Thursday, May 19, 2022

The University of Iowa College of Law is pleased to announce the inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award recipients. The award winners were nominated and selected based on their contributions to building and supporting an inclusive and diverse community at the law school.

Neda Barrett, senior HR director and director of DEI, explained these awards were part of the action plan set forth by the Iowa Law Antiracist Action Committee (ILARAC) in 2020. Barrett added, “A subcommittee of the College of Law’s DEI committee was tasked with creating the award by deciding the criteria, the selection process, and the format to recognize individuals and/or groups for their contributions to DEI in the law school community. The awardees this year were beyond deserving of this recognition.”

The awards are designed to recognize current full-time students, faculty, and staff who have made distinctive contributions that improve diversity and inclusion at Iowa Law. The awards committee also looks for those who have developed or implemented an innovative program or activity to enhance diversity and inclusion at the college.

The 2022 honorees include two faculty members and a third-year law student.

Mihailis Diamantis, Professor of Law

Inspired by a similar event at George Mason Antonin Scalia Law School, Professor Diamantis created the Across the Aisle program at Iowa Law. This program has been a well-received and welcoming forum for bridging divides in our community and this award recognizes Diamatis’ critical work at Iowa Law. Across the Aisle initiates face-to-face conversations between people with varying stances on polarizing topics. The pilot event brought staff, faculty, and students together to discuss issues around U.S. immigration. Through respectful dialogue many participants walked away new perspectives and a better understanding of motivations behind alternative viewpoints. Across the Aisle continued this spring on the topic of gun control and future programming is in the works.

Professor Diamantis’ involvement in the DEI Committee was essential in working toward this year’s goal of building a bridge between people with conflicting views on issues.

Daria Fisher Page, Clinical Professor of Law

Professor Fisher Page was recognized for her service as a mentor for underrepresented students at Iowa Law. Her students describe her as fierce advocate  who cares deeply about their success. Her open door policy for brainstorming career moves, debating legal philosophies, or providing support was cited as making a difference at Iowa Law.

Professor Fisher Page is the director of the Community Empowerment Law Project in the Legal Clinic at Iowa Law. Her and her students represent organizations and other entities to strengthen communities, create economic opportunity and advance social justice issues in the state of Iowa. Their work helps amplify voices and build partnerships to solve today’s most challenging issues. Past projects have highlighted injustices in the juvenile justice system, workers’ rights, and evaluated the effectiveness of racial impact statements.

Jonathan Molony, Class of 2022

Jonathan Molony was recognized for enriching classroom discussions and helping people develop respectful vocabularies when talking about issues and people in the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Molony has done a tremendous amount of work with the Collegiate DEI Committee, including crafting Committee bylaws, planning DEI programming, and attempting to advocate for a stronger focus on DEI in the curriculum. Additionally, as a two-term President of OutLaws, he made great strides in strengthening  the LGBTQ+ presence at Iowa Law.

Molony also took his advocacy beyond the Iowa Law community to Washington, DC this past fall. He spent the semester in Washington, DC where he interned with the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. After graduation Molony will clerk for Judge Mary Tabor (85JD) on the Iowa Court of Appeals.

The award recipients will be recognized at the annual Iowa Law Diversity Reception, which is scheduled during Law Reunion weekend. This fall, it will take place on Saturday, October 29. The time and details will be finalized once the game time is set.