Diversity in Law School
LGBT Survey Results: Arizona State University—Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Arizona State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, age, or veteran status in the University's services, educational programs, and activities, including, but not limited to, admission to and employment by the University.
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Course Titles and/or Descriptions
- Sexual Orientation and the Law—This 3-credit survey class will explore a number of issues relevant to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community. The course encompasses a significant amount of constitutional law, especially substantive due process, equal protection, and the First Amendment. We will explore issues involving the military, employment, education, and families. Students will be required to lead discussions and participate in class. In addition, there will be a short, graded writing assignment during the first week, a 10-page paper due the final day of class, and a one and a half-hour final exam at the end of the semester.
- Special Topics in Employment Discrimination—This course addresses emerging issues in employment discrimination, paying special attention to the changing nature of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Topics may include sexual harassment, sexual orientation discrimination, transgender discrimination, grooming and dress codes, intersectionality theory, and nepotism rules. Attendance and class participation are mandatory, and each student will be required to write a research paper.
- Immigration Law—The course introduces students to the basic framework of US immigration laws and policy. After briefly presenting the historical and constitutional development of modern immigration laws, the course proceeds to explore family-based immigration, bars to immigration, business immigration, and removal procedures. The course also includes a rudimentary discussion of asylum and other humanitarian programs, as well as discussions of governmental role in the immigration. The course emphasizes statutory analysis, practical application, and constitutional issues.
- Civil Rights Legislation—This course will examine the Reconstruction-era Civil Rights Acts, particularly sections 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1988 of Title 42 of the US Code, with an emphasis on sections 1981 and 1983. Section 1981 imposes liability for racial discrimination in contractual relations, and section 1983 imposes liability for deprivation of federal rights under the auspices of state authority. The latter will consume most of the semester. Although we will necessarily discuss federal constitutional and statutory rights that litigants seek to vindicate under section 1983, our study will focus on the statutory prerequisites to liability, such as the requirement that the deprivation be taken "under the color of" state law, various immunities from liability, standards for imposing liability on supervisors or governmental entities, and remedies. The class will also briefly address other civil rights issues, such as employment discrimination under Title VII and civil rights issues that may emerge during the semester.
- US Asylum Law—This course explores US Asylum Law and the overall phenomenon of forced migration. The primary focus is INA 208, which controls the eligibility for refugee status in the United States. Students learn statutory analysis, administrative procedures, and the asylum process. Topics of discussion include grounds of eligibility, statutory definitions, gender persecution, fact-finding/evidentiary challenges, bars to asylum, and application procedures.
- Family Law—The law of marriage and divorce is the primary focus of this course. This includes the law governing entry into marriage, the legal consequences of being married, and the dissolution of the marital status. Topics include: the division of property, spousal maintenance and child support, child custody arrangements, antenuptial and separation agreements, and jurisdictional issues. To the extent time permits, nontraditional families are also considered, including marriage between same-sex partners, the rights and obligations of unmarried cohabitants, and the establishment of paternity rights and obligations. Relevant Arizona statutes are referred to throughout the course where appropriate as examples, but the course is not limited to Arizona law.
Domestic Partnership Benefits
No details provided.
The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is a welcoming environment for LGBT students. The law school has one of the most ethnically diverse law student bodies in the country, and respect for difference crosses over to sexuality as well. Out students are active within the law school, participating on the law journal and in numerous student organizations and holding leadership positions in student government.
OUTLaw, the College of Law's LGBT student organization, offers social, educational, and political activities for any law student willing to discuss issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The group meets with LGBT and LGBT-supportive members of the local bar; other social activities include movie nights, happy hours, and events planned with other student organizations. OUTLaw hosts speakers and panels on issues relevant to the LGBT community, including family planning, career planning, and other topics, and OUTLaw members participate each year in the annual Williams Institute Moot Court Competition, a national competition dedicated to LGBT issues. OUTLaw also acts as a liaison with local political organizations, and OUTLaw members volunteer with LGBT youth organizations and for various political causes.
In addition to an upper-level Sexual Orientation and the Law course, LGBT topics are addressed in other courses, including a seminar on Special Topics in Employment Law, which includes topics such as sexual orientation discrimination, transgender discrimination, grooming and dress codes, and intersectionality theory, and in courses like Family Law, Civil Rights Legislation, Immigration Law, and US Asylum Law.
The Arizona State Bar is also a welcoming environment. Many judges and lawyers are openly gay/lesbian, and the annual moot court competition on LGBT issues that is sponsored by the Bar's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee has received the President's Award for the past four years and is one of the best attended sessions at the State Bar Convention. In terms of politics, Arizona is somewhat of an enigma; the state has slightly more Republicans than Democrats, and together they total approximately 80 percent of registered voters. The remaining 20 percent are not party affiliated or belong to a different party; many state-wide elections are therefore very close. Arizonans are currently active in California's challenge to Proposition 8 and enjoy being part of the Pacific-West region. Arizona voters were the first in the nation to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and although that amendment passed later, it required substantial resources by its proponents to succeed.
Law school applicants should disclose as much about their sexual orientation/gender identity/gender expression as they are comfortable disclosing. Typically, an applicant's résumé will include information about organizational involvement and interest, and the Admissions Committee values diversity and seeks to enroll law school classes with a wide variety of interests and perspectives. In addition, the personal statement offers applicants the opportunity to share their experiences and describe the unique perspective they can bring to the study and practice of law, and applicants are encouraged to be as open and honest as possible.
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