Sunday, July 13, 2014

Christian College Gets Title IX Religious Exemption For Housing Of Transgender Students

George Fox University, a Christian University with Quaker roots, reports that on May 23 the U.S. Department of Education granted it a religious exemption from the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972 relating to non-discrimination in housing and facilities. The Oregon-based school says it applied for the exemption "to preserve its right to draw on its religious convictions to handle situations related to students experiencing gender identity issues."  It adds that other colleges have received similar exemptions in the past.

The facts need to be pieced together from the University's posting, an article last Friday in PQ Monthly and an earlier report by PQ Monthly.  Apparently an African-American transgender student, who is entering his junior year, was living in female-only campus housing when the student began the medical, social and legal gender transition.  Last April the student, "Jayce M." requested to move from female-only on-campus housing to male-only on-campus housing. The University denied the request, but presented the option of living off campus with other males (conditioned on completing name and gender changes on his driver's license and Social Security records) or living on campus in a single room.

As Jayce M prepared to appeal the school's denial of male on-campus housing to the Department of Education as a violation of Title IX's anti-discrimination provisions, the school applied for the Title IX exemption and was granted it in an unusually speedy two-months. On the basis of the newly-granted exemption the Department of Education earlier this month closed Jayce M's appeal. His lawyer says that they now plan to appeal the Department of Education's ruling.