Response to Rescinded Transgender DCL
Dear Kenyon Community,
On February 22, 2017 the Trump administration rescinded the May 13, 2016 Dear Colleague Letter that outlined specific guidance related to transgender students at schools and colleges receiving federal funding. While many of us consider this decision to be a significant setback for LGBTQ+ rights, we are writing to affirm that Kenyon will continue to support all members of our campus community.
The greatest impact in rescinding the 2016 Dear Colleague Letter is the removal of the certainty of how OCR will interpret complaints received “on the basis of sex.” What the decision does not do is remove other key guidance and laws that protect individuals against sexual harassment and gender-based harassment. On March 28, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case related to a school board policy that requires students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their genders as assigned at birth. While there is speculation that oral arguments will be delayed until a ninth judge is appointed to the Court, that has not been confirmed. The College will continue to monitor the case and update the community.
Our commitment to transgender students at Kenyon is reflected in the implementation of gender inclusive restrooms designated with appropriate signage as well as gender inclusive housing, Safe Space Ally training, support of student organizations including Gender Group, Unity House, Crozier, QDubs, Athletes for Equality, LGBTQ+ Coordinators in Admissions and Student Affairs, the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, the ability to change preferred names in our student database and the removal of gendered pronouns in appointment letters and other official communication from Human Resources.
Diversity and equity are fundamental values at Kenyon, and we strive to maintain a safe and respectful environment for all students, faculty and staff. Please contact us should you have questions or concerns you would like to discuss or with suggestions for new initiatives to support inclusivity at Kenyon.
Best wishes for a relaxing and safe spring break,
Meredith Harper Bonham '92, Vice President for Student Affairs
Samantha Jones Hughes, Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator