The U’s support for transgender rights will not waver: President Kaler's message to University community

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Last Wednesday, the White House withdrew guidelines protecting transgender rights in America’s public schools and college campuses under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools.

Let me be clear. The University of Minnesota stands by our values of equity and inclusion and the right of transgender and gender nonconforming members of our campus community to learn, teach, and work free of any form of harassment and discrimination, including the dignity of being able to use the restroom that aligns with your gender identity. Our support for these rights will not change.

The University will not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Furthermore, the Minnesota Human Rights Act provides that all students should be free from discrimination, including transgender students.

This article by the director of the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life (GSC), and the Chair of the Transgender Commission makes clear the long history the University community has of advancing rights for transgender and gender nonconforming people. We must, and we will, continue to work together to build a community and climate that affirm and support us all.

If you experience harassment or discrimination based upon your gender identity, report it to the Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and the Bias Response and Referral Network. There are many resources to support you, and you can find them by reaching out to the GSC.

We all belong here and deserve to feel safe and secure.

P.S. Just a reminder that all students, faculty and staff are invited to attend my sixth State of the University Address, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 2, in the Coffman Memorial Union Theater on the Twin Cities campus. Or you can watch via YouTube or gather on our Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester campuses.

Grounded in the University’s enduring values — including respect for all and our mission as a public land-grant research institution — I will announce new University commitments to address concerns of immigrant and undocumented students, faculty and staff, and to prevent sexual assault. I will also stress inclusiveness, one again expressing the University’s support for members of the our transgender community, and decrying recent racist and hateful incidents.

The speech will also focus on the University’s role in the State of Minnesota and its commitment to academic freedom and freedom of speech.