For Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law Professor Michael Bazyler, the growing refugee crisis created by the ongoing war in Ukraine is more than just a horrifying international news story. It’s a reflection of both his heritage and personal experience as a Russian-speaking Jewish refugee who came to America in the 1960s with his Holocaust-survivor parents.
Bazyler started a project with Chapman University law students Laura Evans and Sasha Seagull, titled ДітиМатеріТранспорт: Ukrainian Mothers and Children Transport, a name meant to evoke the 1930s Kindertransport program that allowed 10,000 Jewish children to enter the United Kingdom from Nazi-occupied Europe prior to World War II.
“I want to help folks in similar situations as when I came to this country as a refugee,” Bazyler added. “I feel like it’s my time to step up. I already have three children, but I feel like I have a fourth daughter named Ukraine – and that fourth daughter needs my attention.”
Since May, the project has 11 active cases, with a handful nearly completed, said Evans, Chapman law student director of the Ukrainian Mothers and Children Transport Initiative. “It can take months to process some of the documents for these cases,” she added.
Bazyler recruited the help of current and former Dale E. Fowler School of Law students who provide complimentary legal services to Ukrainian refugees.
“This is a unique initiative of more than 35 law student volunteers and immigration law attorneys from across the country using their legal skills to find Ukrainian refugees safety in the United States,” said Bazyler. “We basically created a pop-up immigration law clinic specifically for Ukrainians to deal with this emergency.”
Bazyler considers the Ukrainian Mothers and Children Transport project part of his responsibility as both a faculty member and a member of the local community.
“One of the things the law school community is supposed to do, if we want, is engage in social action,” said Bazyler.
It’s a view echoed by Dale E. Fowler School of Law Interim Dean Marisa Cianciarulo.
“Professor Bazyler’s project represents the type of community outreach to which we should all be aspiring,” said Cianciarulo. “Not only will it provide a crucial service for refugees, but also invaluable real-world pro bono experience for our students.”
About Chapman University
Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a nationally ranked private university located in Southern California. Chapman is categorized by the Carnegie Classification as an R2 “high research activity” institution and offers personalized education to more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The campus has produced a Rhodes Scholar, been named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, and hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Based in the city of Orange, Chapman also includes the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine. In 2019, the university opened its 11th college, Fowler School of Engineering, in its newest facility, Keck Center for Science and Engineering. Learn more about Chapman University: www.chapman.edu.
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