Rob Saltzman (he/him) was born in Bloomington, Indiana, the son of two academic psychologists at Indiana University. He attended public schools and occupied himself with competitive swimming and local politics.
Rob received his A.B. in Government from Dartmouth College, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. After law school, Rob practiced law in Colorado for a year. In 1980 he moved to Southern California and began his career going back and forth between academia and government and civic activities. For most of the 1980’s, Rob worked for L.A. County government, first as the Legal Affairs/Justice Deputy for L.A. County Supervisor Edmund D. Edelman. That work spanned Justice issues in the courts, with the D.A. and the Sheriff, and advocacy regarding low-income and senior housing, civil rights, labor rights, and LGBTQ+ rights among others. Rob also served in the late 1980’s as Special Counsel to the L.A. County Director of Health Services, where issues ranged from adequate hospital care in the County’s five hospitals and 50+ public health centers, plus a range of complex issues in Public Health from HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases to public health education and services. In short, despite the best efforts of those working in the Health Department, there simply were never enough resources to adequately respond to the many health-related needs of those in L.A. County.
In 1988, Rob joined the faculty of the USC Gould School of Law and was appointed an associate dean responsible for all of student services, including admissions and recruitment, financial aid and scholarships, registration and records, Dean of Students functions (counseling and responding to student issues), and career counseling and job placement. Rob also began to teach in the law school; courses he taught included Legal Writing and Analysis, Professional Responsibility (Legal Ethics for Lawyers), Evidence, and Criminal Law. Rob was active in a variety of national legal education organizations working to improve both the access to—and the substance of—legal education. Rob remained at USC until he retired in 2015.
During Rob’s time at USC, he stayed involved in local and national government issues. For 10 years, Rob was one of five Police Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles to supervise and set policy for the LAPD. Rob is most proud of his work on the Police Commission related to progress in tightening and improving use-of-force policies, public release of police audio and video recordings so as to improve transparency and accountability, and policies and procedures to require de-escalation by police officers, and to limit racial and identify profiling by officers. Rob also has worked and continues to work with the LAPD and the LA Sheriff on issues related to LGBTQ+ civil rights for those caught up in the criminal law system. In addition to the Police Commission, Rob served on the L.A. County Probation Oversight Commission, and the West Hollywood Business License Commission. Rob is very proud that President Obama appointed him to serve on the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Rob still serves today on the the West Hollywood Public Safety Commission, and the USC Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board.
In addition to being involved in LGBTQ+ issues through his professional work at the County and at USC, Rob has served on a variety of LGBTQ+ community boards including the L.A. LGBT Center, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the LGBTQ Victory Institute. Rob has served on the Advisory Board of the David Bohnett Foundation since the Foundation was founded in 2000.
Rob met his life partner and husband, Ed Pierce, in law school in the 1970s. They were together for 36 years from 1979 until Ed’s death in 2015. They were legally married in 2008 when marriage equality existed briefly in California before it was taken away by Proposition 8. Rob and Ed were both surprised and pleased that the New York Times reported their marriage. Rob and Ed together were active in a number of LGBTQ+ charitable works primarily for GLSEN and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Their lives together were focused on friends, family and children, combined with a lifelong passion for social justice and community service.
Ed served on the Board of GLSEN for over ten years. And Ed and Rob are the founders of the One Institute Youth Ambassadors for Queer History Program. They chose to contribute to the One Institute specifically to support the Youth Ambassadors for Queer History Program to further their commitment to assisting youth programs in the LGBTQ community, and in particular to assist the One Institute in achieving its goal of bringing LGBTQ history into the schools and curricula for all students. Reflecting on opportunities available to him as a student, Rob says that he wishes that pro-LGBTQ+ internships had been available when he was in college and law school. As a result, today Rob is fully funding multiple student internships for students interested in pursuing LGBTQ+ civil rights and advocacy at Lambda Legal, USC Gould School of Law, and at Dartmouth College. Rob hopes to be able to provide funding to expand those internships programs to other schools and legal public service offices.
Rob has a rescue dog Lucy to keep busy. In addition, Rob volunteers in the Kindergarten at Rosewood Elementary School. Rob is very pleased to have the opportunity to join the One Institute Board in 2023.