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How the Outcome of the Election – for President and the Senate – Will Impact Whether Trump’s Nominee Gets a Vote in the Senate

The op-ed by D. Benjamin Barros, dean and professor of law at The University of Toledo College of Law, is being published by The Hill. We will share that link once it is published.

‘Police/Civilian Confrontations and Deaths’ Topic of Virtual Lecture Sept. 11

The University of Toledo College of Law is hosting a virtual event featuring a national expert on racial profiling after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May and the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha last month.

David A. Harris, the Sally Ann Semenko Chair and professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, will deliver a lecture titled “Police/Civilian Confrontations and Deaths: How Often? Why? What Can We Do?” from 11:50 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 on Webex. Registration is required for the free, public event on the College of Law website.

“We are delighted to host Professor Harris to help us grapple with these difficult issues,” said Rob Salem, associate dean for diversity and inclusion and clinical professor of law at the UToledo College of Law. “We all have a responsibility to listen carefully and engage affirmatively in anti-racist efforts.”

David Harris

Harris taught at the UToledo College of Law from 1990 to 2007, where he was the Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values.

Harris teaches, writes and speaks about the law, policing and the American criminal justice system. His research focuses on search and seizure law, police conduct, and the intersection of race and criminal justice.

For more than two decades, Harris has been the nation’s foremost expert on racial profiling. His research and publications became the basis for the first proposals in Congress to curb racial profiling and led to laws and regulations against profiling in more than half the states and hundreds of police departments.

Harris frequently works with national, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations across the country to improve the quality of police work, with a special emphasis on bridging the gap between police and the communities they serve.

He is the creator and host of the “Criminal Injustice” podcast, which is devoted to issues in the criminal justice system. Harris also is the author of several books, including “A City Divided: Race, Fear, and the Law in Police Confrontations,” which was published by Anthem Press in 2020.

In 2015, Harris received the Jefferson Award for Public Service for his work in Pittsburgh and other communities across the country to create better relationships between police and the communities they serve, particularly Black communities, to bring about both respectful, just policing and public safety.

UToledo Professor Publishes Thought-Provoking ‘Black Professor, White University’

Discrimination, marginalization, exclusion, non-promotion — these are some of the issues faced by the character Dr. Darrell Thomas, an African-American professor, when he joins the faculty at the fictitious Southwest Achval University.

In the new book, “Black Professor, White University,” Dr. Sakui W.G. Malakpa illuminates the racism that exists in the world of academia.

“I aspired to bring to the reader’s attention the fact that students, staff, professors and administrators of color in higher education face daunting challenges, especially in predominantly white institutions,” the professor of special education in The University of Toledo Judith Herb College of Education said. “The work also covers issues of sexism, historical facts and concepts such as critical race theory and white privilege.”

Malakpa published the 298-page book in May through Mill City Press Inc. in Maitland, Fla. “Black Professor, White University” is available through Amazon in print and on Kindle.

The main characters in the book are Dr. Darrell Thomas and his wife, Vanessa, who join Southwest Achval University to teach economics and African-American history, respectively. Both struggle to fit in at the predominantly white school. From renting an apartment for their family to unfair teaching ratings, they encounter discrimination. Undaunted, they persevere and work hard for promotions and tenure.

“While attending professional conferences, professors and administrators of color often informally discussed their experiences in their respective institutions. The differences but mainly similarities of those experiences intrigued me,” Malakpa said. “Likewise, I know people of all races who work in varied institutions of higher education. Talking with them informally also gave me food for thought.”

He added, “Hearing other people’s experiences is reassuring in that one does not feel alone.”


Making more aware of those experiences has never been more important.

“As a number of readers already have told me, ‘Black Professor, White University’ comes at the right time as the world reverberates with clamors of Black Lives Matter,” Malakpa said. “In an entertaining yet educative manner, readers will learn that issues of marginalization, discrimination, non-promotion and the like exist in higher education institutions, which ought to be a part of the solution, not the problem. The work underscores this point repeatedly despite the existence of positions — director for diversity, etc. — and centers for people of color in higher education institutions — like a center for diversity.”

The work also offers suggestions for promoting, enhancing and maintaining diversity in higher education.

“As a professor of color and one who is blind, there’s no doubting of the fact that, after more than three decades, I have had my own experiences and challenges,” Malakpa said. “However, ‘Black Professor, White University’ is based less on my experiences and more on materials from the literature and the experiences of other professors of color. This is why I am currently writing a nonfictional work on the same topic.”

His own story is a page-turner.

Born in Wozi, Liberia, Malakpa lost his sight when he was a teenager; he contracted onchocerciasis or river blindness from parasites transmitted by black flies. He studied at the School for the Blind and then enrolled in Albert Academy in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He headed to the United States to continue his education at Florida State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in three years and a master’s degree in one year. Malakpa then earned a second master’s degree and a doctorate in education from Harvard University.

In 1986, he came to The University of Toledo as an assistant professor of special education. Malakpa was promoted to associate professor in 1990 and professor in 1998. Along the way, he earned a juris doctor from the UToledo College of Law while conducting research on special education and international studies, and teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level courses.

“In general, Toledo has been a great place to live for more than three decades, but the best part of my work is the students. They give me not only reason, but also joy, enthusiasm and vitality to go to the University,” Malakpa said. “I enjoy working with students. Evidently, they enjoy working with me, too, as I have been voted both outstanding adviser and teacher; very few professors at the University have won both awards, and for that, I thank my students with all my heart.”

UToledo College of Law Named Among Top Schools for Public Service

The University of Toledo College of Law was ranked nationally in preLaw magazine’s “Best Law Schools for Public Service” in the area of public interest law.

In identifying top schools, the magazine reviewed employment data (50%), curricula (40%), and debt and loan repayment options (10%).

The UToledo College of Law has a rich history of training students for successful careers in public interest law. Public interest lawyers use the legal system to promote justice and the advancement of the public good. Graduates have a passion for public service and may choose to work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or law firms focused on public interest work.

The college offers numerous opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in public interest law through legal clinics, commendation program, fellowships and externships.

Legal clinics within the law school place students in supervised settings to provide community members with legal services at low and no cost. Students benefit from a rigorous and dynamic experience that combines a structured classroom curriculum with individualized instruction and collaborative learning.

The UToledo College of Law’s Public Service Commendation Program recognizes and encourages student pro bono engagement in the community and region. Students earn a commendation each academic term in which they complete 30 or more documented hours of unpaid, law-related service work. Students can secure their placements or work with the college to find volunteer opportunities with area organizations, including the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Legal Aid of Western Ohio, and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. Since the program’s inception in 2007, students have dedicated more than 24,500 volunteer hours.

In addition, the College of Law offers several public interest fellowships and public service externships for students to gain experience in courts, government agencies and public service organizations.

Students also can join the Public Interest Law Association student organization to explore career opportunities, raise funds for public interest fellowships, and partner with organizations on community outreach.

“One distinct mission that we have at the UToledo College of Law is to ensure that we provide our students with experiences that encourage them to develop awareness of and a dedication to public service and public interest during law school and beyond,” said Maara Fink, clinical professor of law and director of externship programs.

“A vast majority of our students enroll in at least one semester of our Public Service Externship Program during their time at the college. This program provides them with opportunities to explore various areas of public interest practice at placements throughout northwest Ohio and beyond — with many choosing employment at the same offices and agencies upon graduation,” Fink said.

She added, “In addition, through the Civil Advocacy Clinic, our students provide direct legal services to members of our community in need and recognize the importance of ensuring that legal representation is not just limited to those who can afford it. Due in large part to these and other opportunities at the College of Law, our students leave aware of and committed to a lifetime of public service in practice.”

Read the full article “Best Schools for Public Service” in the Winter 2020 issue of preLaw magazine.

UToledo Unites in Solidarity to Identify Solutions to Address Systemic Racial Injustice

The University of Toledo’s campus community united in solidarity and support Thursday evening for those affected by the killing of George Floyd.

The first Dialogues on Diversity Virtual Town Hall brought together University leadership, faculty, staff, students and the public to reflect on their experiences, identify solutions to address systemic racial injustice, and highlight campus and community resources to aid in coping with trauma.

“I am so pleased with the dynamic, meaningful ideas that resulted from our successful discussion,” Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion, said. “I appreciate the passion and motivation of our Rocket family and the support we have for each other. This is the beginning of a series of respectful, painful conversations in the coming weeks, including when the semester starts.”

More than 350 people attended the event that featured panelists:

• UToledo Police Chief Jeff Newton;

• Benjamin Davis, UToledo law professor;

• Dr. Monita Mungo, UToledo assistant professor of sociology;

• Dr. La Tasha Sullivan, director of the University Counseling Center;

• Nyah Kidd, president of the Black Student Union;

• Darren Gordon, former president of the UToledo chapter of the Student National Medical Association;

• Giselle Zelaya, president of the Latino Student Union;

• Nick Thompson, president of Student Government;

• Anjali Phadke, vice president of Student Government; and

• Asher Sovereign with the Sexuality and Gender Alliance.

Members of the campus community shared personal experiences and the great sadness and fear sparked by watching the video of George Floyd’s death.

“As a teen growing up in Mississippi, my parents would consistently remind my siblings and me when we would leave the house for fun or to hang out with our family and friends, ‘Remember we love you, but you must come home at night,’” Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said. “As I got older and started to experience racism, discrimination and prejudice firsthand, I began to understand the meaning of those powerful 11 words. In essence, my parents were saying, ‘Always obey the law and follow their instructions and rules. Do as you are told. Don’t argue.’ These past two weeks have been the most difficult weeks in my life. When will this behavior stop? Am I next? I’m at a loss for words.”

“As I reflect on the events of the last few weeks and our community discussion last evening, I am inspired by our students, faculty, staff and alumni for their commitment, perseverance and passion to change the world,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Yet I grieve the recent senseless deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor. As a human and a mother, I cannot fathom the pain and anguish that their families are experiencing. Racial injustice, police brutality and disparate treatment have painfully existed for longer than all of us have been alive. As a campus community, we have made great strides to create a more open and inclusive community, working together to develop and implement UToledo’s first diversity plan. And yet it isn’t nearly enough. Now is the time to end this in our community, our country and in the world. I challenge each and every one of you to ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’”

Panelists brought forward ideas and solutions to elevate our community, such as training students in nonviolence and conflict transformation to teach them how to respond to what they will face while protesting by utilizing faculty expertise in the Peace Education Program, which is part of the Judith Herb College of Education.

“I am proud of the strength and courage of our students as they engage in deep, thoughtful, critical discussions and examine the ways we can change our society for the better,” Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “It is our solemn responsibility and our honor to equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to lead that change into the future.”

Leaders from across the University have expressed their commitment to embracing the critical role higher education can and must play in facilitating open and honest discussions that empower us as a community and a nation to translate our ideals into actionable change.

• Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College: “We believe in the power of higher education to address major societal problems like this injustice. We hope that by challenging our students to think deeply about the world they live in and to take actions that support greater diversity, equity and inclusion, we are helping to build a better world.”

• Dr. Anne Balazs, dean of the College of Business and Innovation: “It is with great sadness that we bear witness to the events of the past week, with the untimely and violent death of George Floyd and the continuing expressions of hatred and prejudice. As members of a scholarly community, one which is dedicated to education and improving our shared quality of life, it is unacceptable to idly stand by and allow racism in all its many forms to persist.”

• Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law: “The past week’s events have shown the realities of the work we must do as a nation to ensure that our justice system protects and serves all people. Our mission at the law school is intrinsically tied to the mission of equal access to justice. We are uniquely positioned to empower future generations of lawyers to evaluate our country’s legal systems, engage in thoughtful discourse, and address inequality. The change we need to see as a nation begins with each of us doing our part to create a diverse, supportive and inclusive community.”

• Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, dean of the College of Graduate Studies: “Life is heavy for all of us today. It has been that way for some of us for many, many days. First, a global pandemic and now violence and division dominate our news cycle. I am sad, I am afraid, and I am hopeful. I am sorry for your loss, I am sorry for your fear, I am sorry for your anger, I am sorry for the lack of justice, I am sorry there is no cure, and I am sorry that I am sorry. You are valued, and we hear you. We are here for you today and every day.”

• Beau Case, dean of University Libraries: “The University Libraries believe that diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are not merely ideals — they are core values which we display daily in our work. Our campus doors are open to all. Our services are free of bias. We offer safe spaces for exploration, discovery, lifelong learning and wonder.”

• Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences: “From all appearances, he was neither protected with courage nor served with compassion. Now ‘I can’t breathe’ has become the rallying cry of protests locally and nationally, peaceful and violent. Lurking beneath this are the concerns and outrage of ongoing racism, systemic racism, institutional violence and failed inclusion. If we want to improve the world, we better start close to home with our region, our community and, most importantly, with ourselves.”

• Charlene Gilbert, dean of the College of Arts and Letters: “The peaceful protests occurring in many of our major cities and towns not only reflect the anger over the death of Mr. Floyd, but also represent years of frustration with the injustice and unequal treatment experienced by African Americans and people of color in communities all across this nation. The College of Arts and Letters is a community where we value and celebrate not only critical inquiry, but also thoughtful action. We want to thank every student, faculty member, staff person and alumnus who has participated in some form of action to add your voice to the many calling for justice.”

• Dr. John Laux, associate dean of student affairs in the College of Health and Human Services: “George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers is the latest example of violence perpetrated against African Americans. We honor George Floyd’s life, and those who were murdered or assaulted previously by focusing our attention on our society’s history of and ongoing racism and systemic social injustice by working collectively to be agents of change. The College of Health and Human Services trains students for careers in social service, health sciences and criminal justice, including police civil service. We recognize that we are a product of our society. The status quo is not acceptable. And, as such, we have work to do to root out and put an end to individual and institutional racism. We are committed to do the work necessary to be a part of the solution.”

• Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing: “We know that long-term discrimination has negative effects on physical and mental health and that violence, discrimination and racism directly impact social determinants of health and result in health disparities and inequities. Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our African-American communities, the health impact of continued disparities is even more profound. As healthcare professionals, we are in a unique position to address the health and the social justice issues that are so pressing in our nation at this time. Change begins with each one of us and is reflected in how we treat each other on a daily basis.”

• Mike O’Brien, vice president and athletic director: “Last night’s dialogue was excellent as it was very informative and insightful. We must stand together and be committed for equity, diversity and the fight against racial injustice.”

• Dr. John Plenefisch, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics: “The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics must translate the powerful words and feelings expressed by those protesting systemic racism into sustained action that makes a concrete difference in our community, including through our work and actions here in our college. As scientists and mathematicians, we can take action against racism, bigotry and prejudice in many ways, including choosing to focus our research on issues that disproportionally impact marginalized communities or groups, and deliberately supporting the careers and training of people of color as future generations of scientists and mathematicians.”

• Dr. Gary Pollack, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences: “Our obligation to our fellow human beings is not diminished by the color of their skin, or by how they express their spirituality, or by their country of origin, or by whom they happen to love. Those characteristics, which some voices emphasize in an attempt to divide us, are infinitesimal compared to the many things that make us what we are: the human family.”

• Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the College of Engineering: “I found each of the speakers and the entire event to be compelling and inspiring. It is critical that we have administrators, faculty and student leaders on campus who are speaking out to support the protests against racial injustice in our nation. Eliminating institutionalized racism, white privilege and racist violence will take many voices and much work.”

• Dr. Raymond Witte, dean of the Judith Herb College of Education: “We all want to feel safe when in the presence of the police. This will require time and honest dialogue because many, including myself now, don’t feel safe. I am now faced with the reality that police may not act impartially and without bias. To be honest, most of us are biased in some way. However, the decisions police make can have life and death outcomes.”

The next Dialogues on Diversity Virtual Roundtable is scheduled Thursday, June 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Access and panelist participation information will be released prior to the event, which is titled “The Death of George Floyd: Race and Anti-Blackness in America.”

Union and Management Cooperation Needed to Reopen American Pro Sports

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, professional sports leagues briefly suspended play. The NFL shifted its week two games from Sept. 16 and 17 to January. In the midst of playoff races, Major League Baseball initially announced a one-day pause before extending the cancellation period to three and then six days. The return of baseball on Sept. 17 in some locations, and then on Sept. 21 in New York City, and the return of football on Sept. 23 (and Monday Night Football on Sept. 24), 2001, provided vivid moments for a stunned nation to come together and express its grief and its resolve.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a suspension of professional and amateur sports far exceeding the shutdowns associated with 9/11 and World War II, and likely to exceed the early termination of the Major League Baseball season during World War I.

For many Americans, the return of professional sports will be the signal moment that the country is ready to shift from crisis response to a “new normal.” The return of sports will be about more than just the big business it entails, but also a symbolic moment for the country. (While leagues have endured lengthier absences at times of labor strife, a return-to-play where the pause resulted from internal matters rather than external forces lacks the same symbolic import.)

Reaching this important moment will require cooperation between the professional league owners and the labor unions representing athletes. Because athletes in each of the major sports leagues are represented by unions, all matters relating to wages, hours and conditions of employment must be the subject of collective bargaining. The length of the season, return-to-work dates for preseason training, and the periods for free agent negotiations and contract signing are all topics included in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the major sports leagues. CBAs are in force for each of the leagues, with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) concluding voting on a new CBA last month.

So far, the unions and leagues have embraced a cooperative approach to adjustments required by the crisis. The NBA reached quick agreement with its players association to cut paychecks by 25%, with the funds held for a later calculation of reduced salaries based on canceled games (the league can, under the terms of its CBA, reduce pay by “1/92.6th” — around 1% — for a game canceled due to “epidemics,” among other items). The NFLPA’s executive committee and board voted unanimously to accept the NFL’s modification of its off-season rules, which prevents any NFL franchise from bringing players in for off-season work until all 50 states have removed stay-at-home restrictions. Based on the seeming likelihood that the country will re-open gradually, it now seems probable that this agreement will mean that the off-season is delayed even though stay-at-home orders have been lifted in some of the states in which NFL teams operate.

As the lockdown continues, however, there’s a greater chance that modifications required to address the public health crisis will lead to disagreements between the unions and the teams. Scheduling of games is the subject of provisions in each contract — in the case of baseball, detailed provisions, including start times of games and travel issues, cover more than seven pages, and modification might be required in the face of ongoing public health developments. Another obvious topic that could prove controversial are COVID-19 testing requirements for players once games resume. The NBA and its Players Association are investigating technology for “near instant” testing, but how and when such testing is mandatory would need to be subject to agreement.

If the public health crisis continues, each of the leagues will also likely need to consider whether to begin to schedule games without fan involvement. This may involve conducting games in states where stay-at-home orders have been lifted, outside of the ordinary “home territory” of particular teams. For instance, Florida has already exempted sports exhibitions from stay-at-home orders, allowing filming of sports events as long as the public is not allowed to attend (so far, an opportunity that only the “sport” of professional wrestling appears to have embraced).

Resolving these kinds of issues will typically require negotiation between the union and the league because the contracts themselves do not provide a mechanism for responding to all of the issues raised by this public health crisis. Baseball provides for a Safety and Health Advisory Committee (with an equal number of representatives for players and the teams) to deal with “emergency safety and health problems as they arise,” but the committee’s role is purely advisory.

Hopefully, the spirit of cooperation continues, so that communities can again come together to grieve over those lost and recommit to a shared purpose in that only sports provides.

Geoffrey Rapp is the Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values and associate dean for academic affairs at The University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches sports law and other courses.

J.D. Candidate Ready to ‘Jump in Feet First’ Into Employment and Labor Law Career

For almost eight years, Lindsey Self worked in human resources, most recently at First Solar. It wasn’t planning Christmas parties and employee engagement programs that excited her. It was the legal compliance part of her job that she was passionate about ― investigating complaints, managing FMLA compliance and conducting audits.

In May, Self will graduate from The University of Toledo College of Law with her J.D., bringing together the two professional worlds she cares most about.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

“I can jump in feet first,” she said. “All those things I enjoyed in HR that we passed along to counsel ― now I’ll be the counsel.”

Self will start her job as a labor and employment attorney this summer at Eastman & Smith in Toledo, a position the firm offered her last August.

When she began law school, Self was a part-time, evening student. The law program’s flexibility allowed her to work and still care for her two young children. A year into the program, she left her job and enrolled full time.

Self said she appreciated the faculty’s flexibility. Her daughter, Vivian, came to class with her a few times, and it was never an issue. The dean’s secretary even set up the kindergartener with candy.

“Toledo Law turned into a family for me. I was sick recently, and the dean of the college reached out to see how I was feeling. You don’t get that at other schools,” she said. “I had opportunities to build strong and real relationships with experts in their field, professors who went to Harvard and Yale. I feel prepared to walk into any practice.”

Self’s first internship was with Judge Darlene O’Brien at the Washtenaw County Trial Court. The supervising attorney there was a UToledo College of Law graduate and urged her to apply for an internship in federal court. She landed a position with Judge Jeffrey Helmick at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The judicial internships led to a clerk position with Eastman & Smith and eventually to a full-time job offer.

Lindsay Self

After graduation from the UToledo College of Law, Linday Self will start her job as a labor and employment attorney at Eastman & Smith in Toledo; the firm offered her the position last August.

“Lindsey is an extraordinary student, one of the best I’ve ever had,” said Joseph Slater, Distinguished University Professor and Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values. “She was always prepared, always thoughtful. She has a new, smart idea about labor law that no one’s come up with and is writing a paper about it.”

Self said she’s sad about not being able to walk at commencement. She wanted her children to experience the final moment, to see all that mom had worked for. But they’ll find another way to celebrate, she said. She knows there’s so much more good to come.

“I look forward to raising my family in Toledo and building my career here,” she said. “I want to help Toledo continue to be a great city and to be a community leader.”

Self graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2010 with a dual degree in psychology and sociology. She was the 2019-20 editor of the Toledo Law Review, a student-edited journal written by professors, judges and students. In 2017, while a first-year law student, Self spoke at TEDxToledo about unconscious bias, gender inequality and women’s empowerment.

She also is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, the Northwest Ohio Human Resource Association and the Toledo Women’s Bar Association. She is co-founder of Make It Count Toledo, a local nonprofit that provides emergency mobilization services to nonprofits that work to help underrepresented and disadvantaged members of the community in crisis.

Self lives in Holland with her husband, Brian, and two children, Vivian (6) and Connor (4).

Networking Opportunities Key to Law Graduate’s Success

Tessa Bayly, who graduates in May with her J.D. from the UToledo College of Law, didn’t follow a traditional path to law school. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her post-graduate life won’t exactly follow a straight road, either.

Bayly was about two months into her dream internship when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the country. Instead of waking up in Washington, D.C., and heading into work at the Securities and Exchange Commission, she now rolls out of bed and works remotely from her home in Waterville, Ohio.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

“I’m thankful I had the opportunity [at the SEC] in the first place and that they allowed me to continue to work remotely, even if the experience looks different than I expected,” she said.

Bayly’s entire academic career has looked different than she expected. She started out as a UToledo mechanical engineering student and switched to law and social thought after her second year.

She graduated in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree and went directly to law school, where she has set her own course.

“Tessa is a bright and inquisitive student, who has shown a limitless enthusiasm about learning the law,” said Law Professor Eric Chaffee. “I am excited to see where these qualities take her in her career. I am sure that she has a bright future ahead of her.”

When she first started law school, Bayly said she felt a bit adrift. She had no lawyers in the family. She only knew a handful of attorneys.

During a meeting over coffee, a former UToledo law student recommended Bayly join Toledo Law Review. Bayly took the advice and eventually won a spot as a note and comment editor for the student-edited journal.

Tessa Bayly


Law Review became a defining experience, Bayly said, and the best preparation for her legal career.

“It opens doors,” she said. “Having that on my resumé helped me. It helped me become a better writer. I even had the chance to speak at the student symposium. It was a great opportunity. Presenting to all of those people was terrifying, but it showed me that, with God, I could succeed in the opportunities he’s provided me.”

The willingness of her professors to chat with her about career prospects was also helpful, she said, as were the networking opportunities that the UToledo College of Law offered with alumni and other legal professionals.

“It was nice for someone like me who didn’t know many lawyers or really what it meant to be a lawyer,” she said.

Tessa Bayly, who graduates in May with her J.D., was about two months into her dream internship at the Securities and Exchange Commission when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the country.

After her first year, when she took some contracts and property classes, Bayly said she found her niche — corporate law. She secured two internships at an investment firm in the Chicago area.

At the SEC, she works in the Division of Enforcement investigating potential securities fraud, market manipulation and the like.

The abrupt end to her law school career feels anticlimactic, Bayly said. She didn’t get to say goodbye to her classmates or collect her diploma at a live commencement ceremony. Since starting law school, she’s looked forward to participating in her first graduation day. She didn’t attend her high school or undergraduate ceremonies.

She plans to take the bar exam this summer, hoping the state doesn’t cancel the July administration. She’d like to apply at the SEC ― one of her top job choices — which generally requires applicants to have taken the bar.

But Bayly has proven time and again that she’s nothing if not flexible.

“Everyone’s experiencing disappointment right now,” she said. “You just have to roll with it.”

UToledo Health Specialty Programs Move Up in U.S. News Rankings

Health specialties at The University of Toledo improved their place in the U.S. News & World Report list of the top graduate programs in the nation.

The recently released 2021 Best Graduate Schools edition lists the doctorate program in occupational therapy at 36, up from 37 last year. It is the first accredited, entry-level, occupational therapy doctorate program at a public institution in Ohio and the U.S., and includes intensive course work, clinical training and service learning.

Pharmacy is ranked No. 57, up from 60, and the graduate program in clinical psychology improved five spots to 138.

Also, tax law jumped 21 spots from 153 last year to 132 this year.

U.S. News ranks programs on criteria such as acceptance rate, GPA, student-faculty ratio, grant funding and peer assessment, among other indicators.

UToledo Law Student Becomes First Black Editor-in-Chief of 52-Year-Old Law Review

Second-year law student Damon Williams made history as he was selected to be the next leader of The University of Toledo Law Review.

Williams will be the first black student to hold the prestigious position of editor-in-chief in the publication’s 52-year history when his term begins later this year.


“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have been afforded,” Williams said. “Becoming the first editor-in-chief with African-American heritage is an amazing milestone, and I am beyond honored.”

The law review, which was first published at the UToledo College of Law in 1969, is a student-run journal written by law professors, judges and students.

“I am delighted that Damon was selected as editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review,” D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law, said. “He’s exceptionally bright and will be an excellent leader. Although we wish this milestone would have happened sooner, his selection is encouraging as it reflects progress.”

“This is but a step in what I hope to be a continuing process for The University of Toledo,” Williams said. “I am striving to help foster subsequent diversity milestones and continued Law Review success, and I look forward to my future collaboration with community members.”

Law Review members are selected as editor-in-chief after a highly competitive, in-depth interview process. The elections committee considers academic performance, writing ability as demonstrated by their academic writing and editing throughout the year, and leadership potential.

“From a technical perspective, Damon’s formal yet graceful writing style and his superior academic performance made him a competitive candidate among his peers,” said Lindsey Self, law student and the current editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review. “He demonstrates conviction in his vision for the journal but is unafraid to take calculated risks. Damon’s writing and leadership demonstrate a unique balance between sensibility and practicality with inventiveness and ingenuity — a balance that is difficult to find in practice, let alone law school.”

Williams, who also serves as president of the Black Law Students Association, was born and raised in Toledo. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and master’s degree in forensic science at Bowling Green State University.

He hopes his law degree will help him facilitate the social and political changes he wants to see in the world. Although he is still figuring out his next steps, Williams is considering a federal clerkship or doctor of juridical science.

“This is much bigger than me alone,” Williams said. “I have a fantastic executive board in Hayley Mise, Cameron Morrissey, Kate Murray and Morgan Isenberg. Their continued excellence and support are essential to the success of the Law Review. In addition, Lindsey Self has been a shining north star, guiding me toward the path to success.”