Affirming protection for transgender students and other Columbia community members

At a time when the federal government has withdrawn important protections for transgender students, it is ever more important to reiterate Columbia’s own policy: All students, faculty, staff and visitors should use whichever restroom is most consistent with their gender identity.

February 24, 2017

For many transgender and gender non-binary individuals, choosing which bathroom to enter is neither easy nor obvious. Each can present distinct concerns that most others do not face when going to the restroom.
Against this backdrop, the federal policy change has generated heightened concern among LGBTQ+ members of our own community as well as among allies and advocates both at Columbia and across the country.  

For this reason, we will underscore Columbia’s commitment to protecting restroom access by posting temporary signs around campus that reiterate our policy. A map of gender-neutral restrooms is accessible on the University home page under "maps" and on the University Life app under campus services.  

Because the now-withdrawn federal guidance also addressed other issues of importance for transgender students, I want to reiterate, too, that Columbia is fully committed to maintaining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 Inclusion and Belonging webpage to learn more. For more information on the federal policy changes, The National Center for Transgender Equality has produced a helpful FAQ on the Withdrawal of Federal Guidance for Transgender Students (PDF).
At a time when many hard-won protections and policies are under scrutiny and challenge, our diversity is among our important - indeed, fundamental - institutional values, as our Nondiscrimination Policy affirms.
With a continuing commitment to all in our University community.
Suzanne B. Goldberg
Executive Vice President for University Life