CLEAR Faculty Fellowships

The 2022-2023 CLEAR Faculty Fellows will address priorities such as racialized housing inequalities and structural barriers to equitable community development as well as criminal justice and  immigration justice.

CLEAR Cohort for Community Development, Entrepreneurship and Housing: Current Perspectives on Systemic Inequalities 

Melvin J. Kelley IV
Associate Professor, Law and Business, School of Law and D’Amore McKim School of Business
Project: No Further Fair Housing: Stuck in Transition on the Path to Transformation

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 requires that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as recipients of federal funds under its programs, “affirmatively further fair housing,” which entails a mandate to proactively redress the harms of segregation. Professor Kelley’s research examines whether approaches from the human rights field of transitional justice might assist in the interpretation and implementation of this controversial statutory provision. During his fellowship year he will convene scholars in a range of disciplines who are exploring how to remediate enduring legacies of historical race-based oppression to assist in the evaluation of prospects for redressing contemporary inequities in real property ownership and regional maldistributions of resources across racialized spaces.

Ana M. Rivera
Associate Clinical Professor and Director, Housing Rights Clinic, School of Law
Project: Housing Discrimination in the COVID Era

Professor Rivera is director of Northeastern Law’s Housing Rights Advocacy Clinic, which she founded in 2022. Through individual representation, the new clinic will address legal issues faced by low-income communities. In her experience as a practicing housing rights lawyer, Professor Rivera litigated cases involving residential leasing practices that disparately affected BIPOC and tenants from poor communities. These practices prevailed in the COVID era and exacerbated exponentially the pressures on renters and recipients of benefits such as ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program) and Section 8 support. During her fellowship year, Professor Rivera will examine how facially neutral leasing provisions intersect with federal, local, and state housing laws and regulations, and potential reforms to address their harmful impact.

Evan Darryl Walton
Associate Clinical Professor and Director, Community Business Clinic
Project: Hidden Barriers to Small Business Growth and their Disproportionate Effect on BIPOC and Female Entrepreneurs

Professor Walton brings a seasoned practice career to the Business Clinic he leads at Northeastern. In the course of his practice, he encountered barriers to business growth in the form of direct and indirect costs that disproportionately impact new entrants in commercial spaces, including his BIPOC business clients. Drawing on his experiences as a practitioner, Professor Walton will examine the effects of these barriers on new entrants through a comparison of the rules and practices of three states. He will examine the impact of costs such as LLC registration, maintenance fee structures, and incentives for economic business zones. Professor Walton hopes to interest students in this project, which will include qualitative study and comparative legal analysis.

Lily Song
Assistant Professor, Race and Social Justice in the Built Environment, Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media and Design
Project: The ARTery: Re-imagining and Re-formulating Spatial Planning and Development with Local Communities in Roxbury

Professor Song is an urban planner and activist-scholar who studies long-term community engagement practices. Her research focuses on the relations between urban infrastructure and redevelopment initiatives, socio-spatial inequality, and race, class and gender politics in American cities and other decolonizing contexts. During her fellowship year, Professor Song will partner with Boston public officials to design cultural interventions that target the gentrification trends and displacement pressures in Roxbury. The ARTery project seeks to use public art to amplify cultural identity, economic opportunity and social cohesion among neighborhood residents. Professor Song will work with community-based artists, activists and small business owners to generate public art. This fellowship will provide the opportunity to assess the strengths, tensions and opportunities of the ARTery project, and, more generally, to consider how spatial planning and design practices can incorporate, deepen and reflect conversations on reparations and transitional justice.

2022 CLEAR CRIMINAL JUSTICE FELLOW

Rebecca Chapman
Social Justice Teaching Fellow, Legal Services in Social Context Program, School of Law
Project: Jails: The Black Box of Mass Incarceration

A former public defender in New York City, Professor Chapman’s fellowship projects speak to the jail to prison pipeline. Her work focuses on racialized jail incarceration in New York City, and, secondly and relatedly, the vacuum in rights protection for families exposed to the city’s child protective services system. In collaboration with social justice organizations, public defender groups in New York, and her students at Northeastern Law, Professor Chapman will track and report on the effects of individual judicial attitudes on jail incarceration rates in New York City. As one intervention in the jail-to-prison pipeline, she also proposes to develop empirical and qualitative evidence to support the efforts of The Bronx Defenders, a New York public defender organization, to promote state legislation that would protect the right of families to be informed of their legal rights at their first point of contact with workers from the child protection system.

2022 CLEAR IMMIGRATION JUSTICE FELLOW

Rachel Rosenbloom
Professor, School of Law
Project: Citizenship for Some: White Nationalism and the Long Roots of the Movement to Restrict Constitutional Birthright Citizenship

Professor Rosenbloom’s fellowship year will allow her to pursue her book project, Citizenship for Some: White Nationalism and the Long Roots of the Movement to Restrict Constitutional Birthright Citizenship. Tracing the origins of the contemporary movement to limit birthright citizenship, Professor Rosenbloom’s work examines the numerous efforts of anti-immigrant activists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to restrict the scope of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment through litigation and proposed constitutional amendments. It also explores the more hidden, bureaucratic life of the Citizenship Clause, manifested in agency records, court dockets, personal accounts and other materials relating to the determinations that occur, day in and day out, at borders, immigration courts, State Department offices, county jails and numerous other sites where citizenship lines are drawn. Professor Rosenbloom argues that despite the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship without regard to race, birthright citizenship’s racialized origins have shown a persistent tendency to resurface in the context of immigration enforcement efforts. Whether targeting Chinese Americans during the Chinese Exclusion era, Mexican-Americans in the 1930s, or in recent decades, a broad spectrum of Black and brown Americans have been swept up by a racialized mass deportation system that has become increasingly intertwined with a racialized system of mass incarceration.

  • The 2021-2022 Racial Justice Faculty Fellowships

    CLEAR’s 2021-2022 Racial Justice Faculty Fellowships supported Northeastern Law faculty research and scholarship on issues of racial justice and/or structural racism, broadly defined. Fellows worked on projects, participated in related conferences and publish related articles and other commentary. The competitive fellowship was awarded for one year.

    Libby Adler
    Professor of Law and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

    Professor Libby Adler’s research project is tentatively titled “Regulating the Domain Called Beauty.” It investigates contrasting law reform trajectories for LGBTQ populations in the US and Cuba. Lacking the higher order rights on which US advocates have relied, Cuban progress has occurred on socialist terms, principally in public health and education. The individual rights-orientation of US advocacy has resulted in racial and economic disparity within the LGBTQ community. This project will inquire into the redistributive methods of the Cuban state and the extent to which they have led to more broadly allocated benefits across the LGBTQ population, particularly in the face of global economic forces since the end of the Cold War. The study traces the multidetermined process of LGBTQ legal advancement under socialist conditions and investigates the relationship between LGBTQ progress and political economic structure.

    Stephanie Hartung
    Teaching Professor and Program Administrator, Legal Skills in Social Context

    Professor Stephanie Roberts Hartung is the principal investigator for a Tier 1 Northeastern University grant-funded interdisciplinary research project studying the cradle-to-prison (C2P) pipeline. As an inaugural Racial Justice Faculty Fellow at Northeastern Law, Professor Hartung is continuing her C2P research, conducting and overseeing an ongoing survey of incarcerated people in Massachusetts. The survey focuses on systems involvement and childhood experiences of incarcerated people to better understand the workings of the pipeline in Massachusetts, including the disparate impact on BIPOC and other marginalized communities. The survey was designed to address data gaps — particularly related to the child welfare system — revealed in the early stages of the C2P Project research. Phase I data has been collected and analyzed based on nearly 300 surveys completed during the fall of 2020. Phase II of the survey is currently underway and is projected to include 500 to 700 additional survey participants. Analysis of the data will support policy interventions to disrupt the pipeline and mitigate mass incarceration in Massachusetts. The Racial Justice Fellowship will further support Professor Hartung’s publication and presentation of the C2P survey findings.

    Michael Meltsner
    George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law

    Professor Michael Meltsner is completing his novel, Mosaic: Who Paid For The Bullet? The book tells the story of a 1960s murder of a charismatic women doctor who tried to open a racially segregated healthcare system in a large Southern city and her civil rights lawyer-lover’s revenge. The book is inspired by actual events — the struggle to end hospital segregation and denial of care — which Professor Meltsner participated in at the time as the primary lawyer who handled health care cases at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Two years ago, a prominent medical researcher asked Professor Meltsner to investigate the murder. He found official records had gone missing, potential witnesses all dead and the trail cold, but was convinced that the crime that occurred at the intersection of law, hate, greed and government intervention had to be brought to life. Hence this “true crime” novel. It will be published by Quid Pro Books.

    Deborah Ramirez
    Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director, Center for Law, Equity and Race

    Professor Deborah Ramirez is conducting research rated to police accountability. It is an unfortunate fact that the number of civilians shot by police has increased over time. Further, the rate of fatal police shootings among people of color has been much higher than for their white counterparts. These fatal shootings have served as a catalyst for Black Lives Matter and other civil right groups. In response, many scholars have been focused on police accountability and how to hold police accountable for theses deadly encounters. Professor Ramirez’s research focuses not merely on reactive accountability for past shootings, but also on how to prevent, detect and deter reckless policing before it escalates into a deadly encounter. With funding from the Racial Justice Faculty Fellowship, she is implementing empirical research in order to introduce a dataset of how municipalities settle police misconduct complaints. For this, her team is targeting and studying how police settlements trend for police misconduct in small, medium and large cities. This data is crucial to providing a workable police accountability model using professional liability insurance and is also a means of understanding trends related to police misconduct.

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Access to Justice Fellowship

The Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Access to Justice Fellowship, which honors the legacy of the late Massachusetts chief justice by continuing his commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in the judiciary and court systems. The Gants Fellowship has a dual purpose: 1) to create a diversity pipeline to post-graduate career opportunities for qualified students who would benefit from the experience of clerking for a judge along with mentorship and programming; and 2) to assist in the expansion of diversity, equity and inclusion in the judiciary and court systems.

The Gants Access to Justice Fellowship Committee, housed at the Massachusetts Bar Association and with assistance from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation as the fiscal agent, provides programming, mentorship and award stipends of $6,000 each to eligible students who have secured a co-op with a state or federal judge in New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine).

Summer 2022 Fellows: 

  • Ari Appel ’24  on co-op with Judge Howard Speicher, Massachusetts Land Court (Boston)
  • Maya Leggat ’23 on co-op with Judge Elspeth Cypher, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Boston)
  • Valerie Orellana ’24 on co-op with Judge Leo Sorokin, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston)
  • Owen Woo ’24 on co-op with Judge Mary Page Kelley, U.S. District Court, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston)

Spring 2022 Fellows: 

  • Claire Bergstresser ’23 on co-op with Judge Donald Cabell ’91, US District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston)
  • Azra Carrington ’23 on co-op with Judge George O'Toole, US District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston)
  • Taylor Kim ’23 on co-op with Judge Patti Saris, US District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston)
  • Robin MacFadden ’22 on co-op with Associate Justice Mary Thomas Sullivan, Massachusetts Appeals Court (Boston)
  • Allison Wise ’23 on co-op with Judge Peter Krupp, Massachusetts Superior Court (Boston)

Fall 2021 Fellows:

  • Jaclyn Blickley ’22 on co-op with Justice David Lowy, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Boston)
  • Hui Chen ’23 on co-op with Judge David Despotopulos, Worcester District Court (Worcester)
  • Sreenidhi Kotipalli ’23 on co-op with Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Providence)
  • Aly McKnight ’22 on co-op with Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Providence)
  • Christina Waller ’23 on co-op with Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Providence)