School of Law News
Resolution Supports Nondiscrimination Protection for Transgender Individuals
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2015
The Western New England University School of Law faculty voted unanimously on Friday, November 6, 2015, in favor of a resolution of support for pending legislation that would expand nondiscrimination protection for transgender individuals in businesses and other facilities that are open to the public, including within higher education.
Expressing the faculty’s support for the measure, School of Law Dean Eric Gouvin said, “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a pioneer in protecting and advancing the civil rights of LGBT people and this legislation affirms the state’s commitment to treat all of its citizens with equal dignity and respect.”
Advocates are pressing the state legislature to address the pending legislation, known as S.735 and H.1577, before it breaks for the holidays on November 19. Massachusetts nondiscrimination laws already protect transgender residents in other areas of state law, including areas such employment, public education, credit, and housing. No express law protects transgender patrons in restaurants and other places of public accommodation.
Noting that such exclusion has no place in higher education, Professor Jennifer Levi said, “The Law School strives to provide an inclusive educational environment for all our students. We support statewide efforts to ensure that all public accommodations throughout the Commonwealth are open and accessible to all – including transgender residents.”
Other organizations in higher education have also expressed public support for pending legislation, including:
Boston College Lambda Law Students Association, Harvard University, Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus, Harvard Transgender Task Force, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design Student Government Association, Mount Holyoke College, Northeastern University, Public Higher Education Network Of Massachusetts, Simmons College, Tufts University, and the UMass Dartmouth Center for Women, Gender & Sexuality.
Law School Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies Supports Transgender High School Student
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Leading experts in transgender legal concerns, Professors Erin E. Buzuvis and Jennifer L. Levi of Western New England University School of Law Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies filed briefs in support of a Virginia high school student who sued his school for excluding him from using the boys’ restroom facility at the high school he attends. The student is appealing to a federal appellate court after a lower court denied him preliminary relief against the Gloucester, Virginia school board.
Professor Buzuvis filed an amicus brief in this case, along with Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg of Columbia Law School, on behalf of ten women’s rights and Title IX organizations. The brief argues that discrimination against a student because he is transgender violates Title IX’s prohibitions against sex discrimination.
“A transgender boy is a boy and should be treated the same as any other boy. Singling him out for exclusion from educational opportunities is gender discrimination under Title IX, and a violation of his civil rights,” Buzuvis said. “This type of restriction, which is both discriminatory and inhumane, makes equal educational opportunity impossible for transgender students,” added Goldberg.
Professor Jennifer Levi submitted a brief in this case on behalf of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the Pediatric Endocrine Society among many other prominent transgender health organizations. The brief details the social science research that highlights the role schools play in developing and supporting positive self-identities for all students. Singling out a transgender boy from the rest of the student population for exclusion from school facilities stigmatizes him and undermines his ability to learn.
“Transgender adolescents have the same need for support and affirmation as do their non-transgender peers,” explained Levi. “The research is clear and demonstrates the need for a transgender boy to be treated just like every other boy at the school.”
Erin Buzuvis can be reached for further comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clason Speaker Explores Race, Gender, and Democracy
Posted Monday, November 2, 2015
Western New England University School of Law’s Clason Speaker Series and the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies hosted an inspirational talk by Dr. Christina M. Greer on Monday, October 26, in the Law School Common. The talk, titled “Race, Gender, and American Democracy,” investigated the struggles of pioneers like Charlene Mitchell and Shirley Chisholm, who broke boundries of race and gender.
In this past year alone, we’ve witnessed growing concern over police violence against people of color, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the bombing of an historic African-American church, and renewed controversy over the Confederate flag. Professor Christina Greer will examine the interconnectedness of race and gender in contemporary American society and the importance of examining both as a means to understand and improve the American democracy.
Christina Greer is a professor of political science at Fordham University. Her research and teaching focus on American politics, black ethnic politics, urban politics, quantitative methods, and public opinion. Dr. Greer is the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream.
The Clason Speaker Series presents expert lectures to the School of Law and to the public. The series is named after Charles R. Clason, a prominent local attorney and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who held the position of Dean of the School of Law from 1954 to 1970. Today, the purpose of the Charles and Emma Clason Endowment Fund is to host speakers who will enhance the academic environment of the School of Law at the University.
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