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For immediate release: Monday, December 16, 2013 STUDENTS DISAPPOINTED BY FEDERATION OF LAW SOCIETIES' SUPPORT FOR ANTI-LGBTQ LAW SCHOOL Law students across the country were angered to learn of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's (FLSC's) granting of "preliminary approval" to the proposed law school at Trinity Western University (TWU). The FLSC sent a letter to the provincial law societies advising that the TWU program had met the National Requirements, despite major concerns from stakeholders about the school's discriminatory policies towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students. "Clearly, systemic LGBTQ discrimination is alive and well. It is tremendously disheartening to see the FLSC disregard the youth of their profession in such a formalistic manner," said Allison Vanek (University of Ottawa). TWU is an evangelical Christian liberal arts university in Langley, BC. TWU forces its students to sign a Community Covenant Agreement requiring the student to abstain from sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman. Students who do not comply with the agreement may be removed from the university without readmission. The covenant is inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and provincial human rights legislation. "Legal education in Canada is undergoing a transformation to make itself more accessible, practical, and representative. It is discouraging that in the face of so much progress, leadership figures in the profession have hidden behind process to rubber-stamp discrimination," said Douglas Judson (Osgoode Hall Law School). The Canadian Bar Association (CBA), the Canadian Council of Law Deans (CCLD), prominent legal professionals, and over 1000 law students have expressed concerns about the TWU proposal. Concerns have been raised about TWU's law school constraining LGBTQ access to the legal profession by placing a de facto quota on gay students, and about whether the university's evangelical world view is an appropriate venue for teaching contemporary constitutional law or promoting academic freedom. "The Federation's report is out of step with Canadian values. The bottom line is that no law school in Canada should be allowed to weed out gay students. It's totally unacceptable," said Marcus McCann (University of Toronto). The new program will still require provincial approval. Despite the self-congratulatory release issued by TWU, which expressed absolutely no intention of ensuring their law school is inclusive or respects Charter values, the FLSC decision only serves as a recommendation for provincial law societies, which maintain authority over which programs may serve as prerequisites for admission to the bar in their jurisdiction. "The FLSC's blessing was reached through a protracted and secretive process," said McCann. "The onus is now on the provincial law societies and government to be transparent and stand by their responsibilities to ensure that admission to the profession respects human rights and equality." -30Contacts Douglas W. Judson JD/MBA Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School Past Co-Chair, Osgoode OUTlaws Phone: 613-720-3845 Email: Marcus McCann JD Candidate, University of Toronto School of Law Phone: 647-772-4869 Email: Allison Vanek JD Candidate, University of Ottawa Common Law Executive Member, University of Ottawa OUTlaw Email: Phone: 613-979-7547 Dustin Klaudt JD (2013), University of British Columbia Law School Past OUTlaws Co-Chair Email: Phone: 604-837-5994

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