James Maher

The University of Pittsburgh has announced plans to apply a new gender identity anti-discrimination plan to its housing facilities, raising eyebrows and prompting a family advocacy organization to lodge a protest with school officials.

Officials with the American Family Association of Pennsylvania told WND they had sent protest faxes to Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Provost James Maher about the new school practice, which appears to open up women’s dorms to those who are physically male but say they are female, and vice versa.

“Student safety should be utmost in the minds of the University of Pittsburgh and other schools,” said Diane Gramley, president of the organization. “The addition of ‘gender identity’ to their policies is anti-safety. This policy change opens the door for sexual assault of female students and lawsuits from concerned parents and students.”

She said the fax to Nordenberg and Maher said, in part, “Since this policy also affects housing, what is to prevent a male who says he believes he’s ‘really a female’ from requesting and obtaining housing in the women’s dormitory? This policy indicates that will be acceptable and, additionally, this ‘man who thinks he is a woman’ will be permitted to show and use the restroom in the women’s dormitory.”

University officials declined comment to WND on the issue, and Gramley said she had not gotten a response to her inquiry to the school.

“Increasingly we see schools such as the University of Pittsburgh become agents of social change. This attempt to validate the lifestyle of the gender confused places their other students at risk. Why can’t the institutions of higher education stay within their academic goals and not seek to be agents of political correctness?” she asked.

The announcement about the university’s efforts to broaden its anti-discrimination policies appeared in a report by the Associated Press, which quoted a university spokesman saying the new policy will apply to university housing assignments.

The report also quoted a vice president for the school’s Rainbow Alliance, an advocacy organization for homosexual students and others with alternative lifestyles.

Rainbow Alliance vice president Kelly Cobern told the reporters the policy is intended to benefit those whose wardrobe or appearance “isn’t what most people would expect of their sex.”

The school’s website diversity page boasts, “Within the Department of Residence Life at the University of Pittsburgh, we acknowledge that human difference takes many forms in the world including factors such as: race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, spiritual tradition, political affiliation, age, and ability. We recognize that the knowledge we gain from interacting with and learning from one another has both educational and personal value. This knowledge will move our students and staff toward acceptance of others.”

However, such “acceptance” does have limits, the school confirmed, for the next statement on its website said:

We will not tolerate any form of behavior pertaining to racism, sexism, bigotry, harassment, intimidation, threat, or abuse, whether verbal or written, physical or psychological, direct or implied.”

Regarding its goals for students’ residential life experiences, the school said, “Resident Life is committed to providing you with a safe, comfortable, diverse, student centered living environment that promotes personal and academic success.”

“If I had a student at the University of Pittsburgh or any of the satellite campuses, I would be very concerned,” Gramley told WND. “This could allow a man to room with young ladies, use a women’s restroom. It boggles the mind why a university would think that’s okay.”

“How could a responsible citizen believe that maintaining the highest quality of life means allowing men who think they are women to live in the women’s dormitory, use the women’s restroom and shower with female students? How will this provide a safe and comfortable living environment?” the organization asked.

“The AFA of PA is urging the University of Pittsburgh to remove ‘gender identity’ from its policy and provide a safe living environment for their female students,” Gramley said.

WND previously has reported on the extended battle in Montgomery County, Md., where a similar gender identity anti-discrimination plan was adopted by the government council.

Members of the community organized the Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government to challenged the law through referendum, only to have the state’s highest court change the number of petition signatures required for the referendum after the fact.


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