The Law School committee on Gay Legal Issues has asked students to boycott today's scheduled recruiting interviews with the U.S. Navy's office of the general counsel because of the Navy's alleged discrimination against homosexuals.
The committee charged the law school administration with violating the rules of its placement office, which bar employers who discriminate "in any form based upon sexual orientation."
Stephen M. Bernardi, assistant dean for academic administration at the Law School, said yesterday the Navy's general counsel had assured him the office's hiring policies conform to the school's placement office rules.
Bernardi said there were "only a handful--maybe three or four" law students signed up for Navy interviews.
Steven Sayers, a law student and member of the committee, said yesterday the committee has gathered 550 signatures on a petition protesting the placement office's decision to allow the Navy interviewers on campus.
Sayers said he did not expect many of the students with scheduled interviews to boycott them. "The people who would interview with the Navy are not those who would be as sensitive to our position as those who wouldn't interview with the Navy," he said.
The committee has distributed posters and leaflets urging the boycott and citing several cases in which judges ruled against the Navy's policies on homosexuality.
Bernardi said the jobs in the general counsel's office are civilian, not military, and the offending Navy regulations apply only to uniformed personnel. The Navy counsel told Bernardi that other Department of Defense regulations about homosexuality that did apply to civilians had been superseded by Congress' Civil Service Reform Act, Bernardi added.
Bernardi announced the decision Tuesday. Sayers said its timing had prevented organization of any protest beyond a boycott, and that the main purpose of calling for a boycott was to educate law students about the Navy's policies.
"Next year, there will be a full-scale effort to register stronger protest," he added.