University will end draft work on gender inclusion policy

January 21, 2022 GMT

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The University of North Dakota plans to end its work on a policy for gender inclusion and has no plans to implement it.

The policy that was being drafted required use of a transgender person’s preferred pronouns and the use of locker rooms, bathrooms and other living facilities that align with a person’s gender identity.

The policy was recently criticized by the North Dakota Catholic Conference, in a letter it sent to Catholic high school administrators with a request to distribute it to the parents of students.

The conference’s letter, sent on behalf of Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck and Bishop John Folda of Fargo, asks that parents “examine whether it is conducive or hostile to not only the Catholic faith but also the truth about the human person.”

The letter written by Catholic Conference Executive Director Christopher Dodson said the school’s proposed policy “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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In a statement Friday, UND President Andrew Armacost said “when speech becomes the source of discrimination or harassment, existing UND policies offer protections to all members of our campus, including in the areas of gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Armacost says the decision should not signal a lessening of the support UND shows to every member of the campus community.

“As a result of the recent discussions and because existing policies already provide equal opportunity protections to all of our campus members, UND will cease its work on this draft policy and will not implement it,” Armacost said in his statement.