UNC Omits Application Question
Special Report - June 20, 2008
The UNC Law School is omitting a controversial question about applicants’ “sexual orientation from its future Law School admissions applications, according to Charles Boger, Dean of the Law School. In a letter to the North Carolina Family Policy Council, Dean Boger stated that the “sexual orientation” of applicants was irrelevant to this year’s admissions process and will not be solicited on future applications for admission. UNC-CH School of Law included this year for the first time on its application of admission the question: “Do you self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer?” When asked about the question earlier this spring, Dean Boger and the Assistant Dean for Admissions issued a statement that: “The purpose of the question was to identify the UNC School of Law as a welcoming environment for these applicants, and to allow Lambda [the gay and lesbian law students’ association] to contact admitted students….”
The North Carolina Family Policy Council published a story in its March/April edition of Family North Carolina about the question. The article noted that, “There is no federal or state law that requires or authorizes UNC-CH School of Law admissions officials to grant preferences on the basis of one’s identity as ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer’ during the admissions process.” The article suggested that the only two logical reasons for the question were either that the law school sought to grant a preference in admissions on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” or that the law school felt it was important to help the gay and lesbian law student association to identify potential members. The article concluded that, “Neither option is appropriate, especially for a publicly funded law school.”
In response to an inquiry from the North Carolina Family Policy Council about the status of the question, Dean Boger revealed in a letter dated June 9, 2008, that he had asked for an internal review by the School’s admissions staff and faculty-led admissions committee that resulted in striking the question from future applications for admission. He stated, “The future application for admission to the UNC School of Law will no longer include question 12 or any equivalent that would ask applicants to reveal their sexual orientation.” He did note, however, that the School will, “affirmatively convey to prospective students the School’s desire to recruit and enroll a diverse student body, considering all forms of diversity, including economic, social, educational, and viewpoint, among others. We believe that this diversity enriches the educational experience of our students, and we may design a question that invites future applicants to express what they might contribute to such an environment.” Dean Boger unequivocally stated that the question, “did not affect the admissions process at all. Neither an applicant’s answer to this questionwhether in the affirmative or the negativenor the failure to answer the question affected the likelihood that any applicant would be admitted. In short, it was not a factor considered during the 2007-2008 admissions cycle.”
North Carolina Family Policy Council attorney Tami Fitzgerald said, “While we agree that a diverse student body enriches the learning environment, the ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ of a law school applicant is not the proper subject of inquiry for law school admissions. We are grateful that Dean Boger conducted the internal investigation and has decided to strike the question from future applications for admission.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.