The current student president of our OUTLaws & Allies organization emailed all law school candidates in the LSAC Candidate Referral Service who identified as LGBTQ+ an introductory email informing them of the organization at St. John’s Law, and welcoming them to contact him 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. One of our current LGBTQ+ students enrolled through the prep program before joining us. At the yield stage, an LGBTQ+ senior administrator called each admitted student who identified as LGBTQ+ to speak with them about St. John’s Law, and answer any questions they might have about being part of the LGBTQ+ community at the Law School.
All admitted students who self-identified as LGBTQ+ in their applications or in their LSAC profile are emailed by a student representative from OUTLaws & Allies inviting them to meet in person at an upcoming admitted student day or contact them via phone. These admitted students are also called by a LGBTQ+ faculty or staff member to welcome them to St. John’s Law and meet if possible. Our current and prospective LGBTQ+ students are also invited to St. John’s Law’s annual Diversity and Inclusion Gala held in late spring. With their admission materials they receive a Save-the-Date for the gala, a hard copy invitation, an email invitation and usually a follow up phone call. We have hosted several LGBTQ+ admitted students at this Gala annually. Finally, at the start of the semester, we host a welcome BBQ for LGBTQ+ students and their partners and families at the home of one of our senior administrators.
Applicants are 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 a process for students to change their gender identity post-enrollment.
Applicants are required to provide their legal name and also have the option to include a different preferred name on their application. The preferred name is used to address the student in communications from the school during the admissions cycle. Once a student matriculates, the Preferred Name Policy for St. John’s University is in effect, and it permits students to use a preferred name on class rosters, housing lists, email addresses, Blackboard, MySJU, and on their University ID cards. While the University is still legally required to use legal names for official records such as immigration and visa services, in every instance where it is reasonably possible, a student’s preferred name is used.
St. John’s Law awards the full-tuition Ronald H. Brown Scholarship to highly accomplished students who have overcome economic, social, or educational disadvantage, to support them during their years in law school and to nurture their interest in equality, civil rights, and social justice. Ronald H. Brown Scholars are engaged with the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights in the advancement of justice and equality.
St. John’s Law provides funding, including travel support, for LGBTQ+ students to attend and participate in the annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair presented by the National LGBT Bar Association. Students from OUTLaws and Allies represent St. John’s Law in regularly attending the Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair. St. John’s Law is also a member of the Law Student Group Affiliate Program of the National LGBT Bar Association.
St. John’s Law School actively seeks to employ a diverse pool of staff/faculty/administrators, including visible, out LGBTQ+ individuals. With respect to faculty hiring, St. John’s Law submits faculty recruitment advertisements to the AALS Placement Bulletin. Job openings are also posted on the St. John’s University website and on websites that have diversity components. The ads themselves highlight the Law School’s commitment to diversity:
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 in its faculty, students, and staff, and we encourage applications from candidates who will increase the diversity of the St. John’s Law community.
St. John’s Law School is part of St. John’s University, a Catholic, Vincentian, metropolitan, and global institution with campuses in New York, Rome, and Paris that is committed to academic excellence and service to those lacking economic, physical, or social advantages. 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.
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.”
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. The St. John’s University Employee Benefits Program is reproduced for review.
St. John’s Law offers health insurance to students. Currently, the student health insurance plan is only available to enrolled students. In vitro fertilization is not a covered service. The 2018 – 2019 Student Health Insurance Plan for St. John’s University is reproduced for review.
Currently, St. John’s University does not offer transition-related benefits to transgender or transitioning employees.
There is some coverage in place for transition services in regards to students, however some procedures may not be covered. The 2018 – 2019 Student Health Insurance Plan for St. John’s University is reproduced for review.
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.
St. John’s Law has LGBTQ+ course offerings. St. John’s Law offers a course on Issues of Race & Gender in Law, which includes consideration of LGBTQ+ issues. Courses that cover or discuss LGBTQ+ issues include, but are not limited to, the following:
Comparative Equality Seminar
Constitutional Law II
International Human Rights Law
Legislative and Statutory Interpretation
The First Amendment: the Religion Clauses
Trust and Estates
St. John’s law has a hate/bias incident policy that students are required to follow. The St. John’s University Policy against Bias, Discrimination, and Harassment specifically identifies both sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.
St. John’s Law continuously works to be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming home for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, administrators, and guests. St. John’s Law is committed to providing relevant LGBTQ+ resources through trainings, initiatives, and events directed towards awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and concerns. The administration appointed the Director of Diversity & 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 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.