Additional information for Q1:
In addition to the Statement of Nondiscrimination, the LSU Law Center has adopted a Diversity and Inclusion Statement that can be found at this URL: https://www.law.lsu.edu/students/diversity/. It reads:
LSU Law is committed to diversity and inclusion, and we believe the legal profession benefits from varied perspectives and backgrounds and is more creative and effective when its membership reflects the full spectrum of civil society. Our recognition of the value of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession commits us to the responsibility of creating and maintaining an intellectual and social climate at the Law Center that welcomes all and respects the rights, differences, and dignity of others. We strive to bring together diverse ideas, perspectives, and talents within the LSU Law community, and we welcome and support our students, faculty, and staff of different races, genders, gender identities/expressions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, national origins, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, religion, spirituality, disability, family status, experiences, opinions, and ideas. Through respect for differences, our students, faculty, and staff bring a wealth of perspectives and cultural experiences that enhance our classrooms and our ability to achieve academic excellence. We aim to create an environment where every student has the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential, and we pride ourselves in promoting an inclusive and respectful environment for the exchange of ideas.
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 active in different academic years depending on leadership changes.
Although students have the option to include this information in their diversity or personal statements, the admissions software (ACES 2) does not include a specific question that captures this information in a way that the school can pull the data from the application.
The Law Center is committed to employing and including diverse staff/faculty/administrators. The faculty committee charged with faculty recruiting is routinely comprised of a diverse group of faculty members, including diversity gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. 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.
The University also requires that faculty search committees include an appointed Diversity Advocate. This person serves as a full member of the search committee, but also ensures all members of the committee take an active role in promoting diversity, recognizing and intervening to address bias throughout the search process. Diversity Advocates are required to complete university-approved professional development on diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias and, upon training, receive an endorsement by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to serve in this role.
Because the school does not conduct a formal “Self-ID” program, it does not have responsive information to questions 10b. – 10f.
The benefit programs offered through LSU meet all laws and regulations.
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).
The University treats legally married couples the same regarding health care and other benefits, regardless of the sex or gender of individuals in the legal marriage. Domestic partnerships are not recognized by the State of Louisiana, and do not fall within the eligibility guidelines, again regardless of gender or sex.
Due to multiple health plans that are offered to LSU faculty and staff, the policies will be sent via email.
The LSU Student Health Insurance Plan excludes services for fertility/infertility, including procreative counseling, infertility treatment, and cryopreservation of reproductive materials.
Cultural competency is part of all graduate education programs and is part of the codes of ethics followed within their discipline, so counselors do have foundational training and awareness of issues particular to LGBTQ+ patients. Staff are also encouraged to complete Safe Space training offered by LSU if they have never taken it or if it has been many years since they have taken it. Additionally, in 2021, the resident psychiatrist at the LSU Student Health Center worked on a quality improvement study that focused on examining use of gender inclusive language in written charting and educational materials. During the hiring process, the LSU Student Health Center seeks to hire staff and appoint interns who personally have diverse identities themselves. Also, the providers in the medical clinic have worked with students who are undergoing hormone therapy and needed continued care while a student at LSU.
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 position is currently vacant with an active search underway. When the position is filled, 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.
See response to Question #22a. below.
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.
Of note, however, is that the COVID-related university restrictions on all campus activities and student and employee travel have impacted programming and therefore funds spent on programming since March 2020. This is true for OUTlaw as well as all other student organizations. As of the date of this questionnaire, most COVID-related restrictions have been lifted, and programming should resume.
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.
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 above 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.
Beginning with the Fall 2019 semester, the entering first-year class receives implicit bias programming focused on LGBTQ+ issues as part of a professionalism component of mandatory orientation.
Although the university does not expressly request that personal pronouns be used in all fora, it does facilitate the use of personal pronouns. The university allows personal pronouns to be used in official LSU email signatures, accepts personal pronouns for inclusion on official LSU business cards, and allows personal pronouns to be added to official LSU nametags. As a result, the practice is widespread within at least electronic communication such as email signatures and Zoom profiles.
The current student information system used by LSU does not provide a means to collect personal pronouns or to self-select gender identity. This system – a ‘homegrown’ mainframe system – is outdated by decades, and the university is in the process of migrating to a more robust student information system. The ability to designate personal pronouns and to self-select gender identity have been designated as priority items for the new system.
If a student communicates a preference regarding personal pronouns to a university employee (generally staff in the Law Registrar’s Office), that information is shared with faculty members, and faculty members are expected to use those preferences in the classroom.
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 typical 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.