In response to the legal and policy issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, University of Arizona Law has created the COVID-19 and Law Coalition to mobilize faculty and staff expertise and research.
The COVID-19 and Law Coalition consists of Arizona Law faculty and staff collaborating across different areas of law expertise, coordinating resources, partnering with other disciplines to answer COVID-related questions, participating in university, state and national task forces, and otherwise lending their expertise where needed.
“We formed the COVID-19 and Law Coalition because law is central to most, if not all, the pressing challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Professor Andrew Coan, who co-chairs the coalition with Professor and Dean Emerita Toni Massaro and Associate Dean and Law Library Director Teresa Miguel-Stearns.
Many University of Arizona Law faculty members were already engaged in research projects that address issues now being highlighted by COVID-19, while others have launched new work in response to the pandemic.
COVID-19 & Law Coalition member projects include:
- Privacy expert Jane Bambauer is part of the multi-university working group, “Fighting COVID with Data.” The group’s first publication, “It’s Time to Get Real About COVID Apps,” makes the case that the U.S. can use Big Data and smart tracking to help fight COVID-19 without sacrificing privacy rights. Bambauer is also studying why the COVID-19 crisis is particularly suited to breeding bad information and talked to UA News about the problem. Bambauer was also part of EPIC online policy panel on privacy and the pandemic were panelists discussed ways in which governments can protect both public health and privacy, the technology behind digital contact tracing apps, and the Congressional response to privacy and the pandemic.
- Director of the Innovation for Justice (i4J) program, Stacy Butler, has been an advocate for renter assistance and halting evictions during the pandemic. She is also organizing students, faculty, staff and alumni to help legal systems adapt to remote operations.
- Andrew Coan, co-chair of COVID-19 & Law Coalition and director of the Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government, and Dr. Marvin Slepian, second-year law student and UArizona Regents Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, published an op-ed about the importance of paid sick leave in workplace screening programs.
- Shefali Milczarek-Desai, who directs the Workers' Rights Clinic and teaches in the Immigration Law and Policy program, wrote about immigrant workers in elder care facilities during the pandemic. The Workers’ Rights Clinic, which provides students with experience in employment/labor law and workers' rights, has created a factsheet on AZ Workers' Rights During Coronavirus.
- The Legal Writing program launched the podcast, “Practice in Place: Law and Justice Go Viral.” Hosted by director of legal writing, Professor Susan Salmon, the podcast investigates how the practice of law and the administration of justice have adapted under the abrupt constraints of the COVID-19 era.
- Director of the Health Law and Policy Program, Tara Sklar, created the COVID-19: Health Law Resources webpage, which includes a COVID-19 Video Series where Sklar talks to experts in brief videos in which they provide answers to key questions surrounding law and the coronavirus pandemic. She was also a guest on Arizona Public Media’s “Arizona 360,” where experts weighed in on what businesses and employers are liable for when it comes to preventing an outbreak.
Additionally, the COVID-19 & Law Coalition distributes a weekly bulletin to Arizona Law faculty and staff with resources and upcoming events relating to COVID-19. The team also launched the LawCat Collaborative, a virtual suggestion box for questions, comments and ideas for the various coalition working groups.