The single greatest influence on my career as a negotiation consultant and trainer, as well as a mediator and arbitrator, was the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked the Straus Institute as the country’s no. 1 dispute resolution program for seven straight years.
Unfortunately, that’s seven straight years, years during which the school’s LGBT students and faculty have felt the need to keep their personal lives a secret from the rest of the University community.
Though Straus believes it is loving and supportive of its LGBT students (hate the sin and love the sinner) as a Straus alum, I have personally known gay faculty who pledged me to strict secrecy about their lives. Not about their sex lives, but about the people who are their family.
Sadly, I also know a Pepperdine Law student who, struggling with his gay identity as a rising 2L, committed suicide. This student (I’ll call him Joe) took Dan Van Ness’ Restorative Justice class and then Jack McCrory’s Arbitration class with me during the summers in which I was earning my LL.M and my young friend was earning the Alternative Dispute Resolution part of his JD/MDR.