April 6, 1984 · Cavalier Daily

Law School Must State Its Gay Policy

This letter to the editor critiques a previous editorial which claimed that the Law School need not include homosexuality in its nondiscrimination policy. The letter argues that homosexuality should be included and concludes by announcing that the Law School has consented to include it moving forward.


1984-04-06 Law School Must State Its Gay Policy.pdf
Richard Avidon
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Law School Must State its Gay Policy
I was quite shocked to read your editorial of April 3 (“The wrong remedy”) in which you state your opposition to the Law School including sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy statement. I recognize y our right to your opinion. However, I feel it is important to point out to you as well as the University community that many of the observations you make and the arguments you muster are incorrect. I trust they were made out of ignorance and not malice.
First. You note: “Gay and Lesbian Law Student Association members fear the University’s image deters homosexuals from attending Virginia.” The statement is a half-truth. Of course we fear that the image deters. But we are not so naïve as to think we can change that image overnight. More specifically, it is the absence of sexual orientation from the nondiscrimination statement, along with its inclusion in nearly all the top law schools’ applications, that truly discourages some gay and lesbian students from applying. The fact that 450 of our fellow law students signed a petition requesting that sexual orientation be included proves that not only GALLSA members are concerned.
Second. You write: “Homosexuals are not now discriminated against.” I take it that you mean here at the University. While I agree that there has been no official bar to admission to the Law School, ti is unrealistic to think that never has any person’s sexual orientation been taken into account in the admissions process. An official policy statement will discourage, if not prevent, this from happening in the future.
Third. You note: “But even GALLSA members admit that gays have never been discriminated against in admissions.” This is false. We have said again and again that we are not now alleging that the Law School does discriminate (since that would require proof beyond our reach) and that officials have assured us that it does not. One need not be a law student to see the difference between our statements and your interpretation.
Fourth. You conclude: “If no discrimination exists, there is no reason to include a statement of nondiscrimination on admissions applications.” Setting aside the issue of whether there is discrimination, this conclusion is still incorrect. What good is a nondiscrimination policy if applicants to whom it would be most important do not know about it? It makes no sense to keep such a policy a secret Would you eliminate the present nondiscrimination statement because, under federal law, the Law School may not discriminate against blacks or women anyway? I wouldn’t. To avoid deterring potential applicants, it is clear that the law school must state its policy up front.
Finally, I am pleased to report that Dean Merrill and the faculty have come down on the side of civil rights. Next year, the Law School will include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy statement.
Richard Avidon
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Date Added August 7, 2016
Date Modifed April 30, 2018
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about LGBTQ issues

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