Affirming Protection for Columbia’s Transgender Students, Faculty and Staff

October 23, 2018

In light of recent news reports about a proposed federal policy that would restrict the rights of transgender individuals, it is important that we reiterate Columbia's commitment to our transgender and gender non-binary students, faculty, staff and other community members. 

The proposal, as reported by The New York Times, would define “sex” as male or female, unchangeable and determined by a person’s genitals at birth, or a genetic test in disputed cases.  This change, which has not been formally announced or adopted, would reportedly apply to Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex and has been described by the Times as “essentially eradicating federal recognition” of transgender individuals.

We will be watching these developments closely and will address them as needed going forward.  For now, I want to remind all in our community that Columbia specifically prohibits discrimination based on gender identity as well as sex, consistent with New York City and State law and our own institutional values.

This commitment includes our restroom policy – made clear on signs across the University – that everyone on campus should use whichever restroom is most consistent with their gender identity.  A map of gender-neutral restrooms is accessible on the University home page and on the University Life app under campus services.  

Columbia is also fully committed to maintaining our “preferred name” option for CUID cards and to prohibiting discrimination against transgender students in all aspects of campus life, from housing to classrooms to extracurricular activities.

There are many resources and services available to LGBTQ+ students and allies at Columbia. Please visit the University Life website (Inclusion and Belonging) to learn more. 
With a continuing commitment to all in our University community,

Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg 
Executive Vice President for University Life
Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law