New dean aims to boost diversity at UW Law School

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington Law School has a new dean.

The Seattle Times reports that Mario Barnes is a former lawyer and officer in the Navy who has also researched how using social identities like race, gender and class in prosecutions can have long-lasting effects on a defendant and his or her community.

Barnes is the law school’s second black dean, and improving the school’s diversity is among his goals. UW Law graduated just six African American students last year, out of a class of 177 students. Hispanic graduates made up about 10 percent of the class, and just one graduate was Native American.

Sean Sullivan, the dean of the UW’s pharmacy school, headed the search committee. He said students who met Barnes were so impressed they started a writing campaign to try to get the search committee to pick him.

In his time in the Navy, Barnes served on the commission that investigated the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.