Federal change in transgender protections will not affect UO

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The UO’s Title IX office has reviewed changes at the federal level regarding protections for the transgender community and finds there will be no effect on policy or practice at the university.

Darci Heroy, associate vice president and Title IX coordinator, wrote in a memo that “it is important to understand that the administration’s decision to repeal regulatory guidance interpreting Title IX does not impact the fundamental purpose of Title IX — to provide students and all campus community members with equal access to their education opportunities free from discrimination based on sex. This guaranteed right inherently includes protection from discrimination or harassment based on gender and gender identity and, further, requires institutions to provide their campus with safe and equal access to basic amenities, like restrooms.”

The full text of the memo follows:

Until recently, a person’s right to fully and equally access a restroom that aligns with their identified gender was clearly protected by federal and state law and UO policy. However, the Trump administration has chosen to roll back federal guidance clarifying that gender identity is prohibited under Title IX’s broader prohibition on sex discrimination.

We at the UO are very disappointed with this decision and want to reassure our students, faculty, staff and community members that the UO will continue to do all that we can to support the rights of individuals to have safe and equitable access to all of our facilities, programs and activities. UO is proudly included in the Top 10 Trans-friendly colleges and universities in the nation and we stand by our commitment to an inclusive and safe campus for all trans-gender, gender non-conforming, gender queer, agender, non-binary, intersex or questioning members of our community.

The federal decision has caused some to wonder what the implications are at the University of Oregon. First, it is important to understand that the administration’s decision to repeal regulatory guidance interpreting Title IX does not impact the fundamental purpose of Title IX – to provide students and all campus community members with equal access to their education opportunities free from discrimination based on sex. This guaranteed right inherently includes protection from discrimination or harassment based on gender and gender identity and, further, requires institutions to provide their campus with safe and equal access to basic amenities, like restrooms. 

Second and critically, this decision will NOT impact the UO community. This is because state law and UO policy make it clear the all persons have the right to access the restroom that aligns with their identified gender. The state protects this right under ORS 659.850 and the associated guidance available at:  http://www.ode.state.or.us/groups/supportstaff/hklb/schoolnurses/transgenderstudentguidance.pdf.

UO policy guarantees this right, which makes it clear that all of its campus community members have the right to fully and equally access its facilities and to be free from prohibited discrimination. UO policy defines prohibited discrimination to include discrimination based on sex, gender identity, gender expression and perceived gender.

UO remains committed to providing safe and inclusive facilities to all of its campus community members including gender inclusive restrooms, changing rooms, and housing options. Great examples of the work that will continue at UO to support our community are:

  • The New gender-inclusive restroom app https://map.uoregon.edu/all-gender-restrooms to help easily locate all-gender restrooms on campus;
  • The LGBT Education and Support Service Program http://dos.uoregon.edu/transition-support assisting students through all stages of their transition process;
  • Policies requiring the use of preferred name and solidifying processes to facilitate UO name changes;
  • Providing students assistance with legal name changes;
  • Our commitment to inclusive pronouns;
  • Offering comprehensive student health coverage including for hormone and surgical treatment; and
  • 24/7 care assistance through the Dean of Students and Crisis Intervention and the trans care team at the UCTC/UHC.

In addition, the Title IX and partner offices in Student Life and Human Resources will continue working with faculty, staff and students to assess the current status of policies and procedures related to inclusive and safe practices in our community. More information can be found about ongoing efforts at http://dos.uoregon.edu/lgbt

All students, faculty and staff continue to be protected by Title IX and Title VII. Any incidence of harassment, discrimination, or bias should be reported to myself, the Title IX Coordinator (titleixcoordinator@uoregon.edu or 541-346-8136) or to the Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity (aaeoinfo@uoregon.edu or 541-346-3123). Students can easily access information about resources and support, as well as how to make reports at http://respect.uoregon.edu and http://safe.uoregon.edu, and employees can find information at http://aaeo.uoregon.edu