We intentionally seek out LGBTQ+ prospective students. We do this by sending directed emails to all students who identify as LGBTQ+ through LSAC. We also meet directly with our undergraduate LGBTQ+ student organization, and send information about events to diversity offices and LGBTQ+ offices at various state and region-wide undergraduate institutions. If a prospective student connects with us and self-identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, we try to connect them with a current student or alum who is also a member of the community.
Our law school application states:
Gender/LGBTQ Washburn Law recognizes that gender is not binary. Consequently, regardless of which gender option you selected from the options above, feel free to share any additional information with us here. (Pronouns, etc.)
Do you identify as a member of the LGBTQ community or as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer person? ____ Yes ____ No
If you are not “out” and would like Washburn Law to maintain your identity status as confidential, please check “yes” below. ____ Yes ____ No
Washburn Law recruits faculty through the AALS faculty recruitment process. That process allows applicants to self-identify as LGBTQ+. As part of the hiring process, Washburn considers many factors, including the diversity of its faculty and staff.
FMLA is administered according to the federal regulations. Health insurance is based on the marriage status – regardless of sex. Surrogate mother coverage is the same as birth mother except if the petition to adopt is not filed there are no benefits for a surrogate mother. A petition to adopt the child must be filed within 90 days of birth. Insurance pays birth mother benefits prior to the adoption being final as long as the adopting parents have filed a petition for the adoption. There is no benefit for the surrogate mother in the event of miscarriage or stillbirth.
For the purpose of health insurance, transgender benefits are not excluded. We also offer an employee assistance program.
Students may purchase health insurance through a third-party provider, and can go beyond individual coverage to cover a lawful same-sex spouse or lawful same-sex domestic partner. Medically necessary in-vitro fertilization or any other medically aided insemination procedure is covered.
No student receives family medical leave, parental leave, or adoptive benefits as an employee would, but all students receive consideration for absences due to family duties and emergencies as are consistent with the attendance policies in place under ABA accreditation requirements.
Health Services Director’s Response: I am so glad to hear this survey is asking about care for our LGBTQ+ students! Sam and I, along with the rest of SHS staff have all been through ALLY training on campus. We have each completed multiple hours of continuing education courses through the Fenway Institute and the National LGBT health education center. We have inclusive language on our clinic forms and in our health screening questions. I worked with a group of MSN students a few years ago to create care pathways for our transgender students at various levels of their transition and have presented on this topic for the Kansas Center for Cultural Competency Advancement. We have worked with Diversity and Inclusion on campus for “Gaypril” events and other education opportunities. Sam and I are both listed as resource people on campus for our LGBTQ+ students. We have helpful links on our webpages for further information on these topics.
Counseling Services Director’s Response: My formal training comes from a graduate course in ethics and diversity. The texts we utilized were Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice by Hays and Counseling the Culturally Diverse, Theory and Practice, by Sue and Sue. I mention the texts because Sue and Sue are the “go to” in the field for cultural competency literature. Since then, webinars & seminars related to my advocacy credential, ALLY training on campus, and individual therapy work with our LGBTQ+ population here on campus have been my primary means of maintaining culturally competent practice for this population. When needed, I’ve also reconnected with supervisors and mentors for specific guidance in treatment and practice with LGBTQ+ clients.
Additional University Counselor’s Response: My training background and updates are similar to Crystal’s experience. My formal training is through my graduate program course in working with diverse populations (using the Sue and Sue text Crystal mentioned). Since then, I continue to search out my own readings and resources, consult with experienced supervisors on specific therapeutic cases or issues, and pursue trainings including the ALLY training and various continuing education courses.
Campus Advocate Response: I participate in webinars that focus on advocacy for LGBTQ+ populations. We all have participated in the Ally training offered at Washburn. I also actively seek out literature related to the LGBTQ populations and their increased risk factors for violence/discrimination and how to best support them.
Signage says “Restroom Available to All,” restrooms are identified in online resources, one restroom in law building, two in law clinic, all accessible for people with disabilities.
Gender, Sexuality and the Law
Washburn Law participates in several diversity career fairs, including: the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Heartland Diversity Legal Job Fair, the Cook County Bar Association Minority Job Fair, the Twin Cities Diversity in Practice program, and the Lavender Law® Career Fair.
Our LGBTQ+ organization, the Rainbow Bar (formerly Genders & Sexualities Alliance, or GSA) receives the same allocation from student activity fees to participate in learning and career service opportunities as the other approved organizations. The organization may choose to pay the registration fee for members to attend Lavender Law or other LGBTQ+-focused learning and/or career service opportunities, and students sometimes attend the Heartland Diversity Job Fair, for which there isn’t a registration fee. The Rainbow Bar also sponsors LGBTQ+ attorney Lunch & Learns.
The school enables and welcomes the sharing of personal pronouns and honorifics on signature blocks, Zoom profiles, name tags, event registration forms, etc.
We ask for preferred pronouns on both the application for admission and the new student profiles. The only two honorific options currently available on the LSAC application are “Mr.” and “Ms.” but we ask about honorifics as well as pronouns on the profiles. The profile includes a required “Title” field and because it is a free text field, students have the option of providing honorifics such as “Mx., Dr.,” etc. The profile also includes an optional “preferred pronoun(s)” field. When information is provided by the student, this information is available through the online student directory and the class rosters.
Our Dean is very invested in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, as is the faculty. Dean Pratt received the Philip J. McConnaughay award for outstanding achievement in diversity-related work and has served on a Commission for LGBTQ Equity.
We are a small law school (330 students) that provides an open-door, supportive, and welcoming environment to our students, which tends to be echoed by the student body. Each entering class is broken into small groups of approximately 5 students led by trained and rigorously selected upper-class law students who provide guidance and support to students during their first semester. Sometimes the leaders are from the LGBTQ+ community. All groups are told about our LGBTQ+ organization and given the contact information of the officers. Each entering student also has the opportunity to meet with LGBTQ+ officers during the Opportunity Fair each semester.
The university provides LGBTQ+ events and information sessions multiple times each semester, which are open to all faculty, staff, and students. The university also hosts a Gender Brown Bag Series, which gives faculty, staff, students, and community members the opportunity to come together over the noon hour and discuss gender issues. The law school provides diversity and inclusion training and discussion at faculty meetings and at the staff retreats.
Many of our faculty and staff attend events sponsored by the local alternative community and support their causes and organizations. Our Associate Dean for Centers and External Programs has given pro bono assistance to Positive Connections, a local non-profit support organization for sexual health and support services, including HIV and other issues. Assistance has been given with legal issues, including sale and purchase of the commercial property for their current site as well as providing board member training for their governing board.
The law school regularly hosts programming geared toward the LGBTQ+ population and educating our students/faculty on LGBTQ+ issues.