
immigrants, women, LGBT individuals, the disabled, and others. The field of civil rights law
involves both statutory and constitutional laws that protect individual and political rights, and the
Moritz curriculum reflects a deep commitment to studying civil rights, inequality, and the role
of law.

Professor Sharon Davies, director of the Moritz-affiliated Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, has dedicated her career to the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, and issues relating to race, criminal justice, and the law.


The Kirwan Institute is a University-wide interdisciplinary research institute. Its goal is to deepen our understanding of the causes of and solutions to racial and ethnic disparities and hierarchies. This includes an explicit focus on Ohio and the United States, as well as the Americas as a whole and the larger global community. The institute brings together a diverse and creative group of scholars and researchers from various disciplines to focus on the histories, present conditions, and the future prospects of racially and ethnically marginalized people. These scholars are consulted nationally for their expertise in the area. The Kirwan Institute hosts a yearly conference entitled Transforming Race that draws thousands of scholars, policymakers and leaders to Columbus each year.

Professor Martha Chamallas, who served as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor, Civil
Rights Division prior to becoming a law professor, is now one of the country’s leading experts on
gender discrimination in employment law. She recently published a book analyzing the impact
of race and gender on award amounts in civil cases, including personal injury cases. Professor Chamallas often teaches first-year Torts.

Our faculty also include Professor Marc Spindelman, a leading scholar in the interrelations of law, culture, and sexuality. His recent scholarship focuses on certain problems of inequality, chiefly in the context of sex and death. Professor Spindelman frequently teaches Constitutional Law and a seminar on sexual violence.

Each year, Ohio State fields at least one Civil Rights Moot Court team, which competes nationally against teams from other law schools. Competitors write an appellate-level brief on the assigned civil rights case and compete head-tohead in oral arguments.

At Ohio State, students also have the opportunity to create their own dual degree program with one of more than 100 graduate degree programs
at the University, including the departments of African-American and African Studies or the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Course Sampling

 Advanced Civil Rights
 Civil Rights
 Constitutional Litigation
 Critical Race Theory
 Disability Discrimination
 Education Law
 Employment Discrimination Law
 Fourteenth Amendment
 Gender and the Law
 Immigration Law
 Race, Class, and Criminal Justice
 Sexual Orientation and the Law
 Sexual Violence Seminar