Just because we don’t have the federal government pushing changes to Title IX rules regarding transgender policies anymore doesn’t mean that the issue has gone away. Even without an iron mandate from Washington, the University of Minnesota is still hard at work on sweeping changes to their campus policies which include proposals on this subject that are already drawing some backlash. One is an aggressive assault on free speech which would mandate that every student and employee be allowed to use the pronoun of their choice. No problem there, obviously. Call yourself whatever you like. It’s a free country. But the draft of the new policy also includes a mandate for everyone else to similarly use the same pronouns or face termination in the case of employees or expulsion for fellow students. (Star Tribune)
Using the wrong pronoun could turn into a firing offense at the University of Minnesota.
The U is considering a new “gender identity” policy that would assure transgender men and women, as well as others, the right to use whatever pronoun they wish on campus — whether it’s he, she, “ze” or something else.
And everyone from professors to classmates would be expected to call them by the right words or risk potential disciplinary action, up to firing or expulsion.
The pronoun rule is just one of the proposed changes in a draft U policy that, advocates say, would bar harassment and discrimination against transgender and “gender nonconforming” individuals.
That’s not a particularly new concept in the ongoing transgender revolution and it’s been brought up before both as school policy and even state or local law. But the University of Minnesota doesn’t stop there. They actually go quite a ways further. For example, if you’re sending your young daughter off to go to college there and she’ll need to be moving into on-campus housing, you’d better not complain if her new roommate for the first semester turns out to be a “girl with a penis.”
The pronoun rule isn’t the only potentially contentious issue in the proposed policy. Among other things, it would also give individuals the right to access men’s or women’s locker rooms, recreational activities and housing based on their self-identified gender, rather than their biology. Konstan said he’s heard concerns about how that might affect roommate assignments, for example.
“Being welcoming and respectful to everyone is a wonderful goal,” he said. But “do we allow a student to say we won’t room with somebody who was born with a different gender?”
Whether or not they can get away with that second one while receiving taxpayer dollars is a question for another day. But there is one option which everyone should remain aware of when it comes to “choice.” If you find out that your kid is being assigned to such a housing situation you are still within your rights to change schools. Yes, it can be expensive and a disruption to the student’s expected graduation schedule, but if enough families are doing it they’ll probably get the message.
As with all of these confrontations in the social justice wars, the free speech issues should be somewhat easier to handle. Call yourself whatever you like and use the pronouns you wish. Don’t attempt to force anyone else to do so. The worst you should be able to accuse them of in such cases is being rude. (They will likely disagree.) And while I’m sure we’d like everyone to avoid rudeness and get along, being “rude” isn’t a criminal offense.
But when it comes to a denial of basic privacy rights and attempting to force young women into sharing a bedroom, bathroom or shower with a boy when they haven’t given their consent to do so, more rapid and direct intervention is required. If the University of Minnesota wants to be the next battleground in this fight, that’s a choice they’ll have to make. But they shouldn’t expect such madness to sail through unopposed.