Thursday, January 24, 2008

Don't Ask Don't Tell Amelioration

As many of you know, law schools are under an obligation, originating from their own policies and membership in ogranizations such as the Association of American Law Schools, to ameliorate the discriminatory effects of the Congressionally imposed Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, which forbids the military to consider for employment law students who are openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual. All law schools have policies which forbid this kind of discrimination, and many states, including New York, have laws which forbid this discrimination, as well.

This ameliorative obligation can be satisfied in many ways, such as publicizing the effects of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, affording students an opportunity to make efforts to change it should they wish, and providing LGBT students with resources to apply for other employment opportunities. Students at Touro Law Center and at most other law schools often see posters throughout the law school talking about Don't Ask Don't Tell when military recruiters come on campus. Military recruiters are aware of the purpose of these signs, and have on many occasions confided in law school career services personnel that they believe the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy is foolish, particularly with respect to military lawyers, as it deprives the Service of the country's best and brightest.

Touro Law Center also offers pro bono credit to students who participate in National Lobbying Day in Washington DC, when students and professors from across the country lobby members of Congress to allow members of the LGBT community to openly serve in the military. This year's Lobbying Day will be on Friday, March 7, and Touro law students are encouraged to accompany the professors who plan on participating in the repeal efforts in Washington on that day. Please see Dean Gilbert for additional information about this project.

In addition, this year, at the NYU Job Fair on February 7 and 8, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is asking for student volunteers to staff tables which will invite students attending the Fair to sign materials opposing Don't Ask Don't Tell that will be delivered to members of Congress. Table staffing shifts are on Thursday, Feb. 7, 10am-noon and 2-4pm; and Friday, Feb 8, 10am-noon and 2-4pm. Any students interested in staffing a table at the NYU Fair should contact Dean Gilbert.

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