The University of Alabama (Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law)

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

The Law School seeks to admit a diverse student body.  For example, the Law School participates in LSAC’s PLUS program, which brings students from diverse backgrounds (including students who identify as LGBTQ+) to campus.

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?
Yes

Information about specific resources, including student groups, is provided to individual applicants and admitted students by request. The Law School’s welcome packet for every admitted student includes a letter from the Law School’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion encouraging them to use her as a resource.

3. Does your school offer students the option to self-identify as LGBTQ+ in admissions applications or post-enrollment forms?
No

The Law School application does not ask for this information, but students may identify as LGBTQ+ through their personal statements.

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

Law students are eligible for the Elliott Jackson Jones Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually to an LGBTQ+ undergraduate or graduate student at The University of Alabama who is “working to improve the lives and welfare of LGBTQ+ persons on campus, in Alabama, or more broadly.” More information can be found here: http://capstonealliance.ua.edu/initiatives/scholarship/

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.

Students may receive up to $300 per year in reimbursement for travel to job fairs, including diversity-oriented fairs, where they have an interview.  Students who attend the Lavender Law Conference are eligible to receive these funds if they have an interview.

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

The Law School encourages and solicits applications from candidates of any background, orientation, or identity, although it does not expressly request information about sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

8. Please identify, to your knowledge, how many out LGBTQ+ faculty your law school employs (if any)
The Law School does not collect information regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of our employees.
9. Please identify, to your knowledge, how many out LGBTQ+ staff/administrators?
The Law School does not collect information regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of our employees.
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 University provides the same benefits to married same-sex couples and married different-sex couples.  The University does not provide benefits to couples who are not married, regardless of whether they are in same-sex or different-sex domestic partnerships.  A summary of the University health insurance policy for employees can be found here: https://hr-estus.fa.ua.edu/HRFormsOnlinePub/HR%20Forms%20%20Online/2018%20medical%20SPD.pdf

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 University provides the same benefits to married same-sex couples and married different-sex couples.  The University does not provide benefits to couples who are not married, regardless of whether they are in same-sex or different-sex domestic partnerships.  A summary of the University health insurance policy for students can be found here: https://www.uhcsr.com/uhcsrbrochures/Public/BenefitSummaryFlyers/2018-328-1%20Summary%20Brochure.pdf

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
13. Does your school offer the same transition-related healthcare benefits to students and their partners/spouses?
No
a. If so, please summarize or reproduce your policy here (or you may email a copy of your policy to rishell@lgbtbar.org):
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

The Law School has a licensed professional counselor who provides confidential counseling services for all law school students, both by appointment and through regular office hours held within the Law School throughout the school year.  Counseling is also provided through The University of Alabama’s Counseling Center and The Women and Gender Resource Center, both of which are within walking distance of 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?
No

The University provides voluntary Safe Zone training throughout the year.   Since the 2016-17 academic year, at least one training session has been held at the Law School annually for the convenience of Law School students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the Law School’s Student Bar Association requires that at least one officer of each law student organization be Safe-Zone trained.  The Law School also participates in the University’s mandatory training programs, which include programs on diversity and inclusion.

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 has 6 gender-inclusive restrooms that are labeled with both male and female symbols. On building maps, where the restroom is gender-assigned, corresponding gender symbols are noted on the map; restrooms that are gender-inclusive are not marked with a symbol.

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

In addition to offering courses on Gender & the Law and Law & Sexuality, the Law School offers the following courses that cover LGBTQ+ issues:

Adoption Law
Constitutional Law
Employment Discrimination Law
Equal Educational Opportunity
Lawyers and Social Change
Reproductive Rights Seminar

18. Does your law school have an active, visible LGBTQ+ law student group that is supported by the institution?
Yes

OUTlaw regularly co-sponsors events with the Law School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and is supported by Student Bar Association funds.

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?

The University of Alabama Harassment Policy specifically refers to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression: https://fa-webprod.fa.ua.edu/UAFASPOnlinePublic/0a64f971-1b8c-493b-a241-9e0a980e6f9d/Harassment%20Policy.pdf

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:

The Law School provides a number of services to LGBTQIA+ students through the University.  The University’s SafeZone Resource Center provides educational outreach, community support, and crisis intervention resources for LGBTQIA+ members of the University community and their allies.  Capstone Alliance provides additional resources and programs specifically for LGBTQIA+ faculty, staff and graduate students. These programs include Lavender Graduation, which has regularly included students, faculty and staff from the Law School.  GRADient is an organization specifically serving LGBTQIA+ graduate students and allies.

In addition to access to the University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Law School has its own Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with a full-time Director of Diversity & Inclusion whose duties include addressing the needs of LGBTQIA+ students.  In addition to organizing the programs listed below (among others), this Office maintains a Diverse Experts Directory that allows alumni and friends of the Law School to provide information about their areas of expertise.  This Directory allows members to volunteer information about whether they self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Student organizations, faculty, and staff are encouraged to use this directory when planning events to ensure panels, speakers, and writers for events are diverse.

The Law School hosts a number of events that focus on issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community.  A sampling of these events includes the following:

  • In 2015, the Law School held a symposium on “LGBT Antidiscrimination Law and Policy after Hobby Lobby.”
  • In 2016, the Law School hosted an LGBT Issues Forum, at which the (then) U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Joyce Vance, gave a lecture about the U.S. Department of Justice’s role in protecting LGBTQ+ civil rights.
  • In 2017, the Law School’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion sponsored a Transgender Passport Workshop to assist individuals in completing passport applications. The Law School’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion invited UA SafeZone to co-sponsor.
  • In 2018, the Law School brought in Professor William N. Eskridge Jr. from Yale Law School and Robin Fretwell Wilson from the University of Illinois to serve as dialogue catalysts at the Tolerance Means Dialogue event. The topic was “Religion and Gay Marriage: Do They Have to Be at Odds?  Can Students Make a Difference?” This event was part of the national Tolerance Means Dialogue series, and the Law School invited the University and greater community to participate.