Statement issued by West Virginia University on erroneous claims regarding the University’s stance on some Title IX enforcement:
Several conservative websites have carried posts recently claiming that West Virginia University has interpreted federal Title IX regulations to require that students must refer to individuals by the pronouns that represent their gender identity.
This is not, nor has it ever been, accurate. In fact, WVU has done the following:
- WVU has not suggested nor advised that it is a violation of Title IX to refer to someone by a pronoun that does not represent their gender identity. To claim otherwise is a misrepresentation of both Title IX, and WVU guidance.
- WVU has offered resources to the campus community about ways to be sensitive to those who self-identify as a gender other than their birth gender.
- The particular document was used in suggesting that WVU has such a requirement is one of those resources. It comes from The National Center for Transgender Equality. (http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/schools).
- It is accurate that a “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education points out that Title IX investigations “have been resolved … with agreements committing that school staff and contractors will use pronouns and names consistent with a transgender student’s gender identity.” However, note that letter specifically refers to officials (“staff and contractors”) and not students.
West Virginia University is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of its students, faculty and staff. It is a place where open inquiry is supported and debate of the issues of the day encouraged. However, West Virginia University also is committed to ensuring the facts reported of all inquiries and debates are fair and accurate.
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