Florida State University College of Law

1. Does your law school intentionally seek out LGBTQ+ prospective students?
Yes
a. If so, how and where are your efforts directed?

Yes. We utilize the Candidate Referral Services queries through LSAC to identify targeted lists of students to connect with to encourage them to consider Florida State Law. We have a specific template from the President of OUTLaw, our LGBTQ student organization, that we send to prospective students and admitted students that self-identify as LGBTQ through their LSAC profile or application to the law school. We also frequently ask the executive board members of OUTLaw to connect with our admitted students who have self-identified as part of the LGBTQ community. We have several members of the LGBTQ community who serves as Student Ambassadors.

We actively recruit students from the LGBTQ community for participation in our Summer for Undergraduates Program which is a four-week residential academic program for students interested in law school. We particularly welcome students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the legal profession. Our outreach efforts include marketing our program to LGBTQ and related student organizations at colleges and universities across the country and asking past participants to serve as ambassadors for the program at their home institutions.

2. Does your law school's welcome packet for admitted students include mention of identity group support for LGBTQ+ students, as well as for students of color or other minorities?
No

Our acceptance packet does not make specific mention of any organizations or support groups. Our Student Ambassadors call each admitted student and we allow ambassadors to connect with students based on interests, undergraduate institution, ethnicity, gender, etc. We also utilize student organizations such as OUTLaw, BLSA and CABA to make calls to admitted students.

3. Does your school offer students the option to self-identify as LGBTQ+ in admissions applications or post-enrollment forms?
Yes

Yes, our application includes an optional diversity statement, and applicants are able to self-identify their status should they choose through their LSAC profile, which populates into their application once they apply.

4. Does your law school offer transgender students who have not legally changed their names the ability to have their name of choice on admission applications or post enrollment forms?
Yes

Our application does require their legal name, however, we also offer the opportunity to list a preferred name. Our application allows an applicant to identify male, female or other as the gender options. We will be enhancing those options in the next application cycle. Once enrolled, a student’s preferred name is used on class rosters, attendance sheets and the like.

5. Does your law school provide any annual scholarships specifically for LGBTQ+ students?
Yes

Our Calvin Patterson Summer Scholars Program, open to all students, provides summer funding for students who demonstrate a significant interest in and commitment to protecting and furthering the civil rights of women, African Americans, and the LGBTQ community, including but not limited to, the areas of employment, health, voting, education or housing. Recent recipients of this scholarship have interned at GLAD Legal Services in Boston, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Atlanta, and American Civil Liberties Union in New York City.

6. Does your law school provide funding, including travel support, for LGBTQ+ students to participate in LGBTQ+-focused learning and career services opportunities?
Yes
a. If so, please provide details and examples of when and how those opportunities have been utilized.

The Career Services office publicizes job fair events and urges students to attend.  Students who choose to participate in job fairs are offered coaching and advising on documents, networking and interviewing, as well as call backs.

Last year, students attending the South East Minority Job Fair (SEMJF) were offered transportation to help with the cost of attending. Enhancing diversity is one of the primary goals of SEMJF.

Additionally, students were encouraged to apply to the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair, which showcases over 200 employers, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National Center for Transgender Equality. Six student expressing an interest in attending and financial hardship applied for and were awarded a stipend to assist with the cost of attending the event.

In 2019, Career Services is also publicizing the Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair, and will provide students with an interest in attending and financial hardship with an opportunity to apply for stipend to supplement travel to this event.

7. Does your law school actively seek to employ diverse staff/faculty/administrators, including visible, out LGBTQ+ individuals?
Yes
a. If so, please detail how and where recruitment efforts are directed

It is a university and law school initiative to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse faculty and staff. Diversity & inclusion is at the forefront of the mandatory Search Training required for all hiring committee chairs. The law school’s Faculty Appointments Committee actively pursues out LGBTQ candidates, including (when applicable) the possibility of spousal hires within the law school or in other university departments.

8. Please identify, to your knowledge, how many out LGBTQ+ faculty your law school employs (if any)
The law school is aware of two faculty who are out, one of whom is faculty of color.
How many out LGBTQ+ faculty of color does your institution currently employ in total?
1
9. Please identify, to your knowledge, how many out LGBTQ+ staff/administrators?
The law school is not aware of any current staff/administrators who are out, but has been supportive and inclusive of previous out employees. One incoming Associate Dean is out.
10. Does your law school provide benefits such as 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 or in registered domestic partnerships as are provided to different-sex married or registered domestic partner couples?
Yes
a. If so, please summarize or reproduce your policy here

The State of Florida insurance plans cover in vitro and adoptive benefits for married couples, including same-sex couples.

11. Does your law school offer the aforementioned health benefits to students and their same-sex spouses/partners?
Yes
a. If so, please summarize or reproduce your policy here

The student health plan does not cover in vitro fertilization but has built-in coverage for adoptive dependents (to either group).

12. Does your law school offer transition-related health benefits to transgender and/or transitioning employees?
No
a. If so, please summarize or reproduce your policy here

The State of Florida insurance plans do not cover transition-related health benefits.

13. Does your school offer the same transition-related healthcare benefits to students and their partners/spouses?
Yes
a. If so, please summarize or reproduce your policy here (or you may email a copy of your policy to rishell@lgbtbar.org):

The student health plan offers transition-related health benefits to transgender and/or transitioning students. The schedule of benefits is set according to UHCSR. Please contact UHCSR for those benefits (800-767-0700). Same-sex spouses can purchase the student health plan if the sponsor student has purchased the plan.

14. Do all students at your law school have access to counseling and/or therapy services either through the law school or the larger University?
Yes

Yes, all of our law students have access to counseling and therapy sessions through our University Counseling Center. We also bring to the law school campus mental health providers and counselors periodically throughout the academic year. Additionally, the College of Law is currently exploring hiring a part-time mental health professional to be housed at the law school.

15. Does your law school provide at least bi-annual mandatory diversity and inclusion training that incorporates robust LGBTQ+ curriculum, for all staff/faculty/administrators?
Yes

Diversity and inclusion training is not mandatory on a bi-annual basis, but is part of the mandatory New Employee Orientation required of all employees. Enhanced diversity & inclusion training courses are offered multiple times per year by the university Human Resources Office, including a Diversity & Inclusion Certificate and a 6-course series on Allies & Safe Zones. The law school regularly invites the Human Resources Office to provide training sessions for faculty & staff on the law school campus.

16. Does your law school provide a gender-inclusive restroom in any and/or all law school buildings?
Yes
a. How is that restroom identified (i.e., what does the signage say, is it identified on building maps, is there a gender-inclusive restroom policy that applies to all restrooms and where is that statement published, etc.)?

The law school provides a gender-inclusive restroom in two of the three main buildings, and has requested project funding to add a gender-inclusive restroom in the remaining building. One of the existing gender-neutral restrooms is identified as a family restroom (located near the Gender and Family Justice Clinic offices), and the other is identified as a universal restroom. The new restroom, when constructed, will be identified as a universal restroom. In addition, the four historic houses located on the law school Village Green, home to various student organizations and the alumni office, have only universal restrooms (no signage is affixed to these restrooms).

Where universal restrooms are not available, university policy allows for free choice of gender identification when using a restroom facility.

17. Does your law school have one or more annual LGBTQ+ course offerings (e.g., LGBT Law and Policy, Sexual Orientation and the Law, Gender and the Law (taught with trans-inclusive and focused materials), etc.)?
Yes
a. If so, please list course names
  • Sexuality, Gender, and Reproduction
  • Reproduction, Sexuality, and the Law
  • Gender and Family Justice Clinic
  • Gender Justice
  • Asylum and Refugee Law
18. Does your law school have an active, visible LGBTQ+ law student group that is supported by the institution?
Yes

OUTLaw is our LGBTQ+ law student organization. It is quite active and visible on campus, providing breakfasts for the law school community and hosting weekly game nights. In terms of programming events, this past fall, OUTLaw welcomed alum David Grimes back to campus to provide a Legislative Update on issues involving and of interest to the LGBTQ+ community, and it held an election watch party. The organizations also hosted an event “Reconciling Homosexuality and Christianity: Toward Harmony” with law Professor Robert Atkinson and Words of Wisdom with local attorney Mary Wakeman. The organization has monthly general meetings, participates in the law school’s annual Student Drive and Give Back Campaigns, and will be participating in a student organization presentation for our law school Board of Visitors later this month.

19. Does your law school have a hate/bias incident policy that students are required to follow?
Yes
a. If so, does that process specifically identify sexual orientation, gender identity, or both as protected categories?

Florida State University has established support systems and processes to aid community members in reporting and responding to acts of bias and discrimination. Please refer to the Discrimination Response System and University’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement located at https://thecenter.fsu.edu/resources/discrimination-response-system.

b. is there a clear hate bias/incident reporting process for students/faculty/staff to utilize if necessary?
Yes
20. Please describe all additional ways, not identified through your responses, that your law school works to be safe, inclusive, and welcoming to LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and administrators:

In February 2018, the law school hosted the annual meeting of the Florida Association of LGBT Lawyers and Allies (FALLA). Students were both encouraged to attend and invited to assist with meeting organization and administration. The caterer used for this meeting, who has been a regular vendor of the law school for many years, is out LGBTQ.