As of last Thursday, managing attorney for the UNC Center for Civil Rights Mark Dorosin and his colleague Elizabeth Haddix were relieved of their positions by the university.
This move came ahead of schedule, as the two were expecting to maintain their positions until January 12, but after a letter from the State Bar claimed they should have never had the ability to provide legal services under the umbrella of the university in the first place, the law school determined that their terminations should be accelerated.
Despite the Bar’s claims, Dorosin feels that this move was uncalled for.
“I don’t think [the letter] justifies accelerating the date,” said Dorosin. “I think we were prepared to make sure there wouldn’t be any work on these cases on university time or with university resources, and I think [the university] felt like they just didn’t want to have to deal with that.”
Dorosin says the eight-week window they were originally given before their termination was valuable for them to provide a seamless transition for their clients.
“To have to compress that into a week before and around the Thanksgiving holiday was just very challenging and very confusing for clients,” said Dorosin.
On the bright side, the early termination forces Dorosin to turn his focus towards his new venture, the Julius L. Chambers Center for Civil Rights.
Dorosin wants the new center’s to be rooted in the same pillars that Chambers’ own Center for Civil Rights followed: direct advocacy, community-based research and public education and training law students to do social justice work.
Still, Dorosin says the education aspect may be more difficult now that their ties to the university have been cut.
“Certainly not being part of the law school will make the student training piece more challenging, but we are prepared for it,” said Dorosin. “Fortunately we’ve had so many students work with the center over the years, many of whom said they came to the law school because of the Center for Civil Rights, so I’m confident that we’ll be able to keep those relationships going.”
More information is available on the Julius L. Chambers Center for Civil Rights at their website.