The admissions office will be holding one (up to two) LGBTQ+ prospective student events for Spring 2022. Additionally, the President of OUTLaw served as a student panelist for a January 2022 admissions event (Scholars and Advocates). Southwestern is planning to co-host an LGBTQ+ Law Fair for prospective students (in conjunction with the July 2022 Lavender Law Conference and the LGBT Bar Association).
Specific student organizations are not referenced in the welcome packet, but there is a reference to our commitment/achievements in diversity (page 6 of https://issuu.com/southwesternlawschool/docs/2021_southwestern_law_school_j.d._welcome_packet?fr=sNjY2NjM2ODQ3MTM). All student organizations, including OUTLaw, BLSA, APALSA, and LLSA, are listed on the public website, found here: https://www.swlaw.edu/student-life/student-organizations.
Applicants are also invited to submit an optional diversity statement where they can share their sexual orientation or gender identity.
We allow applicants to submit a “preferred name” on their application, but all official documents do require their legal name to be used. We are currently studying this issue.
We offer several institutional scholarship funds for LGBTQ+ students, such as:
– The Daniel Aragon Endowment Fund: Established to support continuing students with financial need who are active members of the Gay and Lesbian Association at Southwestern.
– Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Law Students Association Scholarship Fund: A fund was established by this Southwestern student organization to provide scholarships for deserving gay, lesbian and bisexual students at the law school.
– Robyn Mellender Memorial Scholarship Fund: This fund provides assistance to LGBT students at Southwestern.
Southwestern has been committed to academic diversity since its founding in 1911.Our commitment to diversity in faculty, students and staff remains a top priority for us today. Recruitment efforts for staff include advertising on several platforms in an effort to reach a diverse pool of qualified applicants. These platforms include LinkedIn, Simplicity, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and various listservs. With respect to faculty, we have taken special care to note all CV’s that have been submitted by diverse applicants through formal channels, such as AALS placement bulletins. We have also recruited through more informal channels. We appoint diverse recruitment committees. We have called on individual faculty members to reach out to members of federal, state, and local bar associations who come from historically underrepresented communities and show promise as law teachers,and encourage them to apply for faculty positions. Recruitment efforts for faculty include sending to various listservs and publications such as Minority Listserv, Women in Higher Education, Diverse Issues In Higher Education, and the National LGBT Bar Association.
After resigning in fall 2021, an individual who self-identifies as lesbian will be rejoining our full-time faculty in April 2022. Because she is not currently a member of our full-time faculty, this individual is not included in the numbers listed in our responses Questions 10 or 10b. When this individual rejoins Southwestern’s full-time faculty, the total number of self-identified LGBTQ+ faculty will increase to 8, and the total number of self-identified lesbian faculty will increase to 3.
Although Southwestern does not currently track this information or collect this data, we do have multiple staff members who self-identify as LGBTQ+.
Yes, comprehensive medical coverage is offered to all employees and their partners equally, regardless of LGBTQ+ status. From our health-care/insurance provider: Aetna complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. Aetna does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
Yes, Aetna does offer transition-related benefits for transgender/transitioning employees including Counseling, Hormone therapy, and Surgical.
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Yes, all Southwestern students have access to counseling and/or psychological services. Southwestern provides students with the counseling services of HelpNet, a private consulting firm that can refer students to counseling services and community resources for problems involving relationships, academic stress, family, financial and legal circumstances, substance abuse and other concerns. Students are entitled to two free counseling sessions each year (July 1 through June 30). All the counselors in HelpNet’s network have been carefully screened for professional licensing and credentials. On February 15, 2022, Southwestern launched a new mental health services program for students through a partnership with Christie Campus Health. This partnership provides all Southwestern students with access to personalized mental health services and attention 24/7, 365 days a year. The objective of this program is to reach all students with one easy-to-access mental health and wellbeing platform so that Southwestern can provide counseling and other services to students who are asking for help and for those who could be hesitant to seek the resources that they may need. Psychotherapist Daria Spino is also available to assist students on campus several days per week. Students are entitled to up to three, 50-minute sessions per semester, where they will receive one-on-one guidance.
Gender neutral restrooms are identified with restroom door “Gender Neutral” signage, are accessible for people with disabilities, and are available in both administrative buildings.
Southwestern is adding two single stall gender neutral restroom and construction will conclude by the end of March 2022. We are also considering changing from “gender neutral” to “gender inclusive.”
Beyond Marriage Equality: Protecting LGBTQI Family Relationships; Immigration and the LGBTQI Community; Intersections of Discrimination–Sexual Orientation, Race, and Gender; LGBTQI Youth in Systems of Care; Transgender Law
These five courses will be offered for the first time in Summer 2022 as part of a program in sexual orientation and gender identity law.
In the past, our OUTLaw student organization has been provided funding to attend the Lavender Law Conference and LSAC LGBTQIA Equality Conference.
Examples of same-sex harassment and harassment of transgender/non-binary people are included in the school’s mandatory anti-sexual harassment training.
Yes, optional for all students
Yes, we have a Diversity & Inclusion committee that is comprised of faculty, staff, and students that puts together programs and leads discussions to address these issues. Participation in the programs/events are optional for all staff, students, and faculty. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee has a portal page where students, staff, and faculty can access videos and articles, including on gender identity issues, and sends out a monthly newsletter to students that highlights a diversity-related topic and offers educational material to students. These newsletters have included a focus on transgender violence, for example. In addition, the school launched an extensive survey of the student body on inclusivity issues last year and is reviewing the results to identify areas of need. Additionally, The Dean’s Task Force for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging was established to address important issues related to the diversity and inclusiveness of our community. The Dean’s Task Force for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging has four subcommittees (Training, Programming, Grievance, and Curriculum) comprised of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The Dean’s Task Force has provided a unique opportunity for all subsections of our community to come to the table to discuss critical issues, those that relate to our sense of belonging, and put into action ways to make positive changes so that all community members feel valued and included at Southwestern.
We are currently working on how to import personal pronoun and chosen name information into our class rosters for faculty. We are also working on a personal pronoun and chosen name policy for faculty and staff.
At Southwestern, it is our mission to foster diversity and inclusion. We take pride in our vibrant community of students, staff, and faculty from all walks of life, and we strive to be as supportive as possible to our LGBTQ+ community. Here are all the additional ways our law school provides a welcoming, safe and inclusive learning environment to our LGBTQ+ community: As a show of support to our LGBTQ+ students and faculty, we have designed our own pride month school logo. We also purchased a Pride flag, which we plan to display during Pride Month. We have a whole week dedicated to Diversity in which our LGBTQ+ students are celebrated as part of our larger community. We have a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that is comprised of faculty, staff, AND students. Additionally, Southwestern is continuing the work of the Dean’s Task Force for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging to move our campus toward being as open and inclusive as possible and to help maintain an environment conducive to learning from one another, sharing experiences, and promoting justice. Our Student Bar Association organized and runs their SBA Social Justice Safe Space Series. In this monthly conversation series sponsored by our affinity groups, including our LGBTQ+ student group OUTLaw, guest lecturers are invited to help lead discussions on issues such as discrimination, racism, and disenfranchisement, as it relates to the legal profession. Southwestern Law School has been recognized for our commitment to diversity and has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity for seven years. This award was presented to Southwestern based on the law school’s exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity on campus, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community. This is one of many awards in recognition for our commitment to diversity. Last year, Southwestern was recognized by preLaw Magazine as one of the Top Ten Most Diverse Law Schools with a grade of A+. You can find more here: https://www.swlaw.edu/student-life/diversity. Several of our faculty write about LGBTQ+ issues. There is 24/7 security on campus to make sure all of our students feel safe on campus.