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Law and Advocacy

  • Elias Rodriguez

    Supervisors: Zsea Bowmani, Tseming Yang

    Project:Elias, under the supervision of Zsea Bowmani (Environmental Studies & Sciences), researched and analyzed the compliance status of a rendering facility that has been a nuisance to the Bay View Hunter's Point community — a neighborhood in southeast San Francisco, CA predominantly populated with people of color. The independent study project, conducted in partnership with local grassroots group Greenaction for Health & Environmental Justice, investigated the facility’s compliance with relevant environmental regulations like the California Environmental Quality Act and the Clean Air Act, and produced a memorandum with information on the community’s advocacy options. Elias graduated from Santa Clara, School of Law in 2021 and worked as a Research and Policy Fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Racial Justice.


  • Simiran Chandra

    Supervisors: Tseming Yang

    Project: Simiran researched and briefed disparate impact cases under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was able to analyze EPA statistical data regarding disparate impact cases acceptance and resolution. She prepared a memorandum on the Department of Education’s management of disparate impact complaints and ways to streamline the enforcement of Title VI through related governing bodies. The purpose of the research was to evaluate the methods that the Department of Education uses for disparate impact cases and see if the EPA is able to use a similar model. She was also able to write up a brief memorandum based on her research regarding the Cap and Trade Program in California. This memorandum was part of a comparative study of international carbon trading systems. 

  • Ranika Sharma

    Supervisors: Tseming Yang

    Project: Ranika's research focused on Title VI disparate impact cases and the lack of enforcement of Title VI by the EPA. In order to examine this further, Ranika examined the enforcement of Title VI in other governmental agencies, specifically the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She researched the HUD's structural organization, enforcement procedures, and prepared a memorandum analyzing her findings. Her memo found the need for EPA to develop stricter procedures and protocols for the complaint and enforcement process within its organization resulting in prompt action in response to complaints.

  • Shelby Coyne

    Supervisors: Tseming Yang

    Project: Shelby reviewed the EPA's Draft Title VI Guidance and environmental justice records to understand the EPA's Title VI issues. She researched and reported the FDA's Title VI operation, identifying relevant issues to evaluate as a model for the EPA. Shelby further researched and synthesized the enforcement of Title VI through 42 U.S.C. 1983. From this research, she developed an independent research paper further exploring the use of §1983 for private citizens and the importance of the EPA to process Title VI complaints.


  • Steven Davidson

    Supervisors: Tseming Yang

    Project: Steven focused on the Department of Transportation's Title VI compliance structure and whether the department was involved in any discriminatory practices. Specifically, the research centered around disparate impact claims against transportation departments funded by the Federal Transit Administration. Steven found that it was difficult to find definitive case law to outline how to bring a claim or the requirements necessary for a prima facie case, due to many of the claims reaching settlements, but there is evidence of disparate impact caused by transportation projects. He found that many projects have been shown to affect minority communities by limiting their accessibility to public transit, causing environmental impacts by increasing traffic through their neighborhoods, and only improving transit in richer, whiter areas.  

  • Michael Cohen

    Supervisors: Tseming Yang

    Project: During the course of Michael's work with Professor Yang, he investigated methods and procedures that the Environmental Protection Agency could adopt to advance environmental racial justice. Specifically, he researched the administrative procedures and remedies available to complainants disparately impacted from the Health and Human Services Administration’s policies. Michael then compared and memorialized HHS's procedures and remedies with those available with EPA. He found that this is a complicated issue with no perfect solution but also found that the EPA’s administrative procedures are inadequate in providing relief for individuals who are disparately impacted by environmental regulation and deregulation.


  • Cynthia Yuan

    Supervisors: Tseming Yang

    Project: As a former research assistant and graduate fellow for Professor Tseming Yang, Cynthia conducted international environmental law research for and compiled a teaching guide to Professor Yang’ co-authored casebook: Comparative and Global Environmental Law and Policy, Tseming Yang, Anastasia Telesetsky, Lin Harmon-Walker, Robert V. Percival (Wolters Kluwer 2020). She was also teaching assistant for Professor Yang’s Climate Change law course.


  • Massimigliano (Max) Jones

    Supervisors: Zsea Bowmani

    Project:Massimigliano (Max) was a law student working on a guide for nonprofits to use California Government Code §11135, the State's version of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, to best address environmental justice issues in the community. By collaborating with All Positives Possible, a 501(c)3, the guide assisted the organization in bringing suit against strong polluters in Vallejo, California. In addition, we aimed to achieve environmental justice by increasing public access to traditional fishing grounds for residents that depend on the Bay as a food source. Hopefully the guide will eventually become accessible through a phone app to make the resource as accessible as possible.