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Yale’s first Latina tenured law professor

Yale Law

Felicidades are definitely in order as Cristina Rodriguez will become Yale’s first Latina tenured Law professor in its almost two hundred year history on January 28th. Teaching as an associate professor at NYU Law School, where some students affectionately called her “C. Rod”, she returns to her undergrad and law school alma mater to hold this prestigious position. Blazing an inspirational path, the laundry list of accolades is extensive.

She was a Rhodes Scholar, going to Oxford University in England to complete a Masters of Letters in Modern History and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and U.S. Court of Appeals Justice David S. Tatel. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she also served as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.

Garnering national media attention, Cristina’s expertise was called upon by Katie Couric and CBS News to explain Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law passed in 2010 and as Yale Law School Dean Robert Post describes her importance to the field, she is “the nation’s leading theorist of immigration law”. In her recorded lectures and published papers in law journals, she points out that “200 million around the world are migrating” and that the “Pew Hispanic Center estimates the Latino population is expected to triple to almost 30% of the U.S. population by 2050” (Rodriguez, 2008,  Thomas lecture), which clearly sends a message a todos that we’ve been here, will always be here and hold great political power when unified. Cristina has outspokenly advocated that addressing the red-tape filled and fragmented institution of immigration is a Latino issue for all Latinos “to promote group solidarity and advancement of civil right agendas” (Rodriguez, 2008).

While this appointment is significant, many say there’s still much to be done to improve diversity within law school faculty. In a much quoted 2008 (granted it’s 2013 now) statistic from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), only 339 (3.1%) of a universe of 10,780 full-time faculty law professors were Latino. Hopefully with more concerted minority recruitment efforts in the future, Cristina is opening the puerta for many others to follow in her footsteps.


By Being Latino Contributor, Carlita

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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