Updated: OUTLaw Calls for Community Meeting in Open Letter to Law School

Written by Naeem Crawford-Muhammad

Update: The Student Bar Association (SBA)  has released a statement through its president, Taaj Reeves. The SBA is asking law students to attend the university-wide Safe Zone from 9:45am-1pm in the LGBTQ Student Center in Room 602 of the Kimmel Center. Students that would like to attend are asked to RSVP here. The SBA statement is reproduced below, in full.

Commitment to Diversity at NYU Law

NYU Law:

As you may know, two weeks ago SBA and OUTLaw co-sponsored a Bar Review at Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up. At this otherwise successful event, it was alleged that a member of the NYU Law community began shouting homophobic slurs while standing outside the venue. While these allegations have yet to be corroborated, we want to acknowledge the harm afflicting our community by way of the school’s silence around this issue. 

We write to affirm our communities’ values — we do not support nor tolerate homophobia, transphobia or other forms of intolerance at NYU Law. As demonstrated by our partnerships with OUTLaw and additional affinity groups throughout the year, we are committed to supporting diversity at our law school and beyond. 

As a reflection of our commitment, we invite you to join members of the SBA and OUTLaw community at tomorrow’s university-wide Safe Zone from 9:45am-1pm in the LGBTQ Student Center at the Kimmel Center, Room 602. Please RSVP here to attend.

always faithful,
Taaj Reaves
SBA President

Hell’s Kitchen, NYC – Following an incident at Bar Review on Thursday, February 18th, OUTLaw has called for a community meeting open to all members of the Law School. According to an open letter signed by the OUTLaw Board, “At the end of [Bar Review], several NYU Law students were asked to leave the bar for inappropriate behavior; once outside, at least one began shouting ‘faggots’ and ‘homos’ from across the street toward the bar.” The offending students were apparently asked to leave the area. The police were called shortly afterwards.

It is unclear from OUTLaw’s letter what the identity is of the offending person or what precipitated the incident at Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up Bar. It is also unclear who from OUTLaw may have witnessed the events in question. The Commentator has reached out to leaders of OUTLaw and the Student Bar Association, which co-sponsored the event, for further comment. This article will be updated if and when such comments are provided.

The open letter from OUTLaw is reproduced, in full, below. If you have any information about this incident and would like to share, please email us at lawcommentator@gmail.com.

Update: OUTLaw has declined to comment publicly. The Student Bar Association has not yet responded to a request for comment.

A Message from NYU OUTLaw

Dear NYU Law,

We are writing to share with you an unfortunate incident that took place on Thursday evening. As you may know, a well-attended joint SBA-OUTLaw Bar Review took place at the gay bar Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up. At the end of the night, several NYU Law students were asked to leave the bar for inappropriate behavior; once outside, at least one began shouting “faggots” and “homos” from across the street toward the bar. The bar owner apparently kicked the remaining NYU Law students out of the bar and called the police.

Nearly all of us have been called those words before. For some in our community, those and other anti-gay slurs kept us in the closet — or still do. The attitudes they embody make it harder for someone questioning their sexuality or gender identity to feel safe, welcome, and comfortable here.

We believe this incident offers us the opportunity for meaningful and constructive dialogue about continued homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of intolerance at NYU Law, despite the genuine progress the law school community has made on these issues. Although we have informed the administration about this incident, we are also calling on our members and allies to take further action with us. 

To discuss this incident and the actions we can take as a community, please come to our next OUTLaw meeting on Monday, Feb. 29, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in VH 210. Our strength is in our community.  

The OUTLaw Board

P.S. If you witnessed this or any other incidents, or have any other concerns or feelings you’d like to communicate, please reach out to us and share your story — we are here for you at any time. Email our co-chairs Eliza Vasconcellos & Russell Silver-Fagan at nyu.outlaw@nyu.edu.

Editor’s Note: The author is a class representative on the Student Bar Association, but has no role in the administration of Bar Review and was not present at the event.