University administrator assures support for transgender, gender nonconforming students following Trump action


Jeffrey Wang/Daily Senior Staffer

Norris University Center has an all-gender bathroom on its third floor. An administrator sent an email to students Thursday saying the University would not alter its practices or procedures following the Trump administration’s revocation of Obama’s transgender bathroom bill.

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, affirmed in an email to Thursday continued support for LGBTQ students in response to President Donald Trump’s revocation of a transgender bathroom order.

The Trump administration rescinded protections Wednesday that had been established under former President Barack Obama and allowed transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identities.

The decision came after conflict within the administration, as Trump overruled initial resistance from education secretary Betsy DeVos, who felt “uncomfortable” about potential harm to transgender students, according to The New York Times. DeVos later agreed to the rollback after opposition from Trump and attorney general Jeff Sessions.

Telles-Irvin said in the email that the University “does not plan to change our current procedures or practices” in light of Trump’s actions. She added that further policy changes will “undoubtedly” occur while Trump is president.

“Northwestern is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive community for all, and that will not change,” Telles-Irvin said. “Members of our LGBTQIA+ community play important roles throughout Northwestern, and their contributions help make this institution a better place.”

The University currently lists the resources for and policies relevant to transgender and gender nonconforming students on the Multicultural Student Affairs website.

Information includes a list of state and national resources; policies on discrimination and harassment, including the Title IX statement on sex-based discrimination; a form to report instances of bias or hate; and details about gender open housing. The website also provides a list of some all-gender restrooms on campus — including in University Hall, Norris University Center, the Black House, and the Multicultural Center.

Administrators also approved a committee for supporting transgender students Fall Quarter, particularly focused on ensuring that accommodations in new University buildings are sufficient.

Telles-Irvin said in the email that she hoped to “reassure” members of the NU community — especially transgender and gender nonconforming individuals — that the University will continue to support them in light of Trump’s action.

“While some may prefer that Northwestern and other universities not engage in these societal issues, members of our community are being affected, so we believe it is important to do so,” she said.

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