Wisconsin QLaw released a statement Friday publicly opposing Women’s Liberation Front’s involvement in the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Wisconsin Public Interest Interview Program.
QLaw, a student organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, claimed WoLF supports transphobic policies and that the UW Law School should remove WoLF from their interview program.
“QLaw is firmly opposed to W[o]LF’s inclusion in WIPIIP,” the QLAW statement said. “We believe doing so platforms a hate group and betrays the School’s obligation to create a safe environment for trans students.”
QLaw said in their statement that they met with UW Law School Dean Daniel Tokaji and Assistant Dean Megan Heneke on Wednesday to request WoLF’s removal from the interview program.
In a media statement, the UW Law School said they are committed to supporting equal opportunity for all people and disagree with the viewpoints of WoLF. But, they maintained that they will continue to include WoLF in the interview program.
“To exclude an employer based on its ideology or expression – including positions taken in court – would constitute viewpoint discrimination contrary to the First Amendment,” UW Law School’s statement said. “As a public institution, we have an obligation to refrain from all forms of legally prohibited discrimination, including viewpoint discrimination.”
The Law School’s Wisconsin Public Interest Interview Program provides law students with the opportunity to meet with local employers to find summer internships and often full time positions.
According to QLaw, by allowing WoLF into the interview program, UW is setting a dangerous precedent of inaction that may affect all marginalized students on campus.
QLaw said WoLF is a hate group and a radical, transphobic organization. QLaw also said that WoLF’s primary goal is to lobby against equal protections for trans people, especially trans women.
ASM Chair Matthew Mitnick said in an email statement to The Badger Herald that WoLF should be prohibited from participating at UW because of its transphobic viewpoints.
“Giving space to a group that promotes hate and endangers students should not be tolerated in any capacity,” Mitnick said. “I am dismayed by UW’s inaction. I stand in solidarity with QLaw in demanding that W[o]LF be removed from participating in the Wisconsin Public Interest Interview Program.”
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According to WoLF’s website, one of their goals is to “support the boundaries” of lesbian and bi women. They also say they support “de-transitioning women in their struggle to be healed and heard.”
In a statement released by WoLF, Executive Director Natasha Chart said the organization commended UW Law for upholding First Amendment rights, despite their ideological disagreements.
“UW Law’s commitment to protecting civil liberties affirms why WoLF chose to partner through its Public Interest Interview Program,” Chart said in the statement. “We look forward to interviewing a diverse range of qualified candidates as well as working with UW Law to build up the next generation of lawyers with a steadfast dedication to freedom for all — including women.”
As reported by the UW Law School News, the school found no information to suggest that WLF discriminates based on sex or gender identity in its hiring. But the Law School also said they do not agree with WoLF’s opposition to anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity.
The Law School will allow WoLF to attend their school’s interview program.
“Adherence to this constitutional obligation does not mean we support their views or litigation positions,” UW Law School said. “To the contrary, UW Law School is emphatically committed to the principle of equal opportunity for all people, including freedom from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.”
This article was updated on Feb. 2 at 11:12 a.m. to reflect a correction in the acronym for the Women’s Liberation Front and a statement from WoLF.