NSU College of Law is dedicated to creating, nurturing, and maintaining a diverse and inclusive law school community. The law school consistently works to recruiting a diverse student body and work force, including but not limited to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Prospective students can self-identify through the LSAC Application Portal. Faculty and staff can self-identify if they feel comfortable doing so. Also, LQBTQ+ students can join or participate in Lamba Law Society in addition to a large and diverse cohort of student organizations at NSU Law. NSU Law endeavors to offer a welcoming and engaging environment for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff. However, NSU Law can do a better job at reaching out to current and future law students to ensure that we are adequately addressing their issues and concerns. Finally, NSU Law is located in South Florida in an area where there is a significant and active LGBTQ+ community. This environment provides support and resources for students who wish to become engaged in political and legal issues relevant to the LGBTQ+ community.
Whether to allow students the ability to self-identify as LGBTQ+ in the admissions process has been and is currently a topic of discussion within NSU Law. The principal concern with creating a self-identifying process has been whether students will feel comfortable self-identifying. NSU Law would not want to create a situation where students are concerned about self-identifying for fear that they will be singled out or targeted for having done so. However, we also understand that there are legitimate reasons students may want to self-identify as LGBTQ+. This discussion is ongoing, and we continue to explore whether we should implement a self-identification process in the future. This process must allow students to self-identify in a manner that is safe, comfortable, and affirming.
During the admissions process, students may use their preferred names. After enrollment, the student’s given name will be used unless the student has completed an official name change in court and submits the supporting documents for the name change. To complete this process, a student must complete a Data Change Form and submit it to the Office of the University Registrar.
NSU College of Law provides a variety of scholarship opportunities from outside organizations. Many such opportunities are from specific bar associations or other community associations focused on diversity in the legal profession.
According to its Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity policy, NSU undertakes affirmative action by employing qualified members of minority groups and ensuring the absence of discriminatory hiring or employment practices. In line with this policy, all employees will be provided an equal opportunity to be considered for promotion or transfer regardless of race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation or belief, national origin, veteran status, or marital status – if they satisfy the education (or equivalent) and experience requirements for the position. NSU Law reaffirms its commitment to diversity in its recruitment process beginning with clear, affirmative statements in job postings for faculty. This year, the Appointments Committee members attended a webinar on enhancing diversity in the recruitment process. In addition, NSU Law reaches out to affinity bar organizations to seek diverse applicants. Furthermore, NSU Law monitors the diversity of its interview candidates to make sure there is an inclusive hiring process.
The law school uses a voluntary, anonymous survey to allow staff/faculty/administrator to confidentially identify their gender identity and sexual orientation.
NSU’s health benefits do not cover assisted reproductive benefits but do cover mammograms, prostate exams, hysterectomies, and other preventative care.
The NSU Henderson Counseling Services includes the following statement in their Mission Statement: “The center staff will provide students with an opportunity to develop personal insight, identify and solve problems, and implement positive strategies to better manage their lives both academically and personally. They will be sensitive to issues of cultural diversity including but not limited to age, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and religion.” The Registration Portal for new patients includes the following categories under Gender: Female; Transgender (FTM), Genderqueer, Male, Transgender (MTF), Choose not to disclose, Other and Unknown. The Portal also includes the following categories under sexual orientation: Straight or Heterosexual; Bisexual; Lesbian, gay or homosexual; Choose not to disclose; Other; and Unknown. These categories and the clinical staff bios show that this counseling service works with identity issues and transitions.
In addition, the student health insurance program offered through UnitedHealthCare StudentResources (UHCSR) provides access to many resources for the LGBTQ+ Community through its Living Well Portal.
Two separate single restrooms located in our second-floor faculty wing, also open for students are labelled with unisex signage and are available for all to use. Here is a picture of the sign and the door signs have been changed in the last year to mirror it.
Nova Southeastern University undergraduate campus has gender neutral and inclusive restrooms. A gender-neutral restroom has been designated in the College of Law building and signage to notify the community of this restroom has been installed in the last year. The law school maintains gender-segregated restrooms in part because there is an antiquated Florida Plumbing Code (Section 403) that requires very specific ratios of male and female bathroom fixtures in public accommodations. This code also regulates gender neutral bathrooms. However, there is no restroom use policy in place at Nova Southeastern University.
Advanced Clinic and Field Placement – N/A, Caribbean Law Seminar – 11%, Children and Families Clinic – 10%, Civil Field Placement Clinic – 14%, Constitutional Law I – 8-10% (Depending on the professor), Constitutional Law II – 6-10% (Depending on the professor), Current Constitutional Issues Seminar — 3%, Family Law 10-30% (Depending on the professor), Health Policy and Bioethics – 10-15 %, Immigration, Nationality, and Refugee Law – N/A
The Lambda Law Society is the active law student organization that is supported by both the College of Law administration and the University Student Affairs Office who manages funding of the student organizations. The Lambda Law Society mission statement is as follows:
“Lambda Law Society furthers awareness of legal and social rights of people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered and promotes the highest standards of professional ethics and equality in the law school community. We seek to create an environment that is open and hospitable for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered students and welcome all students committed to promoting equality and diversity within the legal profession.”
Lambda Law Society is funded through the Student Bar Association at the College of Law. The organization promotes learning and networking opportunities such as “Out and About,” an event sponsored by the Kozak Minority Mentoring Foundation and community partners. Lambda Law Society has a distribution group to share information about events and opportunities for LGBTQ + law students and lawyers. Organizations may also seek a grant from the University to attend focused learning programs workshops.
The University Student Handbook includes the Code of Conduct, which has the following language:
“Any code of student conduct violation that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim may be considered a hate-based conduct violation. The categories of bias include the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, homeless status, or advanced age. Any student found to have committed a hate-based conduct violation may be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, dismissal from NSU.”
It also provides:
“Gender-Based Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a person’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender express, nonconformity with gender stereotypes, or sexual orientation.”
NSU requires Biennial mandatory training for all employees’ centers on Preventing Discrimination and Harassment. This training examines the types of workplace conduct that are considered unlawful discrimination and harassment.
NSU Core eight core values are Academic Excellence; Student Centered, Integrity, Innovation, Opportunity, Scholarship/Research, Diversity and Community. The University promotes and reinforces those values with its Living the Values employee recognition program. The Living the Values program encourages employees to recognize colleagues’ employees who are living NSU’s eight core values. Additionally, the program guides employees to a clear understanding of what the core values are and how they each contribute to the achievement of NSU’s Vision.
NSU Law is in the process of developing a process to capture personal pronoun information, most likely in email communications and will explore the best ways to notify faculty about student pronoun and name preferences.
As part of Nova Southeastern University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and in direct collaboration with the Office of the President, the university has created the Belonging, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (BEDI) Advisory Council, a university-wide effort that aims to amplify NSU’s efforts toward diversity and inclusion across all campuses and the greater NSU community.
With the following mission statement: “We will guide Nova Southeastern University toward inclusive excellence by cultivating and supporting the ongoing development and implementation of processes, procedures, and programs that promote greater belonging, equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout all aspects of the university, so that all members of NSU can be empowered to pursue their full potential and do their very best work,” the BEDI Advisory Council is comprised of DEI leaders from across the various NSU colleges and administrative units.