The Trans Task Force
The Trans Task Force was created in Fall 2016 as part of PLU’s response to the Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students released by the Department of Justice and Department of Education in May 2016. This group’s mission is to create a campus that is inclusive and welcoming of all students, regardless of gender identity, and to ensure that students who identify as trans have the resources and support necessary to persist and succeed.
The Trans Task Force meets 2-3 times each semester and is coordinated by Angie Hambrick, Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability, and Lace Smith, Associate Vice President of Marketing & communications. Members have included faculty and staff representatives from Residential Life, Career Connections, the Health and Counseling Centers, Marketing and Communications, the Registrar’s Office, Campus Ministry, and Student Rights and Responsibilities, as well as student leaders from ASPLU, RHA, The Diversity Center, PRISM, and SAAC.
The initial goals of the Trans Task Force were to:
- Assess PLU’s current compliance with items outlined in the Dear Colleague Letter as well as the campus climate regarding gender variance.
- Develop a plan to fill any gaps in compliance that are identified and to continue to improve campus climate.
- Coordinate with offices and departments that are part of this plan to insure execution and assessment.
After completing the assessment, the following priorities emerged:
- Provide a centralized place for community members to access resources and information.
- Create a streamlined and clear process for changing names and indicating pronouns on forms and within university documentation processes.
- Develop and deliver training for faculty, staff and students regarding LGBTQ+ identities and issues.
- Support the development of more LGBTQ+ awareness and educational programs.
To date, the Trans Task Force has accomplished the following:
- Four trainings facilitated by Dr. Patricia Fawver (a sexologist specializing in the care of trans individuals) and featuring a panel of trans individuals and their loved ones were offered to staff. Approximately 100 staff members attended.
- A comprehensive resource webpage was created by the Division of Marketing and Communications.
- Transgender Day of Remembrance was co-hosted by the Center for Gender Equity and the Gender Alliance of the South Sound in November 2016, bringing together over 50 Tacoma and PLU community members.
- Sharps containers were installed in the Anderson University Center and residence halls (Harstad, Hong, Kreidler, Ordal, Stuen, and Hinderlie.)
- A resource sharing listserv was created.
- A group for trans students began meeting, coordinated, and supported by members of the Trans Task Force.
- A Lavender graduation ceremony will be held this year within the Spirit of Diversity Awards, and a Lavender Wing in Ordal Hall–a Gender Inclusive Wing and also a Residential Learning Community focused on the exploration and understanding of LGBTQ+ identities and experiences.
- Initial conversations have taken place to revive the Queer Ally Network and training.
- Continuing projects include expanding training opportunities, publicizing the resources webpage, streamlining name change processes, and instituting a policy that all newly constructed or significantly renovated buildings will include gender-inclusive restrooms.