11/20/20 - Some Important Updates


Dear Southwestern Students,

We hope you are doing well and staying healthy and safe.  With the end of the fall semester rapidly approaching, we are writing to provide some updates and share some important information.

Campus Reopening

Colleges and universities in Los Angeles County are still prohibited by law from opening their campuses to students, and the drastically rising rate of infections does not bode well for this prohibition being lifted soon.  However, we have been hard at work preparing our campus for rapid reopening once the government orders are relaxed.  Our first step will be to open the campus Library, as we know many of you have an acute need for quiet, comfortable study space.  Our Library preparations have been extensive and include:

  • Rearranging and removing furniture to comply with physical distancing requirements
  • Installing plexiglass barriers at the circulation desk
  • Installing antibacterial wipe dispensers and hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the Library
  • Installing signage throughout and outside the Library directing users to comply with physical distancing and other requirements

Here is a link to a series of photographs depicting these and other Library preparations: www.swlaw.edu/LibraryReopeningPrep.

We eagerly look forward to the time when we are permitted to reopen our beautiful campus!

Bison Emergency Fund Grants

We are again accepting applications for Bison Emergency Fund grants.  With final exams right around the corner, we are aware that some students have technology needs in connection with taking exams remotely over the internet.  If you have a need for funds to assist you with paying for living expenses, technology needs (e.g., better computer equipment, improved internet access, etc.), or other costs, please consider applying for a Bison Emergency Fund grant here: https://forms.gle/Wm3HE8E3Knoj6S2P6.  More information about the Bison Emergency Fund can be found here: https://www.swlaw.edu/swlawblog/202011/bison-emergency-fund-back

IT Support

Under the leadership of Chief Technology Officer Sean Murphy, Southwestern’s Information Technology department is actively supporting Southwestern students’ IT needs in a variety of ways, including:

  • Directly supporting student’s computers and their connection to the internet. 
  • Establishing a technology equipment loaning program for laptops and MiFi hotspots for connectivity needs.  This program is available to both current students and Bar takers.
  • With respect to network support for students in the Residences, acting as the first step in connection issues ensuring any network issues are resolved quickly.
  • Providing Zoom Pro accounts for student organizations, which ensures students can meet without the 40-minute limit of free Zoom accounts, as well as Zoom support.
  • Providing LogMeIn accounts for students in clinics to be able to remotely access clinic computers.

Commencement for 2020 and 2021 Graduates

Commencement is one of our most anticipated and celebrated events.  Under the leadership of Associate Dean Marcie Canal, a team comprised of Southwestern students and staff has been formed and is actively meeting to develop plans for commencement for 2020 and 2021 graduates.  Our plans will be informed by a number of factors, foremost among them the health and safety of our community, governmental mandates, and the student feedback we have received through formal surveys and informal channels.

While our desire is to be able to hold an in-person ceremony for our graduates, the format for the ceremonies is currently under consideration by Dean Canal’s commencement team and all options are being considered.  Although a traditional, in-person ceremony is highly unlikely given the current Covid realities, we know that students have expressed a strong preference for some type of in-person event and we want to assure you that every effort will be made to find a creative way to make this happen.

The commencement ceremony for 2021 graduates will take place the weekend after the conclusion of spring semester final exams on either Saturday, May 15 or Sunday, May 16, 2021.  The commencement ceremony for 2020 graduates will take place either in late May or in June. 

We will of course keep you posted as more details are known about the commencement ceremonies.

Final Exam Walk-Through Sessions

On Monday, November 30 from 12:30 to 1:30 and again from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, the Dean of Students Office will be holding two virtual final exam walk-through sessions.  These sessions will feature a step-by-step demonstration of how to access and complete your final exams using the Examplify software.  The sessions will review important features within the software, cover some frequently asked questions and discuss what to do in the event that you encounter a technical issue prior to or during your exams.  Dean Rodriguez will provide students with strategies for how to prepare for their remote exams.  Students are strongly encouraged to attend the walk-through in order to better prepare for their exams and avoid any issues.  Your lives do not need the added stress of exam-day issues! Please see the below details for the walk-through presentations. 

  • Monday, November 30th – 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Monday, November 30th – 5:00-5:50 pm

Please contact the Dean of Students Office at deanofstudents@swlaw.edu if you have any questions about these events.


As we conclude, we want to thank the SBA leadership and all of you who are providing us your thoughts about how we can better navigate these highly unusual times.  We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break!

All the best,

Dean Susan, Vice Dean Dov, and Vice Dean Anahid