Special to The Leader
There was a gender policies meeting in the Horizon Roomon Mar. 20 that was open to the public. Policies to accommodate all students, specifically transgender students, were discussed. SUNY Fredonia showed its focus on accommodating all students’ needs and making the campus suitable for everyone.
“The committee has real information based on individuals and their experiences as they go forward. I do think it’s important when we talk about issues such as diversity that we think about all forms of diversity and that our campus be receptive to things that many people might be blind to,” President Virginia Horvath said. “I see this as a chance for us to hear suggestions in a positive way that the committee can work with, and I look forward to recommendations coming from them.”
The main issue that was discussed was having another choice on the college admission form for gender being “other.” It was mentioned that the word “other” might not be the bestphrase in the chance of someone feeling discriminated against, however, adding the other option besides the general “male” and “female” choice is a positive idea.
Another point that was brought up during the meeting was what name students would want to be called if they do not
prefer their legal named to be shared. An idea that was proposed was for students to go through Student Affairs, then professors would receive an e-mail stating the student’s legal name and what they would prefer to be called in class. This way, when teachers do the roll call, they will be previously informed and aware of that students’ specific needs and wishes.
“From a Student Affairs perspective, if you think about one student taking about 40 classes during their time here, we could [email professors] in a very limited set of circumstances, which I think would take care of some of the more extreme situations where someone would really feel uncomfortable. But to do it for every student who wanted to be called Jim instead of James, that would be impossible,” said Dr. David Herman, vice president for Student Affairs. “We do have safe zone, which helps identify with students and makes a safe place for
students to talk about these problems.”
“We do need to look at the policy and forms as we talk about these questions,” Horvath explained, “but exploring these questions is a good idea. How can we make it be a place where it’s safe for people to talk about ‘Here’s what I need,’ or ‘Here’s what you need to know me or reach me as a person.’ I think college, when people are with their peers and experimenting in a sense of, ‘What is it that I have discovered about myself?’ is where it all comes out.”
The important issues that were discussed in the meeting have not officially been approved. However, both the committee and Student Affairs are working to make this campus as equal as possible to all types of individuals.
“I was glad to have people come forward and want to get together and talk about this [these issues],” said Horvath. It’s important for all of us to think about things, like forms and policies, and to hear from people that are affected by those.”