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Wharton's Legal Studies and Business Ethics department is located in Huntsman Hall.

Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

The Wharton School, in collaboration with the Wharton Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Group, has introduced a new course that merges business education with social justice, a first-of-its-kind class at the intersection of these fields.

Officially designated as LGST 2990: Seminar in Law and Society, the course will study the nature, functions, and limits of law as an agency of societal policy. LGST 2990 will welcome its first cohort of students in Spring 2024. The class will focus on topics of financial inequity, workers' rights, housing, racial bias and prejudice, LGBTQ rights, criminal legal system reform, and climate change. 

WEDIG, a student-run organization advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, played a pivotal role in the creation of the course. Three years ago, Delaney Holder, a then-Wharton sophomore, initiated the idea for the course through WEDIG.

Holder aimed to establish a space where business students could explore the connection between their education and the pursuit of justice around the world. A new guest speaker will talk to the class each week about their respective field and its relation to business and social justice.

"I knew that, from what I've been seeing in the world, that business and systemic oppression were inextricably linked. I wanted to see how I could bridge that gap or gain a better understanding of that connection,” Holder said.

Under Holder's leadership and alongside initiative leaders Wharton senior William Kuster and Wharton sophomore Gisele Hemmerich, WEDIG worked to design a syllabus, recruit lecturers, and advocate for the course. 

There were many challenges during the course's development process, including institutional barriers and the struggle to find a suitable department. However, with support from advocates within the administration and key figures like Vice Dean Diana C. Robertson, the course found its place in Wharton's Legal Studies & Business Ethics department, Holder said. 

Holder emphasized that the course is designed for students of all backgrounds and disciplines. According to Holder, it aims to shape the perspectives of future business leaders and advocates.

"Soak up everything that the course has to offer. This is not just a class; it's an opportunity to build your mind in a new way,” Holder said.