Open Letter to the Law Department Faculty

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The following letter is an initiative of the GRaSe working group and concerned LAW researchers. If you want to sign it, please send an email (including name, department/affiliation, year) to: [email protected] by Tuesday, 11 November 2014, 10 pm.

“Dear Law Professors,

It has come to our attention that the law department will launch a call for applications to fill the Chair for Constitutional and Public Comparative Law at the EUI (as to date occupied by Professor Ruth Rubio Marin). Professor Rubio Marin has enriched the faculty profile of the EUI law department, particularly with her interest in gender, race, sexuality, and women’s rights. We would therefore invite the department to ensure that her successor can offer the same degree of experience in these matters, in order to promote diversity, global competitiveness and academic credibility.

Professor Rubio Marin has excelled in satisfying the demand for critical legal scholarship and teaching at the EUI, particularly in the globally relevant areas of gender and the law. Her numerous supervisees since 2008 are living proof for the need for this kind of expertise at the EUI. Professor Rubio Marin has importantly contributed to the image of the EUI law school as an open-minded and innovative department which values plurality, both in terms of its students and its research foci. Over the years, she has organized a great number of events with internationally renowned gender law scholars. No later than this academic year, she invited high ranking female judges from a vast variety of key institutions, such as Susanne Baer, (Federal Constitutional Court, Germany), Ruma Pal, (Supreme Court, India), Navanethem Pillay, (High Court, South Africa and International Criminal Court) and Françoise Tulkens (Vice-President,of the European Court of Human Right). Additionally, she has been instrumental in supporting the researcher-run working group GraSe.

In the last 20 years, academic awareness for gender, race and sexuality law issues has increased dramatically. Most of the top-ranked law schools worldwide have recognized the importance of offering substantive research opportunities on these topics for the attraction of a diverse and progressive student body, and for the ability to participate in global academic debates. Hence, they have made sure to recruit experienced faculty, introduce respective chairs or create subject specific centers. For instance, the dean of one of the consistently highest ranked law schools worldwide – Harvard University Law School – is renowned feminist scholar Martha Minow, who has published groundbreaking work on gender and the law.

At the EUI, many law researchers display a strong interest in issues of gender, race and sexuality. Some of them are active members of the GraSe working-group, and many more regularly attend the numerous events organised on these themes. Moreover, law researchers are making up for 60 % of the widely attended interdisplinary seminar on gender and sexuality launched this year. Researchers want, and need, a faculty member who will expertly provide such perspectives in order to remain integrated at the EUI after Professor Rubio Marin’s departure.

Having at least one faculty member with expertise in gender, race and sexuality law is not merely a luxury anymore – it is a necessity. Whether the department opts to keep a Chair of Public and Constitutional Law or not, the department should in any case consider the recruitment of a candidate with ample expertise on gender/race law and critical legal theory, since Professor Rubio Marin’s activity has highlighted the demand for such research at the EUI. Furthermore, scholars of any topic and subdiscipline of law are nowadays expected to show awareness of gender and race issues, and every law student (no matter her or his precise research area) can profit from the analytical tools provided by legal race and gender critique. The absence of these topics from a law school’s curriculum would suggests disregard of current developments, conservatism and a lack of innovation, thus reflecting negatively on the department as a whole. Since the EUI aims at being at the forefront of academic discourse in Europe, it needs to pay attention to these developments  in order to preserve its distinguished reputation and to ensure the intellectual competitiveness of its graduates. We believe that someone with a clear expertise on race and gender will attract a wider range of forward-looking applicants to the PhD programme of the EUI Law Department.”