In light of recently issued guidelines affecting the rights of transgender students, I am writing to reaffirm the University's support of our transgender community.
In May 2016, under the previous administration, the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice issued guidelines related to the rights of transgender students at colleges, universities and K-12 schools across the country. The guidelines, issued in what's commonly referred to as a "Dear Colleague" letter (DCL), covered three broad areas related to the rights of transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and specifically stated that:
- Schools have a responsibility to provide a nondiscriminatory environment for all students, including transgender students.
- Schools must allow transgender students to access sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity.
- Schools must treat students consistent with their gender identity, which includes protecting the privacy of transgender students to the extent that educational records reflect students' birth name or sex assigned at birth.
On Wednesday, the current administration issued a new DCL rescinding the prior administration's guidance. Let me assure you that we will not allow this action to thwart Bucknell's efforts as we build a more inclusive community. We will continue to follow the principles articulated in the May 2016 DCL, much of which we had already implemented prior to the letter's release. Specifically, Bucknell's notice of nondiscrimination already prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Bucknell also permitted students to access facilities consistent with their gender identity. As a result of the May 2016 guidance, Bucknell took a closer look on how it manages student information in order to ensure that the privacy of transgender students is fully respected, as further explained in Associate Provost Robert Midkiff's Aug. 25, 2016 email to campus.
If you have further questions on this topic, I encourage you to contact either Title IX Coordinator Kate Grimes at TitleIX@bucknell.edu or 570.577.1554, Director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources Bill McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570.577.1609, or Associate Provost Robert Midkiff at email@example.com or 570.577.1561.
Thank you for your commitment to standing up against discrimination — regardless of the form it takes — as we continue our journey to a better Bucknell.