Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Intel puts up $5M to help create new tech law and policy center at North Carolina Central U


By David Schwartz
Published: February 23rd, 2021

Chip giant Intel is putting up $5 million over the next five years help build a technology law and policy center at North Carolina Central University, a historically Black college based in Durham.

The funding to the university’s law school will be used for legal and strategic expertise, faculty training, summer internships, and mentorship programs for faculty and students. Intel executives will serve as lecturers and will provide networking opportunities for NC Central students. 

According to a company statement, Intel’s goal is to “prepare the next generation of corporate attorneys by giving them exposure to corporate law on day one of their law school journey.” The program will also select two first-year students from the law school to join Intel’s summer associate program. 

According to NC Central chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye, the Intel partnership “makes NCCU the only HBCU and only law school in the country with a Tech Law Center that focuses on technology disparities and social justice.” The Intel gift, he added, “will provide students, as well as faculty and staff in the School of Law, with innovative opportunities in the classroom and direct connections with executives at the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturer. Most importantly, this collaboration will assist in solving issues of access and producing diverse legal professionals who are equipped to succeed locally, as well as globally.”

The center will seek to educate students about public policies and laws that are discriminatory and uphold “structural and systemic inequities.”

Since the global protests last summer over racism, more tech companies have sought to foster ties to HBCUs and help support them financially, as they are traditionally underfunded and lack the kind of corporate engagement that is typical for most colleges and universities. NCCU is earmarking about $400,000 from the first $1 million donation for the center’s foundation and staff recruitment, while another $500,000 will be spent on an endowed professorship. The remaining $100,000 has been designated for scholarships. 

“As a company and industry, we need to do better to ensure legal and policy jobs are available to all communities because talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. At the beginning of this year, we began to hold our legal counsel accountable to the Intel Rule, which states we will not retain or use outside law firms in the U.S. that are average or below average on diversity,” said Steven R. Rodgers, Intel’s general counsel. 

“And now, through this partnership we will hold ourselves accountable for extending the talent pipeline. Our investment in NCCU is only the beginning, and we will continue our efforts to provide more equitable access to tech, legal, and policy careers.”

As part of the deal, Rodgers will join the law school’s board of visitors, and two more Intel executives — senior VP Allon Stabinsky and social equity policies leader Rhonda Foxx — will serve on the center’s advisory board. 

Source: TechRepublic

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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