Jul 18, 2014 10:22 AM EDT
George Fox University To Revise Policy On Transgender Students, Housing
George Fox University announced Thursday that it is altering its policy on transgender students and housing after facing criticism, Inside Higher Ed reported.
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The Christ-centered college initially barred transgender students from living on campus with the gender with which they identify. The new policy would open housing to transgender students who have had gender reassignment surgery.
"Providing appropriate housing for transgender students continues to be a challenge at religious and non-religious institutions across the country," school officials said in a statement. "But George Fox is very conscious of the need to approach difficult questions with grace, understanding and an abiding love for our students, faculty and staff."
However, presurgical transgender students will not be entitled to regular housing.
"Common residence halls are single-sex, defined anatomically. We are committed to residential access, and it is consistent with our beliefs and our community values that a presurgical transgendered person will be provided on-campus housing in appropriate alternative housing either on or off campus," George Fox University's new policy states.
However, a lawyer representing Jayce Marcus -- a transgender student challenging George Fox's policies, said the policy shift did not resolve his concerns.
"If George Fox University is drawing the line at gender reassignment surgery, that is not the line drawn by state and federal law. Gender identity protections do not extend only to those individuals who can afford, or who are ready, for gender reassignment surgery," he said. "And how would George Fox police anatomy?"
Southwick added that most transgender people do not get surgery.
In April, Marcus said the Christian university discriminated against him when it refused to let him live in men's dormitories.
School officials refuted those claims and argued that allowing him to live in on-campus housing would interfere with the school's efforts to "be a Christ-centered community." They said Christian theology makes it necessary for their residential facilities to be single gender.