When the LSU Law Center’s OUTlaw student organization is active, the Admissions staff work with their membership to reach out to perspective students who have self-identified as members of the LGBTQ community. The recruiting staff have also attended and participated in recruitment events hosted by LGBTQ organizations.
The Admissions staff share information about all student organizations with all admitted students, which includes the OUTlaw organization. Note, however, that as a student-led organization, OUTlaw may be more or less active in different academic years depending on leadership changes.
Students may include this information in their personal statements or in the optional diversity statement.
The Law Center provides funding, including travel support, to law students in accordance with state and university regulations, and in keeping with its Diversity and Inclusion Statement. Law student organizations are chartered by the Student Bar Association, and currently include the OUTlaw organization. Per the Law Center website, the mission of OUTlaw is to create a climate at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in which it is safe and comfortable to be openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or an ally (“LGBT”). OUTlaw seeks to create an atmosphere of acceptance and comfort, instill justice, and combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The organization exists to provide support and a sense of community while simultaneously engaging in political activism and advocacy. The organization is able to access funding for programming, which may include guest speakers, organizational meetings, and travel. In the past and when requested, the OUTlaw organization has been provided funding to send members to the Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair.
The Law Center is committed to employing a diverse staff/faculty/administrators. The faculty committee charged with faculty recruiting is routinely comprised of a diverse group of faculty members, including diversity of both gender and sexual orientation. The committee advertises faculty positions widely, including circulation in the AALS faculty recruiting bulletins and postings on numerous blogs and listservs, and includes a statement of diversity in each. Similarly, staff and administrator positions are advertised widely through the LSU Human Resource Management Department, and also include statements of equal opportunity.
Employee benefits are managed by the LSU Human Resource Management office. Although unable to confirm with that department by the date of this survey, it is the Law Center’s understanding that the university treats legally married couples the same regarding health care and other benefits, regardless as to whether the marriage is between same or differently sexed individuals.
The Law Center has answered ‘no’, but employee benefits are managed by the LSU Human Resource Management office, and the Law Center was unable to confirm this information with that department by the date of this survey.
Law students have access to counseling and therapy services offered to all students of Louisiana State University. All students may access services provided by the Student Health Center, including mental health services and treatment. The Student Health Center employees licensed professionals and graduate students from the field of clinical psychology, clinical social work, professional counseling, and psychiatry. Also, the Law Center has recently entered into an agreement with the Student Health Center to employ a counselor dedicated to helping law students in particular. This counselor will be housed primarily in the law building for efficient access to students.
Additionally, the LSU Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability assists students facing stress, crisis or distress and provides a range of services designed to enhance student well-being, including individual meetings with students, academic support, and referrals to other campus and community resources where applicable.
The Law Center has also partnered with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) of Louisiana to provide private counseling to law students. Once in both the fall and spring semesters, a JLAP counselor hosts on-site office hours for law students whereby students may schedule appointments or be seen on a walk-in basis to address any mental health issues, and can further refer students for short-term or long-term assistance.
The Law Center does not provide mandatory diversity and inclusion training. The LSU LGBTQ+ Project offers Safe Space Training that is free and open to the public. In fall 2018, the Law Center arranged for a Safe Space Training seminar to be held at the law building, which was attended by members of both the faculty and staff. In October 2015, a Diversity Task Force proposed a Diversity and Inclusion Statement (see above) to the law faculty, which was approved and adopted, with a recommendation that this or a similar statement of diversity and inclusiveness be included in course syllabi.
The LSU Law Center provides gender-inclusive restrooms in some areas of the law building. These restrooms are identified with signage displaying generic male, female, and handicap images. LSU does not have a formal gender-inclusive restroom policy.
As described in question #6, the Law Center has a student group, OUTlaw, which has been chartered by the Student Bar Association and receives the same level of support provided to all student organizations. The group is student-led; the level of activity varies from one academic year to another, but the group is generally active.
Law students are subject to the Code of Student Professional Responsibility (Code) (https://www.law.lsu.edu/academics/files/2018/07/Code-of-Student-Professional-Responsibility-July-2019.pdf ), which students are expected to abide by and to report any known violations of the Code. The Code provides, in part, that “Repeated, persistent, or pervasive conduct (including verbal conduct) directed toward specific individual(s), that is (i) unwelcome and (ii) intended to interfere with, or that a reasonable person would regard as having the effect of interfering with, the ability of the specific individual(s) to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by the law school or university. Such conduct is that which is motivated by personal characteristics of the specific individual(s) to whom such conduct is directed, including but not limited to, race, gender, gender identity/expression, religious belief, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or age.”
LSU Law works to be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff in many ways. Many LSU Law staff and faculty participate in Safe Space trainings that educate on the particular needs and perspectives of LGBTQ+ students and mark their offices with Safe Space stickers for easy identification. The Law Library assembles a display featuring important moments in LGBTQ+ history during Gay History Month each year. In addition, the OUTlaw student organization sponsors events and speakers on topics of interest for LGBTQ+ students throughout the school year. Those events have ranged from national experts speaking on major law related topics impacting the LGBTQ+ community to local LGBTQ+ attorneys talking about the realities of being Out on the job market and at work.