A 2024 Snapshot of LGBTQ+ Inclusiveness at Stetson Law

Two students sit at a table with buttons and other giveaways.
Two students sit at a table with buttons and other giveaways.
Members of Stetson Law’s Lambda Legal Society table at an event on campus.

During Pride Month 2024, Stetson University College of Law celebrates the LGBTQ+ community on campus and beyond. From effective strategic initiatives for increasing LGBTQ+ student enrollment to partnering with local organizations that serve the community, here are some recent ways College of Law students, faculty, and staff have supported and enhanced the LGBTQ+ community.

A newly endowed Lambda scholarship

Last fall, Lambda Legal Society — the LGBTQ+ student organization on campus — celebrated the full endowment of its Pride Scholarship, which allows exceptional LGBTQ+ students to focus on what is most important: preparing for a long meaningful legal career. It was the culmination of a multi-year effort that included lively fundraising events featuring legislative updates and drag performances.

Continued recruitment & support of LGBTQ+ students

For years, campus leadership has walked the walk when it comes to recruiting and retaining LGBTQ+ students, equipping them with the tools they need to advocate for the community in meaningful ways as legal professionals and engage with the broader LGBTQ+ community. Telling prospective students “You Belong Here,” as admissions officials actively invite members of the community from around the nation to consider Stetson Law for their legal education.

The result is a diverse, thriving community of students eager to explore the law through an LGBTQ+ lens. Self-identified LGBTQ+ students made up 5% of the fall 2023 entering class.

Once LGBTQ+ students matriculate, a welcoming, supportive community awaits them.

Elevating LGBTQ+ faculty and curriculum

Joseph Morrissey, JD

Mentorship is woven into the culture at Stetson Law, where LGBTQ+ students can learn from professors to whom they can relate, from longtime Professors Joseph Morrissey and Ellen Podgor to newer faculty like Professor Em Wright.

The course catalog invites students to explore ways in which the law shapes the LGBTQ+ experience and vice versa, through courses like Law and Sexual OrientationHuman Rights in International Family Law, and Civil Rights and the Constitution: DOMA/Marriage.

Creating visibility for the community on campus

Since it launched, Stetson Law’s chapter of Lambda Legal Society has become a vibrant and integral element to campus culture – from tabling at events to raising the Progress Pride flag at the start of every Pride Month since 2021.

In November of 2023, Lambda organized a gathering to raise Trans Pride flags for Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Awareness Week, as well as a display commemorating the lives of transgender individuals lost to violent acts targeting them for their identities.

National, regional, and local recognition for LGBTQ+ initiatives

Stetson Law’s commitment to inclusiveness is so robust that it has garnered national, regional, and local recognition from a variety of organizations, including:

  • The Association of American Law Schools Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues’ 2024 LGBTQ+ Inclusive Excellence Award
  • The Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2024 Business of Pride award (Company category)
  • OUT Arts & Culture (formerly the City of Gulfport LGBTQ Resource Center) gave Stetson Law its inaugural “OUTie” Award in the education category for its allyship

The celebration continues

Later this month, the community is invited to join Stetson Law and Lambda in taking part in St. Pete Pride festivities. See a full list of events and register.