The U.S. military will be visiting NYU School of Law this fall to interview those seeking employment in the armed forces.
The military’s presence in such a capacity, however, will violate NYU’s nondiscrimination policy, according to a letter addressed to NYU’s Law School Dean Trevor Morrison and its administration.
The letter cited President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals to serve in the military in any capacity, which he announced via Twitter. In response, the open letter called on NYU Law to work with NYU OUTLaw, an NYU Law LGBTQ Group, and “to identify and provide resources for professional development and empowerment of transgender students at NYU Law.”
“Not only does this deny transgender and gender-nonconforming students equal access to employers utilizing NYU resources to recruit, it sends a message that such bias and bigotry will be tolerated on our campus,” the letter said.
The open letter exists as a Google Form where students can express solidarity with the transgender community and sign their names. The letter expressed disappointment but also understanding of the military’s presence to recruit.
“We understand that, due to the Solomon Amendment, New York University must allow military recruiters on campus or potentially lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” the letter said. “This funding is critical to NYU’s continued existence, and we understand that this puts the administration in an extremely difficult position.”
OUTLaw is a student group within NYU Law that focuses on supporting LGBT-positive policies and legislation. OUTLaw did not return WSN’s requests for comment.
Before the open letter was published, Morrison sent an email to the law school community addressing the issues raised by the open letter. In his email, Dean Morrison reassures students of NYU’s commitment to its transgender community.
“We oppose a policy that prevents members of [the transgender] community from serving in the military on the basis of their gender identity,” Dean Morrison wrote. “Such a policy directly contradicts our anti-discrimination policy, as well as the values of inclusion and diversity at the
heart of our community.”
NYU Law’s Public Affairs Director Michael Orey said that NYU had already taken steps to express its disappointment with the Trump Administration’s decision.
“Current plans to demonstrate the Law School’s disagreement with the military’s discriminatory employment policy include prominently publicizing NYU Law’s nondiscrimination policy when military recruiters are present on campus — including posting the policy at interview locations — and organizing a discussion for our community on the issue of transgender service in the military,” Orey said.
Additionally, NYU Law is showing that it is willing to fully comply with the demands of the open letter.
“Law School administrators are also consulting with representatives from OUTLaw and Students for the Education and Representation of Veterans to identify additional steps the school can take to not only demonstrate our support for transgender and gender nonconforming students, but to ensure they feel included at the Law School and can enjoy full opportunity for professional development and advancement,” Orey said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday Sept. 25 print edition. Email Patrick Pauley at [email protected].