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restrooms, a few find neither

appropriate. The IU Southeast

campus provides only four gender-

neutral restrooms on campus; this

should be expanded.”

Colleges like IU Southeast, which

have on- campus housing available

to students, need to pay particular

attention to the needs of transgender

students. Amanda Stonecipher,

the director of Residence Life and

Housing at IU Southeast, is here to

help. “We have about 400 students

living on campus. We are lucky

because we have such a tight-knit

community here, and we really get

to know our students,” she said.

Stonecipher said that the most

important aspect of addressing

transgender students’ needs is

communication and honesty. “We

validate and respect all student

needs, whether it be from a person

who identifies as LGBTQIAA or not,

but we need open communication to

make that possible.”

IU Southeast is taking further

steps towards making a student

who identifies as transgender feel

as comfortable as possible when

applying for student housing.

The housing application now has

a transgender option, which is

marked with an asterisk, to assure

the student that his or her needs

will be met. The addendum reads:

“Residence Life and Housing

will contact you if you identify as

transgender so we can provide you

with the best possible placement.”

This is a positive step towards

making what could be a daunting

process for transgender students

easier and more inclusive. The

application also asks for the

student’s preferred name, which is

not an option just for transgender

students, but is definitely a boon

to those that may be transitioning

and would like to be called by a

name that more accurately describes

their gender expression. Preferred

names should also be honored in the

classroom by professors for this very

reason.

Housing is only one challenge that

people who identify as transgender

or transsexual may have to

overcome when on campus. Vice

Chancellor of Student Affairs Jason

Meriwether emphasizes that latent

bias can be just as harmful as overt

discrimination. He emphasizes

that all staff members should be

conscious of how their attitudes,

actions, and language can contribute

to campus culture. “It’s not about

the policies – it’s about the people,”

he said. His vision for the campus

is to make sure all students feel

comfortable. “I want this campus to

be one place that a student’s identity

will not be antagonized,” he said.

Vice Chancellor Meriwether noted

that administration is looking into

adding more unisex bathrooms on

campus.

In addition, one of Vice Chancellor

Meriwether’s top priorities is

expanding the Safe Zone program on

campus. This program was created

purely to support LGBTQIAA

students; the purpose is to let these

students know that they have a safe

place or person to talk to about

things they may be frightened or

uncomfortable sharing in another

setting. Basically, these safe zones

indicate that a student can be his or

herself. Once they recive training,

members receive a sticker they can

place on their door to let students

know they are safe and supported.

Thankfully, IU Southeast already

boasts a considerable number of

faculty and staff who have taken the

extra steps to be qualified as a safe

zone member. As Vice Chancellor

Meriwether stressed, latent bias is

a problem, but it can be combated

with symbols of support, such as the

Safe Zone stickers. These stickers

discreetly but firmly reassure

students that they have allies. The

program offers training in sensitivity

to students, faculty and staff.

If any faculty member should have

a student that they think could

benefit from therapy, free counseling

services are available to all students,

and the director of Personal

Counseling, Dr. Michael Day, is

Safe Zone certified. IU Southeast is

making positive progress to ensure

that all students feel comfortable

while on campus. There is always

more work to be done, though, and

faculty members are encouraged

to seek Safe Zone training, as well

as consider other ways they can

contribute to the effort.

Rather than

assume, faculty

and staffwill

findmost

transgender

students quite

open to being

asked for their

preferred

pronouns.

-

Daiyu Hurst, IU Southeast

student