University of South Alabama allows men in women’s bathrooms starting today
MOBILE, Ala. — The University of South Alabama on Monday implemented a campus-wide policy allowing students, faculty and staff to use restroom facilities that align with their “gender identity,” rather than their sex, in compliance with the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom directive.
USA faculty and students recently received an email from Krista Harrell, the school’s Title IX coordinator, announcing the decision.
“The University of South Alabama allows individuals to use the restroom or changing facility that is consistent with their gender identity,” Harrell wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Christian Post.
“This is in compliance with Title IX guidance recently issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice,” the email continued. “This directive applies to all University of South Alabama employees, students, staff, and visitors. It also applies to all University of South Alabama properties, including the main campus, the health system and the satellite campuses.”
The policy goes into effect Monday, August 15th, but students who no longer want to attend the school this semester as a result of the announcement are able to “get a 100 percent refund between Aug. 16-22 on tuition and fees” and a “100 percent refund” for housing and meal plans “prior to the first day of class.”
The university’s announcement comes just days after the Alabama Attorney General encouraged state-funded schools to disregard President Barack Obama’s transgender bathroom order until the issue works its way through the federal court system.
Alabama and a coalition of 13 states have filed a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court against the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for promoting a federal directive that local schools must allow transgender access to campus restrooms or face a loss of federal funds.
The filing included an affidavit from the Alabama Department of Education detailing the extensive federal funds at risk because of the “illegal order” and the impact the loss of such funds would have on Alabama school children.
“On May 26, I wrote a letter to the State Board of Education advising Alabama educators to ignore the May 13 federal guidance letter which attempts to change the law by redefining a student’s sex in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to mean ‘gender identity,’” Attorney General Strange told Yellowhammer in a statement. “I continue to stand behind my advice to state schools not to follow the Obama administration’s transgender guidance until the issue is settled in federal court… We hope to receive a decision soon.”
Strange noted that the U.S. Supreme Court recently stayed (put a hold on) a lower federal court order that would have forced a Virginia high school “to allow transgender access to school restrooms based on gender preference.” Alabamians opposed to the similar mandate issued by the Obama administration see the ruling as a reason for optimism.
“This is a positive development and an indication that the U.S. Supreme Court could eventually overturn the Obama administration’s order,” said Attorney General Strange. “I believe Alabama and the other states will ultimately prevail in federal court against the new restroom order because federal law allows schools to have separate facilities based on the ‘sex’ of the individual, not their gender preference.”
Four Alabama congressmen have also signed on to a letter demanding President Barack Obama walk back his effort to coerce all public schools around the country to offer gender-neutral bathrooms.
The decision, which the administration claims “gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies,” will affect all of Alabama’s 1,637 public schools that service almost 745,000 children.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
President Obama defended his plan, telling BuzzFeed News it is society’s duty to protect vulnerable students.
“We’re talking about kids, and anybody who’s been in school, been in high school, who’s been a parent, I think should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority — kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender — are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially they are vulnerable,” Obama said. “I think that it is part of our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved, and that they’re protected and that their dignity is affirmed.”
(h/t The Christian Post)