Professor Vernellia Randall

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>The University of Dayton School of Law 



This course was offered twice between 2000 and 2006. 

Course Overview

"As of 1996, an estimated 30.6 million people have been infected with HIV. HIV affects every region of the world. Consequently, the social and legal problems posed by AIDS, and the possible solutions to those problems, must consider the success and failures of various responses to AIDS around the world. Public health policy and law must learn from others and avoid ineffective or counter-productive responses. The overwhelming scope of issues to be discussed on a global level can be understood if one considers the social, legal and policy issues arising in the United States have also arisen in many other countries. HIV affects issues of discrimination, criminal law and prison administration, civil liability, public health, employment and workers benefits, family law, immigration and travel, insurance and government programs, privacy and many other issues." The purpose of this course is to give an introduction to some of the legal issues posed by the AIDS pandemic and to the potential role that law (particularly international human rights law) may play in developing effective responses.


Philosophy of Teaching


How one teaches is necessarily influenced by what one perceives as the goals of legal education. Certainly, the primary goal is to prepare you to be effective lawyers, judges and policy makers. At a minimum, that includes helping you to develop the ability to:  *think critically, precisely, and clearly; 

*Express yourself succinctly;

*understand the expressions of others; particularly those who are different than yourself;

*understand human nature, particularly the motivations and needs of your clients, opponents, jurors, judges, etc.;

*use the techniques of the legal profession to represent a client in general matters, to recognize where you lack competence, and to comply with accepted ethical standards

While it is hardly arguable that preparing you to be an effective lawyer is an important goal, it is not the only one. Many of you will be lawmakers and policymakers, thus training you to understand the values implicit in the law is an important goal. Another important goal is to train you to address in a systematic manner your social responsibilities as an individual lawyer and your collective responsibilities as a member of the bar. This includes your responsibility to assist your community in maintaining an accessible, effective and socially responsible legal system. 

Thus, my objective is to help you continue the process of meeting those goals. The primary focus of my teaching method is to provide you an educationally sound introduction to AIDS and the Law.  Furthermore, given the impact race and gender have on the law (and vice versa) my approach to teaching is to explicitly explore diversity issues as a component of all aspects of the course. 


A. Teaching Objective #1: Educationally Sound Pedagogy

      An educationally sound legal pedagogy is a philosophy of legal education which is grounded in known educational theory. To be so grounded, and educationally sound legal pedagogy:  *trains you to solve legal problems by providing you with a working program for solving problem;

*provides you with the opportunity to excel;

*provides you with criteria for excelling and specifically what progress you are making;

*provides you with the opportunity to practice each new skill throughout the learning process; and, 

*provides you with adequate instruction on how to study for law school and this course.

Thus, it is my goal, through an educationally sound pedagogy, to provide you with an opportunity to learn and to excel. 


B. Teaching Objective #2:  AIDS and the Law

     AIDS and the Law teaching objectives are those objectives that relate directly to the substantive area of the law. They can be divided into two categories: knowledge and skills/abilities. The objectives of this course are:  

*to provide you with a basic understanding of the law as it relates to AIDS; 

*to provide you information about selected principles of black letter law and significant issues (or unsettled matters);  

*to help you understand the value implications of legal choices;  

*to help you develop and improve your analytical skills including understanding, issue-spotting, problem-solving, judgment and synthesis; 

*to help you to understand the importance of inference and intuition in problem definition and problem-solving; and  

*emphasize that "personal neutrality" is not necessary to scholarly objectivity.


C. Teaching Objectives #3: Diversity-Conscious Legal Pedagogy

Class, disability, gender, race and sexual preference issues are such an integral part of our society (and the legal profession) that we often overlook how the law affects individuals with different backgrounds differently. In a diverse society, such as ours, awareness of how different class, disability, gender race and sexual preference are effected differently by the law is essential. This is true whether the person is a defendant, plaintiff, lawyer, juror, judge or law student. Diversity awareness should be a normative part of the value system of the practicing attorney. An education which is aware of diversity:  *explores how racial, ethnic, gender, class, disability, cultural and sexual orientation are related to and impacted by the structure of law. In particular, it illuminates the connection between racial and gender issues and the values, interests, rules and theories that appear to be neutral but, are in fact a representation of the values of the dominant culture;

*broadly frames classroom discussion so that we step outside the doctrinal bounds of the law to critique the rules  and legal practice; and, 

*focuses discussion on  problems, interests and values that reflect a broad range of perspectives 


Course Outline  

Lesson 01: Introduction to the Class

Lesson 02: Medical Aspects of HIV Disease

Lesson 03: HIV in the Workplace

Lesson 04: HIV and Public Services

Lesson 05: HIV and Schools/Educational Programs

Lesson 06: HIV and Housing

Lesson 07: HIV and Public Benefits

Lesson 08: HIV and Private Insurance

Lesson 09: HIV and Family Law Issues

Lesson 10: HIV and Criminal Law

Lesson 11: Prisons and Jails

Lesson 12: HIV and Tort Law

Lesson 13: Immigration Law

Lesson 14: HIV and Human Rights

Lesson 15: AIDs - Asia

Lesson 16: AIDs - Europe and Australia

Lesson 17: AIDs - The Americas

Lesson 18: AIDS - Africa


Teaching Methods


Learning in law school is essentially self-directed. Most of your learning will happen outside of the classroom and independently of myself or any other professor. In fact, many professors, (myself included) will test you on significantly more than can ever be covered in class. My role is to structure my course in such a way as to facilitate your self-directed learning. I do that through the following: detailed syllabus, assigned readings, and discussion questions and classroom discussion. 


A. Detailed Syllabus

The syllabus for this course consists of this webpage and connected webpages. The syllabus is an important study tool. It provides you with specific guidelines as to my expectations regarding what you should learn, what skills and understanding I value and how I organize the content of the course. However, the syllabus is not a contract and I retain the right to modify it at my discretion. 


B. Assignments

Assignments consist of both readings and videos. The assigned reading provides you with the opportunity not only to obtain rules and process information.  The assigned readings serve as a basis for discussion.  It is my expectation that you will be thoroughly familiar with the assignment and completely prepared for class participation.


C. Guided Discussion

Guided Discussion is a non-hierarchical verbal interaction among a group of persons on a specified topic with a purpose. There are several benefits to the discussion method as a technique in this course.

First, a good discussion can provide an active learning role. Research shows that students learn more and retain learned information longer when their role in the learning process is active.

Second, good discussion encourages students to listen to and learn from each other. Discussion encourages cooperative learning rather than competitive learning.

Third, discussion involves high-level thinking, critical thinking skills.

Fourth, discussion exposes students to viewpoints other than their own.

Fifth, discussion helps to develop oral advocacy and other skills.

Sixth, the discussion provides an opportunity for students to bring their opinions and feelings to the study of law. 


Evaluation and Grading


Course Grade 

 Your grade in the course will be based on:  

Class Participation      30 percent

Paper                    70 percent


 Class participation Requirement

 Class participation includes:

being prepared to effectively contribute, actively participating in class and group discussion. keeping abreast of news related to AIDS and sharing relevant news information with the class (including submitting copies of interesting items for the Bulletin Board).

Discussion Questions.  You should submit to Professor Randall via email two questions for discussion. The questions should be submitted no later than 8:00 am on Monday Morning. Questions should explore the underlying value implications of the reading.   You may want to raise questions which will explore the point at which a value important to you is violated; to write question which challenge the desirable or undesirable consequences of a position taken in the reading; to write questions which make analogies to other things that you have learned; or to write questions which explore the priorities being set by some aspect of the reading. Do not bring "WHAT IS THE LAW" questions. if you want to know what the law is - go to the library and look it up. Rather your questions should be about : "Why, Should, Could, What if?" See, Critical Thinking in Reading for help in formulating appropriate questions. Participation on the TWEN Discussion group.

This is a participatory learning class. That means that your absence effects the learning of others.  Consequently, missing classes  significantly affects your grade.  As a rule of thumb, missing more than two classes will significantly impact your class participation grade. Attendance is required.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class hour.  Students who are not seated and prepared to begin class when attendance is taken will be counted as tardy.   Each tardy counts as one absence.

          "Excused absence" shall mean documented illness of self, documented illness of child, school-sponsored participation in competitions, or a family emergency. "Family Emergency" is limited to death or catastrophic occurrence affecting the student's immediate family or closely-extended family.  Flat tires and similar automotive failures, computer problems, speeding tickets, work, interviews, court dates, etc. are per se unexcused absences.   

     Attendance requires presence and attention during the entire class period.  Students should not leave the classroom once class has begun except in emergencies.

     Attendance requires attention.  Students should refrain from engaging in activities that are disruptive to the class.  Professional conduct requires that students refrain from eating, talking or laughing while others are speaking, passing notes, playing games, reading newspapers, or in any other manner disrupting the educational process by being present but rude or inattentive. Students acting in an unprofessional manner will be asked to leave the classroom and will be counted absent without excuse for that class.

      Attendance requires preparation.  Occasional inability to complete the assignments is understandable and excusable; regular patterns of lack of preparedness will require excuse and make-up work.


Paper  Guidelines


Your Paper/Annotated Bibliography may address any issue related to AIDS and the Law. This is an interdisciplinary paper which means that as appropriate your Paper/Annotated Bibliography must cover the sociological, legal, medical, psychological, health care and ethical aspects of the topic. As a legal paper, your paper should include an extended discussion on the status of the law in the area. This includes both state and federal law and where appropriate, international law. To the extent appropriate, you should include interviews with appropriate community leaders to provide context for the problem. The work product is a paper plus an annotated bibliography. The paper will be done in stages including the developing of a thesis statement, an introduction, a first draft and a final draft.

Thesis Statement.

You must develop a clear and concise statement of the thesis for your Paper/Annotated Bibliography. The thesis statement is the logical core of your study. The thesis statement then provides you structure for tailoring your research. Think of a thesis statement as a hypothesis. What do you think the law should be in the area and why. However, the thesis statement should not assume a warlike stance or a tone of shrill advocacy. Rather your statement should offer a rational defense for a position and as precisely formulated as you can make it. Don't worry about your position changing as you do your research. Like a hypothesis, your research could result in several outcomes for you:


Your thesis statement is supported and will be accepted Your thesis statement is not supported and will be rejected Your thesis statement is partially supported and will be modified.


Preliminary Bibliography.

Your preliminary bibliography includes at least five articles or books that you might read. You are not committed to having to read those particular items and can change your mind as your research develops. Your biblography should be interdisciplinary including references where appropriate from Legal, Health/Medical, Ethical, Tort, Sociology, Psychology, History and international sources. This is NOT an annotated bibliography but merely a listing of potential appropriate readings.

Introduction to Paper.

The introduction to the paper should set up the problem. Discuss the approach you will take in addressing the problem in your paper. Identify the sections of your paper and give a brief (1 to 2 paragraph) discussion of each section including the key point you are making in the paper. The Introduction to the paper should be between 900 to 1800 words.


The paper should be between 5000 to 7000 words. It is in the nature of a scholarly paper. What did you learn? What is the current law? What are the unresolved sociological, legal, health care, medical, tort, psychological, racial, gender, sexual orientation or ethical issues, etc.? If you did community interviews, what did you learn from the interviews? How has the readings and interviews impacted your views and opinions? Where do you the law should go on the issue? Your paper should have 1 inch margins, use 12 pt type. Remember your paper should demonstrate broad reading, thus it is not unrealistic to expect that in a 5000 to 7000 words paper to have 20-25 resources. Finally, do not mistake the use of the word draft. It is my expectation that your first draft should be a completed, proofed paper, needing only minor revisions. Do NOT turn in incomplete "drafts"; your draft should be finished products.


Annotated Bibliography.

You should keep an annotated bibliography on everything you read in preparation for the paper whether or not you eventually cite to the source in the paper.

The annotation should include: citation, description, critical comment and total number of pages read. The description should be two to three paragraphs but no longer than a half a page. If you read a book then you should annotate each chapter. Your description includes a synopsis of the author's primary points and a critique of those points. It should include whether the source contains a bibliography. Your bibliography should include constitution, cases (federal/state), statutes and regulations. Your sources must also include non-law scholarly sources (such as medicine, nursing, psychology, sociology etc.). You may include news articles and articles from popular press BUT you will be expected to have no more than five annotations from these sources. Your annotated bibliography should have a 600 to 1000 word introduction which gives an overview of the topic or issue including a summary of some of the key issues. The final annotated bibliography must be turned in both as a hard copy and an electronic copy, that is word processing in html format. It must be formatted according to attached guidelines. If you are not familiar with html format you should contact Margaret Thomas in the Computer Lab.




David Webber, AIDS and the Law (3rd Edition 1997)

David Webber, Cumulative Supplement for AIDS and the Law (2000)

AIDS and the Law, TWEN