Magic City Equality applauds the University of North Dakota’s gender inclusion policy proposal, which would assure acceptance of expressed gender identity, preferred pronoun use campus-wide, and adherence to a person's expressed gender for on-campus housing.
Conversely, we condemn the North Dakota Catholic Conference's statement, asking parents to consider examining "the campus environment and whether it is conducive or hostile to not only the Catholic faith but also the truth about the human person. Bishops Kagan and Folda, along with Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski, somehow see UND's efforts toward inclusivity as something that should be feared. Bochenski stated in the Grand Forks Herald that "compelling speech and forcing ideology on our students, our children and our community is abhorrent." Acceptance and inclusivity are neither hostile, nor abhorrent.
The NDCC's January 10 letter, signed by Christopher Dodson, executive director and general counsel for the North Dakota Catholic Conference, outlined the proposed policy. “We recognize that everyone should be treated with respect and that the university has a role in facilitating a respectful learning environment,” Dodson writes. “However, this proposal goes beyond setting mere rules for administrative tasks.”
Dodson continues that “it embraces and demands acceptance of a particular ideology about gender and language that is contrary to Catholic teaching and infringes upon free speech and religious rights.” How does a person's gender infringe up on free speech and religious rights? Do they not accept all God's children? What of the children who are born intersex? The only ideology being questioned is made up and exclusionary to those who do not fit into their small-minded categories.
As stated in their letter, NDCC noted that “UND has not yet finalized the policy, but may do so soon.” While the NDCC asks people to contact UND to ask them to “reject this flawed proposal,” Magic City Equality instead asks you to reach out to UND to praise and encourage them to put this gender inclusion policy into motion.
The UND preisdent, Andrew Armacost, can be reached at andrew.armacost@UND.edu or at 701-777-2121.
Donna Smith, the Assistant VP for Equal Opportunity and Title IX, can be reached at donna.smith@UND.edu or 701-777-4172.
Jed Shivers, VP for Finance and Operations, can be reached at jed.shivers@UND.edu or 701-777-3511.
The Grand Forks City Council is set to meet today (Tuesday, January 18) at 5:30 p.m. The LGBGTQ2S+ community and allies are encouraged to attend this meeting to voice your opinion to Bochenski that you support UND's proposed gender inclusion policy. If you are not local and still wish to participate, the meeting will be live-streamed through the city's Facebook page.