University at Buffalo 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?

A marketing email to prospective applicants who have self-identified as LGBTQ+ in their LSAC.org accounts is part of the larger marketing plan.

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

Each year, the Office of Admissions invites the president of OUTLaw, our LGBTQ+ student group, to write a welcome email to admitted students. The presidents of our Black Law Student Association and Latin American Association are also invited to write a welcome email to admitted students. The Office of Admissions also reserves two tables at the Annual Student of Color Dinner for staff and accepted students of color. In most cases, the Office of Admissions assists accepted students of color with travel and accommodations for the Student of Color Dinner. In addition, this year, all student clubs and journals will be included in our new Welcome Manual (along with the welcome letter from our Student Bar Association) to be mailed to all incoming students starting in June. This will include OUTLaw, BLSA and LALSA as well as the other 30+ groups. Further, contact information for groups including email addresses, Facebook groups, and websites can be found on our current student website.

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

Yes. Applicants are able to self-identify on the application for admission and post enrollment forms. We also ask for preferred pronouns and preferred names. For more information, see the answer below to Question #4.

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

Yes. Students can select their own preferred names on the student “HUB”, which allows for forms, class rosters, UB Learns (Blackboard system), and even campus identification cards to carry a student’s preferred name. UB Law is governed by University at Buffalo’s (the University) Student Preferred Name Policy, which may be found at: http://www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/policyl/ub-policy-lib/student-preferred name.html. This policy provides as follows: The University at Buffalo (UB, university) recognizes that students may use a first or middle name other than their legal name to identify themselves. The university will use a student’s preferred name, when possible, in the course of university education and business unless the student’s birth name or legal name is required by law or the preferred name is used for purposes of misidentification, fraud, or misrepresentation. For identity verification purposes, students must use their legal last name.

The university is required to use the legal first name for many official records and reports, including, but not limited to:

• University and State University of New York (SUNY) reporting for compliance purposes

• Bills

• Financial aid documents

• Parking tickets

• 1098-T Tax Forms

• Diplomas Transcripts

• Immigration documents

• Medical records

Students who change their legal name may update their legal name of record through the Office of the Registrar. A legal name change will not impact students’ ability to select a preferred name.

The University reserves the right to review all preferred name changes. The Student Code of Conduct prohibits individuals from using lewd, indecent, or discriminatory names. Students who change their name in violation of university policies or the Student Code of Conduct will be notified via their UB email address and the name(s) will be removed. Students who repeat this violation will be referred to Student Conduct and Advocacy. Students who experience problems related to faculty or staff misuse of their preferred name, or who experience discrimination should contact Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

The University also provides “Preferred Name Guidance” and “Faculty and Staff Guidance on Preferred Names” at: support/Rightsandprotections transgendercommunity/PreferredName/PreferredNameFAQs.html.

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

The Law School does have annual scholarships for students from underrepresented communities, including LGBTQ+ students. However, scholarships cannot be parsed by protected status as the Law School is a part of a state university and is governed by the following policy: “any disbursements made to individuals must be made in accordance with federal and state law and the policies of the State University of New York, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, religion, color, disability, national origin, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender identity, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or ex-offender status.”

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.

Funding requests for travel related to the aforementioned types of events would be made to the Student Bar Association (SBA), which is the governing organization for all student groups in the Law School. In turn, the SBA is part of and governed by a separate not-for profit organization: Sub-Board I, Inc. (SBI). Unlike most colleges and universities, student groups are funded by this separate entity. In an unusual set of circumstances, SBI was created by U.B. students in 1970. Student fees are actually directed to SBI and through it to student organizations in both the University and the Law School. More information on this unique system can be found at: https://subboard.com:8081/aboutus.html. Our student organization, OUTlaw, however, is funded by SBA for programming throughout the academic year. OUTlaw holds an annual dinner and award ceremony in addition to new programming throughout the year. For example, last year, OUTlaw was a co-sponsor for a program about the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. For additional information and on-campus programming, please refer to our answers to Question 18 and 20.

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

As a public law school within the State University of New York system (SUNY), our recruitment and hiring is governed by state law and University policy. Here is the policy that governs our recruitment: http://www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/policyl/ub policy-lib/recruitment.html.

8. Please identify, to your knowledge, how many out LGBTQ+ faculty your law school employs (if any)
There are two out LGBTQ+ faculty members at our law school, one is a person 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?
There are two out LGBTQ+ administrators at our law school.
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

Yes, although health insurance and other benefits flow from the University proper and the various unions at the University. Even broader than same-sex marriage, “domestic partners” of any gender are recognized by the University and are entitled to benefits under their partner’s plans. See the following references: http://www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/for-faculty-staff/benefits/state/uup.html; and http://www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/forms-catalog/hr/nyship-application enrolling-domestic-partners-ps4251.html. Also, attached as Exhibit A, is the New York application regarding this issue.

a. New York does require that certain infertility treatments be covered by insurers N.Y. Insurance Law S 3221(k). However, in vitro fertilization is not required to be covered at this juncture. Id. Under New York Law, with respect to infertility treatments, insurance companies cannot discriminate “between heterosexual individuals in a relationship or who are married, individuals in a same-sex relationship or who are married, single individuals, or based on gender identity.” Exhibit B, Governor Cuomo, N.Y.S Dep’t of Financial Services, Insurance Circular Letter No. 7 (April 19, 2017.) In other words, “every issuer must provide coverage for infertility treatment to any individual who meets ASRM’s definition of infertility when all of the other terms and conditions of the policy or contract are satisfied, regardless of the individual’s sexual orientation, marital status or gender identity.” Id.

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

According to a SBI representative (see answer to Question #6 for an overview of this organization for students, health insurance benefits are extended to spouses only in the case of students. Here is the language from their administrative guidance: “A spouse is eligible whenever the couple is legally married in a state or country that recognizes the type of marriage. The definition of spouse includes opposite sex and same-sex spouses. A summary of the relevant benefits is attached here as Exhibit C.

12. Does your law school offer transition-related health benefits to transgender and/or transitioning employees?
Yes
a. If so, please summarize or reproduce your policy here

Yes, insurers in New York are required to cover medically necessary services associated with gender dysphoria. Exhibit D, Governor Cuomo, N.Y.S Dept of Financial Services, Insurance Circular Letter No. 7 (December 11, 2014.) Services may include office visits, laboratory, mental health services, drug therapy and gender reassignment surgery. Prior authorization may be needed for certain services.

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):

Yes, insurers in New York are required to cover medically necessary services associated with gender dysphoria. Exhibit D, Governor Cuomo, N.Y.S Dept of Financial Services, Insurance Circular Letter No. 7 (December 11, 2014.) Services may include office visits, laboratory, mental health services, drug therapy and gender reassignment surgery. Prior authorization may be needed for certain services.

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

All law students have access to counseling and therapy services through our University counseling center. The University has a great variety of mental health and overall wellness offerings that are open to all students, including group counseling, support groups, and more general wellness activities. In addition, the Law School hosts a weekly support group open to all students, which run by the local bar association’s Committee to Assist Lawyers with Depression and Lawyer’s Helping Lawyers Committee.

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

Not currently. The University is the body that mandates training. Although most law school staff and administrators have taken the following training: “Intersections: Preventing Harassment & Sexual Violence (Title IX/Campus SaVE Act)”. New York State is mandating this training for all employees in 2019. This training does not have a separate LGBTQ+ curriculum at this juncture.

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.)?

All UB Law and University students are entitled to use restroom facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. As many people feel more comfortable using single user bathrooms, the law school has seven single-user, gender-inclusive restrooms throughout its building. These bathrooms are marked with all-gender signage accompanied by the statement that: “This Restroom May Be Used by Any Person Regardless of Gender Identity or Expression.” These single-user spaces are advertised on flat screen monitors in the law school, which are used to convey messages and reminders to our students. Further, the University also posts its inclusive bathroom policy as well as single-user spaces, including in the law school building, on its website. This website currently being updated to include an interactive map, which will allow students to find the single-user bathroom closest to them: http://www.buffalo.edu/equity/obtaining-assistance/lgbtq-information and-support/Rightsandprotections-transgendercommunity/SingleUserRestrooms.html.

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

Yes, we do have courses taught with trans-inclusive and focused materials. For example, Law 822: Gender. Sexuality, & Law is taught on (at least) an annual basis.

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

Yes, we have a student organization, OUTlaw, that is an active, visible student group supported by our Law School, its faculty, and its administration. OutLaw supports LGBTQ+ students. Here is a brief overview of its history and activities: Outlaw was first formed in 1999, and it is still active today. From 2004-2006, the group changed its name to the Progressive Law Society, but eventually returned to its OUTlaw name. Here is a link to OUTLaw’s website: http://www.law.buffalo.edu/current/outlaw.html.

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?

Yes, and the policy includes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories. The University’s Student Code of Conduct applies to all students at the University and prohibits discrimination by students “of a person or group based on race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status and ex-offender status.” The Code of Conduct may be found here: https://www.buffalo.edu/content/dam/www/studentlife/units/uls/student conduct/ub-student-code-of-conduct.pdf. Violations of this policy can be made (on a named or anonymous basis) to the Law School’s Vice Dean of Student Affairs or the Law School’s Director of Diversity. Equity, and Inclusion. Further, direct or anonymous complaints may be made directly to the University’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion or the University Police Department.

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:

Our Law School and University are governed by New York State’s Executive Law, Article 15, also known as New York Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination based on various protected classifications, including sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression. See the State University of New York (SUNY) system’s compliance policies: https://system.suny.edu/compliance/topics/equity/nys-human-rights law/. There is also a regulation that explicitly address discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, and gender dysphoria. 9 NYCRR $ 466.13, attached as Exhibit E.

The SUNY system also has a very specific Diversity. Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Policy, located at: https://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc id=804. The DEI Policy is also attached as Exhibit F.

Further, the University of Buffalo has also promulgated its own policy against Discrimination and Harassment, which includes sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression. This policy is located at https://www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/policyl/ub-policy-lib/discrimination harassment.html. The University policy provides that:

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to ensuring equal employment, educational opportunity, and equal access to services, programs, and activities without regard to an individual’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or ex-offender status. This includes, but is not limited to, recruitment, the application process, examination and testing, hiring, training, grading, disciplinary actions, rates of pay or other compensation, advancement, classification, transfer and reassignment, discharge, and all other terms and conditions of employment, educational status, and access to university programs and activities. Employees, students, applicants or other members of the university community (including but not limited to vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subjected to harassment that is prohibited by law or treated adversely based upon a protected characteristic.

The university will provide accommodations to ensure the full participation of individuals in university programs, when such accommodations are reasonable and necessary due to an individual’s disability, religion, pregnancy, maternity, or breastfeeding status. The university will provide accommodations to individuals with disabilities in accordance with its Reasonable Accommodation Policy. Religious accommodations will be provided in accordance with the university’s Religious Accommodation and Expression Policy.

This policy prohibits retaliation against anyone who files a complaint, participates in an investigation, or opposes a discriminatory act, practice, or policy. Retaliation will not be tolerated and may result in a referral to the university’s disciplinary process.

In addition to policy, the University and the Law School have taken particular steps on a practical level to support LGBTQ+ students and employees. The following resources are available:

• Working Group for Transgender Inclusion:

http://www.buffalo.edu/equity/obtaining assistance/lgbtq-information-and support/workinggroupfortransgenderinclusion.html

Information on LQBTQ+ Support at the University: http://www.buffalo.edu/equity/obtaining-assistance/lgbtq-information-and support.html The LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association: http://www.buffalo.edu/lgbtqfsa.html Information about Rights and Protections for the LGBTQ+ community: http://www.buffalo.edu/equity/obtaining-assistance/lgbtq-information-and support/Rightsandprotections-transgendercommunity.html

Gender-Inclusive Housing for both undergraduate and graduate students: https://www.buffalo.edu/campusliving/find-your-home/special-living accommodations/gender-inclusive.html LGBTQ+

Collections: http://digital.lib.buffalo.edu/collection/LIB-UA017/

SafeZone and Diversity Trainings through the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Center: https://www.buffalo.edu/studentlife/who-we are/departments/diversity/events-calendar.html

The Lavender (LGBTQ+) Commencement: http://www.buffalo.edu/commencement/ceremonies/university-wide-recognition ceremonies/lavender-reception.html

University at Buffalo Accompanying Documents