A Message from the Dean: Supporting One Another

Like many of you, I am stunned and deeply distressed over the news that violent protesters and mobs breached the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the lawful certification of our election results and threatening the safety of our Representatives, Senators and countless others.

It was troubling to watch this assault on our democracy, especially as it seemed to unfold with impunity. We are an academic community committed to the free and robust exchange of ideas, and we remain committed to promoting justice. Condemning such acts is not an attack on any particular political perspective. Rather, it is consistent with our mission to prepare citizen-lawyers who defend the Constitution and uphold our nation’s highest democratic ideals.

Even in this moment of national crisis, the rule of law has prevailed. These extremists did not thwart the will of the people and a peaceful transition of power has resumed. I invite you to read UW President Ana Mari Cauce’s latest blog post, Misinformation, Disinformation and the Assault on Democracy. I found comfort in her reminder about the university’s dedication to the pursuit of truth.

It is natural to feel distracted and disheartened over such events. In addition to the immediate crisis, these events raise painful long-term questions about our nation’s commitment to truth, democracy and equality. I urge you to practice self-care and to lean on each other during this difficult time. If there is anything we can do to help you, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Students, please communicate with your instructor if you feel like you need to turn in an assignment late or are unable to complete coursework. If you need additional support, please contact Dean Endter. You can also join Deans Porter and Endter for office hours: 11 a.m. to noon Friday, Jan. 8, via Zoom.

Faculty, please keep in mind that students may face difficulties attending class, completing assignments, or taking exams/quizzes while the political unrest continues. You may use your discretion to cancel classes. If you do cancel class, please be sure to comply with ABA requirements regarding minutes of teaching time. Should you decide to hold class, please do not penalize students for missing class.

Please offer flexibility with regard to any late homework policies and any assessment or assignment make-up policies. If you have concerns about your students’ well-being, please contact Dean Endter. If you need support to ensure a safe environment for students, please contact Dean Bill Covington at covinw@uw.edu or Deans Endter or Porter.

Managers, please consider difficulties your staff may face participating in meetings, completing assignments or making progress on projects. Please continue to be as flexible as possible. Staff, please talk to your managers and or reach out to Sellyna Ehlers if there is something they can do to support your work during this distressing time.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and each other.


Mario L. Barnes
Toni Rembe Dean and Professor of Law
UW School of Law