U of North Dakota proposes sweeping ‘gender inclusion’ policy that would house students according to gender 'identity'

The University of North Dakota is considering a policy change that would inflict 'gender inclusion' mandates upon nearly every aspect of university life.

Among other changes, the policy allow biologically male students to room with females per their 'gender identity.'

The University of North Dakota is weighing a sweeping policy change that would impose “gender inclusion” mandates on nearly every facet of university life, including housing.

The pending policy document — originated in June and last revised in September — notes that the university prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex, including gender identity and gender expression.” Therefore, the policy serves as a supplement to the university’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, as well as its Title IX and Sexual Violence Policy.

University of North Dakota communications director David Dodds told Campus Reform that the policy has completed its comment period and has been forwarded to the school’s Executive Council for further discussion.

The university would allow members to “specify the pronouns and other gendered personal references used to refer to them.” The university would then utilize these references — “except as legally or administratively required.”

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For housing, students would therefore be allowed to stay in “housing consistent with their gender identity and expression” — without a requirement that transgender students stay in single-occupancy accommodations. 

Campus Reform asked the University of North Dakota whether female students would be able to opt out of rooming with a biologically male student. Dodds said that “UND Housing will continue to work with all students to find living arrangements that are best fit for each student, regardless of reason.”

The policy document does suggest that students uncomfortable with living arrangements can voluntarily request single-occupancy rooms, which will be provided if there are enough single rooms left, adding "The regular single-occupancy rate will be charged."

For athletics, the policy merely notes that the school “maintains practices consistent with NCAA guidelines regarding participation of student athletes.”

According to the NCAA’s Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation, “trans female” students — referring to those who “transition” from male to female — are permitted to play on women’s teams following one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.

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For student activities, the policy would mandate that all recognized student organizations — including fraternities and sororities — “must adhere to the University's policies, including nondiscrimination policies.” 

One university employee — who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions — told Campus Reform that the policy will “chill free speech on campus.”

The aforementioned employee fears that the policy will be implemented, saying “It will be 'accepted' on campus insofar as any opposition to the policy would immediately be labeled as offensive and harmful by people in positions of authority on campus.”

Campus Reform asked the University of North Dakota whether religious student organizations would be exempt from this point. Dodds explained that “failure to comply with the gender inclusion policy does not, in and of itself, lead to any disciplinary action.”

Instead, breaking the rule would simply be a violation of "other policies." It is not clear what difference this makes, if any, as far as potential for disciplinary action.

"Failure to follow the policy would be a violation of UND’s other policies that address protected class discrimination and harassment, only if the conduct is found to constitute discrimination or harassment, as defined by those other policies," Dodds clarified. "The definitions in those policies follow federal and state law and provide protections against religious discrimination and harassment, as well.”

University of North Dakota assistant vice president of equal opportunity Donna Smith and special projects assistant Jennifer Rogers approved the document; Campus Reform has contacted both individuals for comment.