Our affinity group leaders and a representative of our OUTLaws & Allies organization send all law school candidates in the LSAC Candidate Referral Service who identified as LGBTQ+ and/or are members of other affinity groups an introductory email informing them of the organizations at St. John’s Law and welcoming them to contact them directly or the admissions office. The admissions office also recruits prospective students at events nationwide, including many that are focused on reaching diverse student populations, including LGBTQ+ students. St. John’s Law actively recruits students from the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program for College Students. This pipeline program actively seeks out diverse candidates, including those from the LGBTQ+ community. At the yield stage, our OUTLaws & Allies student leaders reach out to admitted students who identify as LGBTQ+ by email, they welcome the admitted students on campus, and they invite them to connect with them at the Law School’s Annual Diversity & Inclusion Gala held in late March.
The St. John’s School of Law admission welcome packet lists all of our shared identity groups, including Outlaws & Allies, BLSA, LALSA, APALSA, SALSA in our viewbook, updated every year. We also link students to our website where these groups are featured. This year the admission packet mailed to LGBTQ+ admitted students and those in other underrepresented groups also includes an invitation to attend the Law School’s Annual Diversity and Inclusion Gala. Additionally, an email invitation was sent to all admitted students to join the Law School’s Black Authors Book Club.
The application contains an optional biographical section where applicants may share a gender other than the one listed on standard legal forms, indicate their preferred pronouns, choose “Mx.” as a prefix; and a diversity and inclusion section where applicants may opt-in to receiving outreach from our student LGBTQ+ group. Applicants are also invited to include an optional statement in their applications discussing economic, cultural, or social factors that have been significant in their development and identity, or that have presented obstacles to them. Many applicants use this statement to discuss their sexual orientation or gender identity. There is also a process for students to change their gender identity post-enrollment.
St. John’s Law School actively seeks to employ a diverse pool of staff, faculty, and administrators including visible, out LGBTQ+ individuals. St. John’s Law School is located in New York City in the borough of Queens, recognized as one of the most diverse urban counties in the United States. The Law School is committed to diversity of all kinds and we encourage applications from candidates who will increase the diversity of the St. John’s Law community. The Appointments Committee at the Law School makes efforts to recruit promising candidates from all underrepresented groups in the legal academy, including LGBTQ+ faculty. The Appointments Committee considers candidates’ potential contribution to the diversity of our faculty in evaluating candidates, and we have solicited applications from candidates representing underrepresented groups (including LGBT candidates) identified by members of our current faculty, by colleagues on other faculties, and through our own review of the faculties of other law schools we look to as sources of potential lateral candidates. The diversity statement from our faculty hiring posting, states in part, “St. John’s University is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex (including sexual harassment and sexual violence), sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, disability, religion, age, status in the uniformed services of the United States (including veteran status), marital status, status as a victim of domestic violence, citizenship status, genetic predisposition, carrier status, or any other classification protected under federal, state, or local law.” In addition, the advertisement specifically states that the Law School is “particularly interested in candidates who will add to the diversity of our faculty.” The Appointments Committee pays special attention to candidates who identify themselves in ways that will enrich the diversity of the Law School community and prioritizes interviewing and calling back such candidates. In making hiring decisions, one of the factors considered is whether the candidate will add to the diversity of the St. John’s Law community; and that includes LGBTQ+ diversity. Candidates who interview at the Law School are introduced to our diverse and inclusive environment with indicators of our culture that include prominently displayed signs throughout the Law School building that St. John’s Law is a “Diverse, Inclusive, Accepting, Welcoming, Safe Space for Everyone.”
As members of the Law School community, all faculty, staff, and administrators have the opportunity to voluntarily and (if they desire, confidentially) self-identify their gender identity and sexual orientation.
St. John’s University offers health insurance, family medical leave, parental leave, and nontraditional family planning such as in vitro fertilization and/or adoptive benefits on equal terms to same-sex couples who are married. A link to the St. John’s University Employee Benefits Program and Welfare Benefit Plan can be found in answer to the next question.
The student health insurance plan is only available to enrolled students. Some transition-related healthcare benefits may be offered to enrolled students.
The University’s Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) webpage states that it is dedicated to helping students with a whole range of challenges that may interfere with the ability to live well, relate to others, and succeed academically. Our services include assessment, individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultation and referral and outreach programming. Psychiatric consultation is also available when appropriate. All CCC services are free and confidential within the limits of legal and ethical restrictions. The Center uses a short-term counseling model but should [a student need] more longstanding or specialized support referrals can be made to resources within the community.
St. John’s provides three gender-inclusive restrooms in the Law School building. These gender-inclusive restrooms are identified with signage that states, “ALL-GENDER RESTROOM” in addition to having room numbers on the doors for identification on building maps. The St. John’s Law OUTLaws and Allies executive board distributed electronic communication informing students about the availability and location of these facilities. In addition, the Inclusivity Resource Center at St. John’s University also provides gender neutral resources to the student body.
The gender-segregated restrooms that the Law School maintains are in addition to the three clearly-identified, gender-inclusive restrooms referenced in the response to Question #18a.
St. John’s Law offers a course on Issues of Race & Gender in Law, which includes consideration of LGBTQ+ issues. Additional courses that cover or discuss LGBTQ+ issues include, but are not limited to, the following:
Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law Seminar
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
International Human Rights Law
Legislative and Statutory Interpretation
The First Amendment: The Religion Clauses
Trusts and Estates
St. John’s Law has an active LGBTQ+ law student group, OUTLaws & Allies, that is supported by the administration and Law School community in general. St. John’s Law provides funding, including travel support, for LGBTQ+ students to participate in LGBTQ+-focused learning and career services opportunities such as the Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair convened by the LGBT Bar and events with the LGBT Bar Association and Foundation of Greater New York (LeGaL).
The Law School adheres to the University’s Policy Against Bias, Discrimination, and Harassment (https://www.stjohns.edu/about/administrative-offices/human-resources/policy-704-policy-against-bias-discrimination-and-harassment)
Yes, mandatory for all students
St. John’s Law continuously works to be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming home for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, administrators, and guests. It is committed to providing relevant LGBTQ+ resources through trainings, initiatives, and events directed towards awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and concerns. The administration includes an appointed Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, in part, to devote a safe space at St. John’s Law for members of the LGBTQ+ community and expand the reach of the Law School to the LGBTQ+ legal community. St. John’s Law regularly recognizes the contributions of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, administrators, and staff in strengthening our diversity. LGBTQ+ students at St. John’s University School of Law experience a welcoming environment and are supported by faculty and administrators as well as a robust LGBTQ+ student organization, OUTLaws and Allies. OUTLaws and Allies engages our student community by planning professional and social events each semester and reaching out to admitted students who indicate on their applications that they are LGBTQ+. Drawing on the diverse and welcoming legal community in New York City and our alumni base, members of OUTLaws and Allies have the opportunity to network with LGBTQ+-friendly employers and members of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York on a regular basis, and the Law School hosts LGBTQ+ judges and practitioners at student-centered events. Members of the LGBTQ+ student and alumni community are also celebrated each year at our annual Diversity and Inclusion Gala.