The Dean's Diversity Action Council was formed in 2019 to ensure that Duquesne University School of Law is a welcoming and supportive environment for all. Our goal is to create a culture of inclusion and belonging at the School of Law where our students of color and other historically underrepresented students flourish. We aim to create long-term, sustained progress toward justice, equity, and human dignity. We act in accordance with our Spiritan Mission as we seek to energize our minds, hearts and spirits to overcome the affliction of discrimination and racial inequality.

Promise Statement on Race & Justice

This Promise Statement is an affirmative statement against racism and a commitment to lead positive change. It re-affirms our Spiritan Mission and comes from a place of dignity, respect, and love for all. The statement calls us to speak with clarity around the harms of racism, and to be actively involved as faculty (on and off campus) in efforts to promote justice, equity, and human dignity.

Reflections from the Dean's Diversity Action Council

During the 2020-2021 Academic Year, the Dean's Diversity Action Council met monthly and were joined by the leaders of SBA and our student affinity groups. Each meeting began with a reflection, prayer, or poem by one of our Council members or students to ground us in our work together. We have compiled these reflections to share with our community, because they powerfully represent the challenges we face, the courage we seek, and our hope for a brighter future.

As always, we aim to create long-term, sustained progress toward justice, equity, and human dignity.

Dean April Mara Barton
April, 2021

Council Members


photo of April Barton

April M. Barton

Dean and Professor of Law


photo of Rona Kaufman

Rona Kaufman

Associate Professor of Law


Photo of Beth Bauer

Beth Bauer

Assistant Director of Student Organizations & International Programs


photo of Ella Kwisnek

Ella Kwisnek

Associate Dean of Students and
Assistant Professor of Legal Research & Writing

photo of Marissa Meredith

Marissa Meredith

Assistant Professor of Law


photo of Aman Gebru

Aman Gebru

Assistant Professor of Law


Professor Dana Neacsu

Dana Neacsu

DCLI & ACLL Director
and Associate Professor of Legal Research Skills


photo of Valerie Harper

Valerie J. Harper

School of Law Registrar


photo of Grace Orsatti

Grace Orsatti

Director of the Externship Program, Pro Bono Program and Assistant Professor of Clinical Legal Education




photo of Jalila Jefferson Bullock

Jalila Jefferson-Bullock

Associate Professor of Law


photo of Kaitlin Yacob

Kaitlin Yacob

Associate Director of Admissions



Student Affinity Group Leaders: 2021-2022

Rene Balderas balderasrFREEDUQUESNE 2D President, Jewish Law Students Association
Antonio Bonnetty bonnettyaFREEDUQUESNE 3D Vice President, Black Law Student Association
Stephon Burton burtons2FREEDUQUESNE 3D President, Student Bar Association
Mallory Friday fridaym1FREEDUQUESNE 4E Representative, Student Government Association
Falco Muscante muscantefFREEDUQUESNE 2D Vice President, Christian Legal Society
Anabelle Nietupski nietupskiaFREEDUQUESNE 2D Vice President, Lambda Law Society
Brianna Schmid schmidbFREEDUQUESNE 3D Vice President (Day Division), Student Bar Association
Kaine Spitak spitakkFREEDUQUESNE 2D President, Lambda Law Society

Student Members

Ann Cheetham, 2E
Alan Hord, 3D
Claire Neiberg, 1D