Policy Update: Rights and Protections for the Transgender Community on Campus

Policy Update: Rights and Protections for the Transgender Community on Campus

Clery Center advocates for safer campuses and promotes learning environments grounded in dignity and respect. All students deserve the right to learn in an institution free from harassment and discrimination. 

Higher education administrators, law enforcement, public safety, faculty, and students often adopt a forward-thinking approach to inclusion through efforts to better understand their campus climates and marginalized populations at their institution. The most recent amendments to the Clery Act through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expanded hate crime reporting to include the category of gender identity, and we support – and will continue to support – laws and guidance that further provide frameworks for schools to create safer environments for their students. The addition of gender identity to the hate crimes category of the Clery Act provides one opportunity to assess the level of violence and bias against transgender students on college campuses.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration withdrew the most recent protections in place for transgender students that enabled transgender students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity.   While the recent letter from the United States Departments of Justice and Education affirmed that withdrawal of the guidance “does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment,” its issuance signals a lack of commitment to ensuring free access to education for vulnerable populations, particularly transgender students, at the federal level. 

Efforts to create safer campus environments will only succeed if we are cognizant of the needs of all students and stakeholders on our campuses. We must continue to engage in conversations, evaluate data and campus climate, and take action to support everyone in our higher education communities and beyond. 

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