SMU President's Statement on Transgender Guidance Letter

February 24, 2017

Dear SMU Community,

As you may have heard, President Trump's administration recently rescinded a "Dear Colleague Letter" that had been issued by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education last year regarding the inclusion of transgender students in schools.

Much of the attention on the previous "Dear Colleague Letter" has focused on restroom usage, but the document also included far-reaching guidance to make sure transgender students are fully included and welcomed at their schools, colleges, and universities.

I am writing to affirm the University's unwavering commitment to create a safe and respectful environment for all students, regardless of their gender identity or expression.

Our commitment comes from our Principles of Community and our values of inclusion, diversity, and equity that we aspire to live every day. We will continue to work together to create an inclusive and welcoming environment, including availability of gender inclusive bathrooms, the preferred first name policy, our Non-Discrimination Policy that states that we do not tolerate discrimination based on gender and gender identity, and ongoing discussions about creating an inclusive learning environment and community.

I encourage you to learn more by viewing the Pride Committee's webpage, which includes resources for the University community.

Thank you, and please contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sharon C. Diaz, PhD (hc)

President and Chief Executive Officer

Samuel Merritt University

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