When the LSU Law Center’s OUTlaw student organization is active, the Admissions staff work with their membership to reach out to prospective students who have self-identified as members of the LGBTQ+ community. The recruiting staff have also attended and participated in recruitment events hosted by LGBTQ+ organizations. Faculty have also participated by contacting potential students who have self- identified as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Admissions staff shares information about all student organizations with all admitted students, which includes OUTlaw and ethnic minority affinity groups such as the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Hispanic Law Students Association (HLSA), and the Society of Asian Lawyers (SAL). Note, however, that as student-led organizations, OUTlaw, BLSA, HLSA, SAL and others may be more or less active in different academic years depending on leadership changes.
The LSU Law Center is committed to employing a diverse staff/faculty/administrators. The faculty committee charged with faculty recruiting is routinely comprised of a diverse group of faculty members, including diversity of both gender and sexual orientation. The committee advertises faculty positions widely, including circulation in the AALS faculty recruiting bulletins and postings on numerous blogs and listservs, and includes a statement of diversity in each. Similarly, staff and administrator positions are advertised widely through the LSU Human Resource Management Department and also include statements of equal opportunity.
#13: Employee benefits are managed by the LSU Human Resource Management office. LSU has a robust offering of benefit plans, including 7 health plans to choose from. LSU also follows all guidelines set forth by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
#13a: The University treats legally married couples the same regarding health care and other benefits, regardless as to whether the marriage is between same or differently sexed individuals. Domestic partnerships are not recognized by the State of Louisiana, thus does not fall within the eligibility guidelines.
#13b: The benefit programs offered through LSU meet all laws and regulations.
#14: The benefit programs offered through LSU meet all laws and regulations.
#15: The LSU Student Health Insurance Plan excludes services for fertility/infertility, including procreative counseling, infertility treatment, and cryopreservation of reproductive materials.
The counselor housed at the Law Center has a Master level degree in Social Work from the LSU School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Louisiana. The counselor has attended the Safe Space training offered at LSU by The LGBTQ+ Project, a unit of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. This training explores basic LGBTQ+ terminology and ways to make language more inclusive, to identify some of the privileges of being a straight, non-transgender/cisgender person, and to discuss the coming-out process, as well as ways in which one can be a better ally to LGBTQ+ students on campus.
Law students have access to counseling and therapy services offered to all students of Louisiana State University. All students may access services provided by the Student Health Center, including mental health services and treatment. The Student Health Center employees licensed professionals and graduate students from the field of clinical psychology, clinical social work, professional counseling, and psychiatry. Beginning in May 2019, the Law Center entered into an agreement with the Student Health Center to employ a counselor dedicated to helping law students in particular. This counselor is housed primarily in the law building for efficient access to law students and sees only law students.
Additionally, the LSU Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability assists students facing stress, crisis or distress and provides a range of services designed to enhance student well-being, including individual meetings with students, academic support, and referrals to other campus and community resources where applicable.
LSU does not have a formal gender-inclusive restroom policy. However, the LSU Law Center provides 11 gender-inclusive single-stall restrooms throughout the Law Center Building. These restrooms are identified with signage displaying generic male, female, and handicap images, as well as raised braille lettering. These restrooms are all handicap accessible.
As to question #19, LSU does not have a formal gender-segregated restroom policy.
As described in Section 3, the Law Center has an active LGBTQ+ student group, OUTlaw, which has been chartered by the Student Bar Association and receives the same level of support provided to all student organizations. The group is student-led; the level of activity varies from one academic year to another, but the group is generally active.
The Law Center provides funding, including travel support, to law students in accordance with state and university regulations, and in keeping with its Diversity and Inclusion Statement. Law student organizations are chartered by the Student Bar Association, and currently include the OUTlaw organization. Per the Law Center website, the mission of OUTlaw is to create a climate at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in which it is safe and comfortable to be openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or an ally (“LGBT”). OUTlaw seeks to create an atmosphere of acceptance and comfort, instill justice, and combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The organization exists to provide support and a sense of community while simultaneously engaging in political activism and advocacy. The organization has access to funding for programming, which may include guest speakers, organizational meetings, and travel.
All employees of the University, including faculty, staff/administrators, and student workers must adhere to the Violence Free Workplace policy (PS-102), which includes not only assault and battery, but also credible threats, defined as “a statement (verbal or written) or action that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the safety of him/herself or that of another person and does, in fact, cause such fear.” By this policy, employees also have a responsibility to report knowledge of inappropriate behavior that may fall under this policy. The University’s Equal Opportunity policy (PS-1) also emphasizes the commitment to provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment and provides a mechanism for addressing complaints of such. Employees may file a grievance under the University’s grievance policy (PS-80) to seek solutions for issues arising out of working conditions, including issues of discrimination. Employees are also bound by the University’s Sexual Harassment policy (PS-73).
Law students in particular are bound by the Law Center’s Code of Student Professional Responsibility, which includes prohibitions against behavior (both physical and verbal) that arises from hate/bias/discrimination based on race, gender, gender identity/expression, religious beliefs, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
The policies described here address sexual orientation and gender/expression where discrimination is defined within the policy. (The grievance policy does not define specific areas of grievance but rather sets forth the mechanism for filing and disposition of grievances.)
All employees are required to participate in annual Preventing Sexual Misconduct Training which satisfies the training requirements outlined in both the 2012 Louisiana Senate Concurrent Resolution 107 that requires one hour of sexual harassment training, and in Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, which requires training on sexual misconduct prevention. In this training, employees learn about their role in preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment on college campuses.
In Fall 2019, the entering first-year class received implicit bias programming focused on LGBTQ+ issues as part of a professionalism component of mandatory orientation. This training has now been integrated into the first-year orientation program as a permanent component.
The LSU Law Center diligently works to be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff in a number of ways. Many law staff and faculty have participated in Safe Space trainings that educate on the particular needs and perspectives of LGBTQ+ students and mark their offices with Safe Space stickers for easy identification. The Law Library assembles a display featuring important moments in LGBTQ+ history during Gay History Month each year. In addition, the OUTlaw student organization sponsors events and speakers on topics of interest for LGBTQ+ students throughout the school year. In the past, those events have ranged from national experts speaking on major law related topics impacting the LGBTQ+ community to local LGBTQ+ attorneys speaking to the realities of being Out on the job market and at work.