Standard 205. NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY

(a)  A law school shall not use admission policies or take other action to preclude admission of applicants or retention of students on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

(b)  A law school shall foster and maintain equality of opportunity for students, faculty, and staff, without discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

(c)  This Standard does not prevent a law school from having a religious affiliation or purpose and adopting and applying policies of admission of students and employment of faculty and staff that directly relate to this affiliation or purpose so long as (1) notice of these policies has been given to applicants, students, faculty, and staff before their affiliation with the law school, and (2) the religious affiliation, purpose, or policies do not contravene any other Standard, including Standard 405(b) concerning academic freedom. These policies may provide a preference for persons adhering to the religious affiliation or purpose of the law school, but may not be applied to use admission policies or take other action to preclude admission of applicants or retention of students on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability. This Standard permits religious affiliation or purpose policies as to admission, retention, and employment only to the extent that these policies are protected by the United States Constitution. It is administered as though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution governs its application.

(d)  Non-discrimination and equality of opportunity in legal education includes equal employment opportunity. A law school shall communicate to every employer to whom it furnishes assistance and facilities for interviewing and other placement services the school’s firm expectation that the employer will observe the principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability in regard to hiring, promotion, retention and conditions of employment.

Interpretation 205-1
A law school may not require applicants, students, faculty or employees to disclose their sexual orientation, although they may provide opportunities for them to do so voluntarily.

Interpretation 205-2
So long as a school complies with Standard 205(c), the prohibition concerning sexual orientation does not require a religiously affiliated school to act inconsistently with the essential elements of its religious values and beliefs. For example, Standard 205(c) does not require a school to recognize or support organizations whose purposes or objectives with respect to sexual orientation conflict with the essential elements of the religious values and beliefs held by the school.

Interpretation 205-3
Standard 205(d) applies to all employers, including government agencies, to which a school furnishes assistance and facilities for interviewing and other placement services. However, this Standard does not require a law school to implement its terms by excluding any employer unless that employer discriminates unlawfully.

Interpretation 205-4
The denial by a law school of admission to a qualified applicant is treated as made upon the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability if the basis of denial relied upon is an admission qualification of the school that is intended to prevent the admission of applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability though not purporting to do so.

Interpretation 205-5
The denial by a law school of employment to a qualified individual is treated as made upon the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability if the basis of denial relied upon is an employment policy of the school that is intended to prevent the employment of individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability though not purporting to do so.

Standard 206. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

(a)  Consistent with sound legal education policy and the Standards, a law school shall demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to diversity and inclusion by providing full opportunities for the study of law and entry into the profession by members of underrepresented groups, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, and a commitment to having a student body that is diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity.

(b)  Consistent with sound educational policy and the Standards, a law school shall demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to diversity and inclusion by having a faculty and staff that are diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity.

Interpretation 206-1
The requirement of a constitutional provision or statute that purports to prohibit consideration of gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin in admissions or employment decisions is not a justification for a school’s non-compliance with Standard 206. A law school that is subject to such constitutional or statutory provisions would have to demonstrate the commitment required by Standard 206 by means other than those prohibited by the applicable constitutional or statutory provisions.

Interpretation 206-2
In addition to providing full opportunities for the study of law and the entry into the legal profession by members of underrepresented groups, the enrollment of a diverse student body promotes cross- cultural understanding, helps break down racial, ethnic, and gender stereotypes, and enables students to better understand persons of different backgrounds. The forms of concrete action required by a law school to satisfy the obligations of this Standard are not specified. If consistent with applicable law, a law school may use race and ethnicity in its admissions process to promote diversity and inclusion. The determination of a law school’s satisfaction of such obligations is based on the totality of the law school’s actions and the results achieved. The commitment to providing full educational opportunities for members of underrepresented groups typically includes a special concern for determining the potential of these applicants through the admission process, special recruitment efforts, and programs that assist in meeting the academic and financial needs of many of these students and that create a favorable environment for students from underrepresented groups.