Sexual-orientation question may be added to law school’s application
Posted Feb 4, 2013 3:34 PM CST
By Mark Hansen
Corrected: George Washington University Law School may begin asking applicants next year about their sexual orientation.
The goal would be to improve support services and pair lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students with alumni and mentors, according to first-year law student and Student Bar Association senator Michael Komo, who has pressed administrators for the change.
If the change is made, it would bring to five the number of top 20 law schools that have added LGBT status to their applications, the GW Hatchet reports.
"It's a signal to LGBT applicants and allies that this is a LGBT-positive law school and university," Komo told the newspaper. "It would would encourage LGBT applicants to apply knowing that GW would be a supportive place for them to be and a good fit."
School officials say such a change is under consideration but that no final decision has been made. They say the school, which currently has an interim dean, won't be making any major changes or additions to its application questions until a new dean has been hired. The final decision will be up to him or her.
Sophia Sim, the associate dean for admissions and financial aid, said the school is "already well known for being an open community." But she said such a move would allow the school to provide prospective students more comprehensive information about its academic programs, student services and mentoring initiatives.
The school already has a perfect score on the Law School Admission Council's LGBT survey, due to its non-discrimination policy, LGBT student organizations, LGBT faculty and administrators, LGBT-specific courses and domestic partnership benefits. The LSAC's common e-application already asks applicants about their sexual orientation.
A university spokeswoman said there are no plans yet to ask undergraduate applicants about their sexual orientation. But she said the undergraduate admissions office has not yet started planning next year's application.
Komo, who first presented the idea to law school administrators in the fall, said he was inspired to do so during a visit to Boston University's law school, where he was paired with the president of the gay law student organization.
"That was really nice to have that connection immediately if I had any questions or concerns through the application process," he said.
Updated Feb. 6 to note that adding the question is only under consideration and other updates to the underlying coverage.