Recent events that have unfolded here at De Minimis beg me to ask our readers: What sort of community is Melbourne Law School, and what sort of community do we want it to become? ‘We’ are not just the LSS, MULR, De Minimis or another student group. ‘We’ are part of a larger MLS community, whether we like it or not.
I was told by then Associate Dean Elise Bant in my first month here that, as stewards of the law, I was here to learn and to practise making good judgments. Honing this skill, I believe, goes beyond answering hypotheticals whilst at the law school or eventually in practicing the law. It must go to the root of our worldview.
Perhaps it is in our adversarial nature that we tend to justify and defend our actions rather than to empathise with others who come up against us. However, some of the comments on DM’s website regarding the recent article ‘Law Ball Rip Off’ (available at deminimis.com) have highlighted the need for a conversation about inequality and empathy.
Admittedly, the article came across quite harshly. However, the criticisms boil down to one question that we have to ask ourselves as a community: Is it fair that some students are unable to have that choice of attending Law Ball if they are simply priced out?
Equality is not about writing an article, or ‘living below the line’. These acts simply show that we are aware of what inequality is. But do we know what it means, and can we recognise it and act upon it when inequality arises within our community? This requires good judgment.
Preachings of equality make ‘likeable’ social media updates, but if we are unable to recognise and act on the inequalities arising within our community, the idea of ‘equality’ is simply ethereal.
Yaokang Wong is a third year JD student and the Managing Editor of De Minimis. He is not Equity Uncle.