In late February, the Departments of Justice and Education released a joint Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that rescinded and withdrew previously issued guidance regarding the rights of transgender students in schools, including private colleges, that receive federal funds. The February 22, 2017 DCL withdraws earlier guidance while at the same time affirming students are not “without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment. All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBTIA+ students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.” The Iowa Civil Rights Act remains in place and continues to treat gender identity as a protected class.
Luther’s policies and processes pertaining to gender identity have not and will not change as a result of the recent DCL. We will continue to provide housing options for students who wish to live in accordance with their gender identity. Across campus, most buildings have gender neutral restroom facilities. As stated in the Discriminatory and Harassing Conduct Policy, Luther does not allow gender-based discrimination or harassment. When our data management system allows, we will provide a means for students and employees to identify preferred names and pronouns.
Luther College remains committed to affirming its mission as a community where, “As people of all backgrounds, we embrace diversity and challenge one another to learn in community, to discern our callings, and to serve with distinction for the common good.” Discrimination based on gender identity is inconsistent with our educational mission, and all faculty, staff, and students deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Corey Landstrom, Vice President and Dean for Student Life
Matt Bills, Associate Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator