NYU School of Law is dedicated to building a diverse and vibrant law school community. The Office of JD Admissions has a number of initiatives to recruit LGBTQ+ students and support them in the prospective, admitted, and incoming stages. Information sessions are held at schools, wherein LGBTQ+ organization and students are actively invited. Admissions also works closely with our LGBTQ+ student group (OUTLaw) on various initiatives, such as a letter sent to prospective students educating about the community, email and phone outreach from OUTLaw to prospective students, an annual reception by OUTLaw for admitted students, and OUTLaw’s participation in the Law School’s Admitted Students Days.
There is a space for students to write their preferred name on the admissions application, and this is used in all future communication with the student. There is an optional question which invites students to identify their sexual orientation, and in addition to providing nonbinary options on questions about gender, there is another question which reads: “We recognize that gender identity can be expressed in a variety of ways. Should you wish to elaborate beyond your response to the previous question(s), you are invited to complete the section below.” This is a relatively new question and we do not have accurate data yet as to how many LGBTQ+ students are enrolled.
NYU School of Law actively seeks to employ diverse staff, faculty, and administrators. Employment positions are posted to a wide variety of outlets, including those which target people of marginalized groups. We also attend job fairs and career events, contact professional associations and community-based organizations, and participate in mentoring programs. Many of the descriptions in job postings include a statement inviting racial and ethnic minorities, persons of marginalized sexual orientations or gender identities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply.
“CWS counselors are psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurse practitioners, and advanced trainees in those professions. There are male and female counselors, counselors from different racial and national backgrounds, and counselors who specialize in substance abuse, LGBTQ+ concerns, eating disorders, international students, and other concerns. We also have counselors who specialize in the issues of students from different schools: CAS, Gallatin, Law, Social Work, Steinhardt, Tisch, and students living in residence halls.”
Single-stall restrooms all have signs on their exterior clearly stating “Gender Neutral Bathroom.” There are lists of single-stall/gender-neutral restrooms on our website and on orientation/event materials. The security desks in each academic building also can point persons in the correct direction.
There is a sign under each bathroom sign reading: “All individuals are welcome to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity”
We offer numerous classes related to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as classes that address relating issues of orientation, gender, discrimination, and civil liberties. A non-exhaustive list of these courses includes: LGBTQ Rights Externship / Current Issues in Civil Liberties / Sexuality, Gender and the Law / Free Speech, Ethical Transformation, and Social Change: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation / Constitutional Law / International Human Rights Law.
Our LGBTQ+ student group, OUTLaw, is very active on campus and supported by the institution. They hold a variety of educational and social programming including but not limited to panels, social events, service projects, political actions, talks, and networking events which serve to provide a “lasting network of support” for LGBTQ+ students. The group’s description is here: https://www.law.nyu.edu/studentorganizations/outlaw. They have also have utilized prominence funding to send students to conferences regarding LGBTQ+ issues and the law.
NYU requires new employees to complete training on discrimination and harassment. NYU will be requiring annual training on these issues. Additional training is offered through NYU’s Office of Equal Opportunity for all supervisors. There are a number of other training programs offered in which administrators and staff are encouraged to participate but is not mandatory. Administrators and staff have gone through training around unconscious bias, various elements of diversity (including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability and mental health), and inclusion.
NYU School of Law has long held that a plurality of perspectives is a source of strength for individuals and institutions, and is proud of our long history of diversity and inclusion, while simultaneously holding that there is more work to be done and actively working to improve conditions for our students, faculty, and staff/administrators. The Law School’s Strategic Plan includes a commitment to investing resources and time to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning community. Faculty have participated in small-group discussions about how best to further this mission. The Law School’s Inclusion & Diversity Committee (IDC) has engaged in a multi-year project to address a broad range of diversity-related issues on campus. The Committee’s mission is to foster and support diversity in all respects, with special attentiveness to groups historically or currently under-represented in the law or in leadership in the legal profession, including on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, and mental or physical disability. Specifically, as regards the faculty, staff, administrators, and students of NYU Law, the IDC aims to ensure that diverse groups are represented and supported, and diverse viewpoints are heard and respected. The IDC has worked to pay structural attention to student climate issues, including peer-to-peer and classroom interactions; to give attention to academic opportunity and success, including teaching assistant and research assistant opportunities, extracurricular activities, honors and awards, and student advising; to support sustained attention to diversity in faculty hiring, student admissions and recruitment; to identify and rectify any recurring sources of conflict on issues of inclusion, and to strategically advise the Dean, vice deans, and heads of faculty committees on issues of diversity and inclusion. Last year, the Law School hired its first Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. This year, it also hired an Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion. These individuals serve as visible and vocal liaisons who work with the IDC Committee, the Office of Student Affairs, the Dean’s Office, student groups, and individuals to provide counsel and guidance on how best to propagate our school-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion. The record-keeping software that NYU uses was recently updated to allow students to list their pronouns on their profile. Students have the option to list a preferred name on that software (even if they have not pursued a legal name change), which is the name given to professors on rosters. If a student does pursue a legal name change, their deadname can be erased entirely from the NYU system. Three centers at the Law School are also important in our overall work to uplift LGBTQ+ and other marginalized voices: The Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law, and the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network. These centers host frequent programming along with their educational and research work. The Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network recently launched a fellowship program which includes a stipend, to which LGBTQ+ individuals are actively invited to apply, and whose application includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. NYU Law places enormous value on being a community committed to diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging. We believe that our learning community is made stronger by efforts to reflect the diversity of the broader global community, and ensure that all members of the community are able to access our resources and the richness of our intellectual life. We are proud of our achievements, but we are not complacent, and are constantly looking to the future for ways to improve upon our successes across the entire institution.