As the spring semester begins, the university continues to invest resources and adopt policies that support a welcoming and safe environment for all students. Over the past several semesters, the university has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the living and learning environments for trans students. Below are just a few of the accomplishments and activities to date:
Currently, there are more than 200 gender-inclusive, single-user restrooms on campus, and more are being constructed or converted in the coming semesters. More details are available here.
A cross-campus and multi-departmental restroom and bathroom working group exists to address issues related to restroom access and signage. Working group members have created a FAQ about restrooms and campus policy and regularly conduct trainings for campus departments and units.
Events and Research
The Provost’s Office, in conjunction with the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies department created a trans-focused speaker series during fall 2016 and spring 2017. Speakers included Talia Bettcher, micha cardenas, C. Riley Snorton and Ryka Aoki. The Stonewall Center also offers a steady list of events of interest, as well as a list of LGBTQ+ courses offered each semester throughout the Five Colleges.
The campus’s Title IX website has been updated to incorporate student feedback and demonstrate support for trans victims/survivors.
A streamlined name and gender marker change process has been created to assist students in changing their names and gender markers in the academic database and registrar system.
The Stonewall Center has developed an FAQ and resources about asking and respecting pronouns, including suggestions for faculty members that are being shared in presentations to academic departments. [link forthcoming]
The UMass Common App now gives applicants the ability to indicate their gender identity. The options are agender, androgyne, demigender, genderqueer, man, questioning, trans man, trans woman and woman. Applicants can choose more than one option.
The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health has a clinical social worker with expertise in trans student experiences on staff and is searching for a full-time clinical social worker with expertise in issues related to diversity and inclusion to add to its staff. The center also offers individual and group therapy to all students.
University Health Services has designated Cindy Hildebrand, R.N., as their point person on trans issues and as the UHS diversity patient advocate. She is available to assist any patient with questions related to medical care and gender or gender identity, including questions about hormone management and injections and about transitioning. UHS has created a section of their website to outline all the trans health benefits and support students can receive through their programs.
Campus Climate Survey
The campus’s climate survey was the first campus-wide climate survey at UMass to be trans-inclusive, both in asking how people identify and how trans people might experience harassment and discrimination. The survey received broad support across campus, including from the Stonewall Center, which encouraged LGBTQIA+ students to take the survey. Ultimately, the survey elicited an outstanding response rate of 41.4 perent (the national average for similar campuses is 29 percent). The rich data and findings from the survey will be used to inform campus practices related to diversity and inclusion moving forward.