The Southern University Law Center came into existence because Charles Hatfield, III, an African-American World War II veteran, and a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, challenged racially discriminatory laws and a pernicious racial caste system that was pervasive in Louisiana seventy years ago. The Southern University Law Center family is saddened and disappointed by various media reports that attribute overtly racist and hurtful remarks to Judge Michael Erwin, a 1979 graduate of the Law Center. Judge Erwin has been honored by the Law Center with a judicial portrait on the Law Center’s Judicial Wall of Fame.
As one of the most racially and ethnically diverse law schools in the United States, we would hope that Judge Erwin’s experiences during the time he was at our law school taught him to respect and value all humans, irrespective of the race, creed, national origin, or gender. If it is true that Judge Erwin made the comments attributable to him by various media reports, such comments are not in keeping with the mission and values that are espoused by the Southern University Law Center, Southern University and A&M College System and the Southern University System Board of Supervisors.
The Southern University Law Center and the Southern University System imparts to its students values of equality, justice, and respect. We respect Judge Erwin’s due process rights and if it is determined by an appropriate investigatory body that Judge Erwin made statements and/or comments attributed to him by various media accounts, then we must take action to remove his judicial portrait from the Judicial Wall of Fame located within the halls of the Law Center.