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Future JD Students

LGBT Survey Results: Roger Williams University School of Law

Nondiscrimination Policy

Roger Williams University and Roger Williams University School of Law do not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis in admission to, access to, employment in, and treatment in its programs and activities.

LGBT Student Organization(s)

The Alliance, our LGBT student organization, is active and has a history of hosting national speakers and organizing symposia. The Alliance’s events are well attended by both our LGBT student population and allies. Roger Williams has a Director of Diversity and Outreach who supports both the Alliance and our LGBT students. The Alliance also has a faculty/administrator advisor who provides additional support to the organization. There is a formal mentoring program that matches Alliance members with attorneys from both the Rhode Island Bar LGBT Issues Committee and Lawyers for Equality and Diversity (LEAD).

For more information, contact:

Deborah Johnson
Director of Diversity & Outreach
Phone: 401.254.4522
Email: djohnson@rwu.edu

LGBT Faculty

None; however, a number of our faculty have written on LGBT-related topics ranging from sodomy laws to gay marriage.

LGBT Administrator(s)

Michael Donnelly-Boylen
Assistant Dean of Admissions
Phone: 401.254.4555
Email: mdonnelly-boylen@rwu.edu

Thomas Shaffer
Director of Admissions
Phone: 401.254.4555
Email: tshaffer@rwu.edu

LGBT Course(s)

At Roger Williams, LGBT issues can be found in a wide variety of classes. One LGBT-specific course is offered:

Sexuality and the Law

This course provides an introduction to the law that affects the lives of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Topics such as the criminalization of gay sex, employment and discrimination, same-sex marriage, and gay parenting are covered.

Domestic-Partner or Same-Sex Marriage Benefits

Same-sex spouse/domestic partnership benefits for employees of the School of Law include

  • medical and dental insurance for the same-sex spouse/domestic partner, and children of same-sex spouse/domestic partner if they meet the medical and dental carrier’s dependent requirements;
  • the Family and Medical Leave Act;
  • use of sick time to care for same-sex spouse, domestic partner, same-sex spouse/domestic partner’s dependent(s);
  • voluntary spousal life, accidental death and dismemberment, and long-term care insurance for the same-sex/domestic partner, subject to any specific insurance carrier requirements;
  • participation in Tuition Exchange, Council for Independent Colleges, and/or Tuition Remission for same-sex spouse/domestic partner, and the same-sex spouse/domestic partner’s dependent children if they meet the definition of “dependent” under Section 152 of the IRS Code;
  • Fitness Center family membership; and
  • bereavement time for the death of the same-sex spouse, domestic partner, and the same-sex spouse/domestic partner’s dependent(s).

Additional Information

RWU Law offers an inclusive and supportive environment for all members of our community. We have a strong LGBT student community. Our LGBT students are leaders throughout the School of Law; LGBT students have held top positions within key student organizations like the Student Bar Association and Law Review.

Our students are connected to the Rhode Island LGBT legal community through both the Rhode Island Bar LGBT Issues Committee and Lawyers for Equality and Diversity (LEAD). Students are invited to both groups’ meetings and social events. These attorneys also frequently serve as informal mentors to many students and recent graduates. Through our pro bono experiential learning requirement, our students can play a role in LGBT issues through organizations like the Boston-based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). Our Street Law Project has partnered with Youth Pride, Inc., to teach disadvantaged youth about their legal rights and responsibilities.

LGBT issues come into consideration in many ways, both big and small, from including partners in our orientation programming to offering a unisex bathroom for transgender students.

Rhode Island is a very LGBT-friendly community. Providence, our capital city, is about a half hour away and offers a diverse gay scene with a range of LGBT and LGBT-friendly bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and clubs. Providence was the first capital city, and the largest US city at the time, to elect an openly gay mayor, David Cicilline, who now serves in Congress. We are located roughly 15 minutes from the Massachusetts border, an hour from Boston, and three hours from New York City.

If LGBT applicants wish to self-identify, they can do so directly on the RWU Law application through both our LGBT-specific question and by including a diversity statement. In our judgment, a diverse group of students enhances the educational experience by ensuring an intellectually enlightening and challenging exchange of ideas both inside and outside of the classroom.

Back to LGBT Survey Link

May 21, 2014, 13:28 PM

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