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Posted August 30, 2017, 1:55 pm CDT
A group of Florida International University College of Law graduates have asked Alexander Acosta, their former dean, to resign as President Donald Trump’s labor secretary on the basis that the administration “demonizes minorities,” and that does not fit with the law school’s vision.
Jordan Dollar, a graduate of the law school, led efforts to send the letter, the Miami New Times reports. He was inspired following the president’s comments sympathizing with white supremacists following the Charlottesville rally, as well as a similar letter 300 Yale University students sent Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary.
“A leader cannot simultaneously hold opposing views on the future of our nation. As our dean, we saw the son of immigrants, the leader of our forward-looking law school who championed our school’s stated purpose to serve the underprivileged in the unique community that is South Florida,” reads the letter (PDF), which was signed by 47 graduates. “As a member of the Trump Administration, we see a man complicit in our President’s blatant attacks on people of color, immigrant communities, environment, and the truth.”
“Early on, the thought was that he’s a smart guy and a good person, and maybe he’ll do a lot of good things there,” Dollar told Law.com. “But as time has progressed it has become apparent that the good people in the administration aren’t going to have the influence everyone had hoped. President Trump is going to do what he wants to do.”
A former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Acosta also served as an assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, during the George W. Bush administration. The son of Cuban refugees who graduated from Harvard University and its law school, Acosta is a first-generation college graduate, according to his Department of Labor biography. He did not respond to an ABA Journal request for comment.
People of color comprise 62.9 percent of Florida International University School of Law’s students, according to its 2016 509 Report (PDF). The law school’s median LSAT score is 156, and its bar passage rate for 2015 was 87.12 percent.
Acosta is the son of Cuban refugees, a native of Miami, and first-generation college graduate. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. He becasme assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 2003, and from 2005 to 2009 he served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
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