In July, Clinical Professor Charles Auffant, was named the Acting Dean of the law school’s historic and pioneering Minority Student Program (MSP). Professor Auffant graduated from Rutgers Law School and the MSP in 1983.
In appointing Professor Auffant to this position, Co-Dean David Lopez said,”We are truly fortunate to have Professor Charles Auffant to lead the historic Minority Student Program during this transition period after the retirement of long-time MSP Dean Yvette Bravo-Weber in May until we choose our next full-time MSP Dean. Professor Auffant knows all aspects of this program from his many perspectives—as a former student-MSP leader, long-time faculty member, pillar of the community in Newark and in our role as an anchor institution within it, active MSP alumnus, and as a leader in the local and regional legal community which has embraced and nurtured MSP over the years.”
Professor Auffant grew up in the South Bronx and was a childhood grade school classmate of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. They grew up in adjacent housing projects. Auffant went on to Lehman College in the CUNY system and then came to Rutgers Law School and MSP in Newark in 1980 and has remained a Newark resident ever since. As a student, he served as Chairperson of the Association of Latino Law Students. After a working as a staff attorney at Essex-Newark Legal services, the Urban League of Essex County, the Newark Board of Education, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Auffant returned to Rutgers as a Clinical Professor in 1998.
He eventually settled into the Community Transactional Lawyering Clinic (CTLC) and launched that clinic’s Youth Advocacy Project in conjunction with Covenant House of New Jersey. Charles also became a national leader in the clinical community, serving as Chairperson of the Association of American Law School’s (AALS) Clinical Section in 2013, spearheading the decision to host the first AALS conference ever in Puerto Rico—the Clinical Section’s annual conference in 2013—and garnering the prestigious Shanara Gilbert Award from the AALS Clinical Section as a top emerging clinician in the country in 2010.
Charles is also deeply involved in community and civic engagement in Newark and is the Chairperson of the Newark Zoning Board and a member of the Civilian Complaint Review Board. He has also served as an officer of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
While he continues teaching in the CTLC, Professor Auffant’s latest challenge returns him to his roots in the MSP. He said, “There is an intimate connection between our historic MSP and our historic clinical program; we have each program as a result of the 1967 Newark urban rebellion in response to years of systemic injustice in this community, and more directly, because MSP students from the Association of Black Law Students, in 1969 protested our curriculum and demanded clinics. I’m honored to lead MSP, participate in each program, and reinforce continued connections between the two in my new position.”