Dear Pitzer College Community,

Yesterday, the US Justice Department and the Education Department released a joint letter that rescinds federal protections for transgender students under Title IX. This action is of real concern to our community.

Citing “significant litigation” caused by the Obama administration’s directive, the Trump administration issued its first “Dear Colleague” letter to schools and colleges that transfers policies and rights of transgender people to the state level. The letter did not take a position on the underlying question of whether Title IX protects gender identity.

As we may perceive this new federal directive as weakening hard-won LGBTQ rights on the national level, it is important to remember that California law matters greatly. California law clearly prohibits discrimination against students based on gender identity. Specifically, transgender students are entitled to participate in school activities, and use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

I believe that every individual is entitled to freedom from fear and stigma, and with the respect of others to pursue a life of meaning and purpose. Pitzer College supports greater acceptance, not less; true equality, not discrimination. We disagree with any action that rescinds, limits or qualifies the rights of any person based upon their gender or gender identity.

At Pitzer, we were early adopters of gender-inclusive housing and bathroom options, as well as transition-related mental health, and medical services. We take this opportunity to reaffirm our support of the transgender community now and in the future.

The Queer Resource Center (Walton Commons, 395 E. 6th Street) is available for anyone who needs additional support or wishes to process news of this national policy reversal. On Friday, February 24, the QRC will remain open until 7 p.m. Please contact the QRC Interim Director, Al Forbes, or Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services.

We will keep our community informed about key developments relating to gender equity and protections on the Pitzer campus. In the meantime, be assured that Pitzer does not and will not tolerate discrimination.

Melvin L. Oliver
Pitzer College