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New UMD Law Course to Examine Freddie Gray Case, Baltimore Unrest

January 21, 2016

Sara Gavin 301-405-1733

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An innovative course offered for the first time on the University of Maryland’s College Park campus this semester will tackle the complex issues surrounding the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, the unrest that followed in the city and the fallout that continues today. 

MLAW374: Freddie Gray’s Baltimore will feature instructors from the University of Maryland, College Park as well as the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Students will explore the Freddie Gray case through social, legal and political lenses and hear from experts on topics such as race, policing and structural violence; housing segregation and concentrated poverty; health care; public education; as well as social mobilization. 

“We want to have students understand that as intractable as these problems may seem, they were made by human beings and so the problems can be solved by human beings,” said Robert Koulish, PhD, Director of MLAW Programs at the University of Maryland, who is leading the course. “We want students to leave the course disturbed by what happened but also idealistic and optimistic about what it is they can do in their careers to be a part of the solution.” 

Instructors will foster discussion and debate among participants and plan to encourage live-tweeting during class time to broaden the conversation across campus and throughout the community, helping to launch UMD President Wallace Loh’s initiative “Maryland Dialogues on Diversity and Community,” meant to bridge the divides on campus–and in the nation at-large–and create institutional change. This groundbreaking course also supports the university’s cross-disciplinary focus on exploring solutions to issues facing the African-American community, initiated by significant investments in the department of African American studies this past fall.

MLAW374, a one-credit course that will begin January 25 and span eight weeks, was modeled after a course taught in the fall at the University of Maryland, Baltimore by Carey School of Law faculty and made possible through The University of Maryland: MPowering the State initiative. The course being offered this spring in College Park quickly filled to capacity, prompting the MLAW Program to develop plans for a more in-depth, three-credit course to be offered in the fall.

Media: Members of the media seeking additional information on MLAW374 may contact Dr. Robert Koulish directly at 301-405-3175 or rkoulish@umd.edu.

About MLAW Programs: MLaw Programs is the hub for all undergraduate law programming at the University of Maryland. Undergraduate students in any major who are interested in law and justice can participate in courses offered through MLAW Programs.

About MPowering the State: The University of Maryland: MPowering the State brings together two universities of distinction to form a new collaborative partnership.  Harnessing the resources of each, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will focus the collective expertise on critical statewide issues of public health, biomedical informatics, and bioengineering. This collaboration will drive an even greater impact on the state, its economy, the job market, and the next generation of innovators.  The joint initiatives will have a profound effect on productivity, the economy, and the very fabric of higher education.