One of the agenda items in my pile of university meetings was a discussion of this bit of official University of Minnesota policy. The discussion was brought to the table by oSTEM@Morris, a new student club for LGBTQ+ students in the sciences.
Name, Gender Identity and Pronouns
- University members may, without being required to provide documentation: use a specified name that differs from the name listed on their legal documents, use a gender identity that differs from their legal sex and/or sex assigned at birth, and/or specify the pronouns and other gendered personal references used to refer to them.
- University members can determine whether, how, and with whom to share their specified names, gender identities, and/or pronouns or other gendered personal references used to refer to them.
- University members and units are expected to use the names, gender identities, and pronouns specified to them by other University members, except as legally required. University members and units are also expected to use other gendered personal references, if any, that are consistent with the gender identities and pronouns specified by University members.
Units must take reasonable steps to maintain the privacy of the pronouns, gender identities, and legal sexes of University members that are maintained in University records. Only school officials with a legitimate educational interest in knowing the pronouns, gender identity and legal sex of a student maintained in University records should access, or be provided access to, this information. Only individuals whose work assignments reasonably require access to the pronouns, gender identity and legal sex of any other University member maintained in University records should access, or be provided access to, this information. In addition, where a University member has indicated a specified name, units should maintain the privacy of the University member’s legal name when possible.
Where possible, a University unit or member who is collecting information about University members’ legal sexes, sexes assigned at birth, and/or gender identities should explain at the time of collection the reason for collecting the information and how the information will be used. University members do not have to respond to requests to disclose their legal sex, sex assigned at birth, or gender identity, except when legally required or when there is a legitimate University-related reason for the request.
Programs, Activities and Facilities
- When the University provides housing, restrooms and locker rooms, it will provide individuals of all gender identities with the opportunity to access housing, restrooms and locker rooms.
- University members may access gender-specific facilities that correspond with their gender identities and may participate in University activities and programs consistent with their gender identities including, but not limited to, housing, restrooms, locker rooms, recreation services and activities, and camp programs.
- University members will not be required to use gender-specific facilities that are inconsistent with their gender identities, or to use gender-inclusive facilities: 1) because their legal sex differs from their gender identity, or 2) because of their gender expression.
The students also told us that we were already doing a good job supporting diversity in our classrooms! Yay, us! Always nice to have a happy item in the discussion.
There was no dissent or concern from our university faculty on the issues, so it’s also nice to have an agenda item that doesn’t drive endless argument, and instead has everyone giving a thumbs up to the policy and smoothly moving on.
By the way, oSTEM looks like an excellent organization. Check it out.