This message was emailed to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 23 by University administrators Rogan Kersh, Penny Rue and Barbee Oakes:
Dear Wake Forest students, faculty and staff:
We have reviewed new guidance from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice regarding transgender students. This Dear Colleague Letter rolled back significant guidance issued last May delineating institutional responsibility to treat trans students according to their gender identity.
On behalf of Wake Forest University, we are in full support of our transgender community. We invite you to read the thoughtful message, prepared by LGBTQ Center Director Angela Mazaris and Program Coordinator Kayla Lisenby, which affirms our values and support for all people. We are fortunate to have such caring leadership in our LGBTQ Center, which has been at the forefront of providing education, advocacy, and support to the campus community around issues of gender identity and sexual orientation since its inception in 2011.
In addition, our Transgender Policies Workgroup formed last fall aims to ensure that Wake Forest provides the best possible experience of inclusion for trans members of our community – students, faculty, staff, and visitors – and it will continue to do so. The recently released Dear Colleague Letter does nothing to change our steadfast commitment to helping create a safe and supportive educational and work environment for trans students and colleagues. Leaders across the University share our affirmation.
Now is the time to reach out and provide support to members of our transgender community as we seek to create an inclusive, welcoming and supportive campus. Our LGBTQ Center, Counseling Center, Student Health, Dean of Students Office, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Chaplain’s Office and many other campus resources are all ready and eager to help students navigate the shifting legal landscape and claim their place here at Wake.
Rogan Kersh, Provost
Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life
Barbee Oakes, Chief Diversity Officer