‘Preferred Name and Gender Policy’ Passed at [“Catholic”] DePaul University
“Very much in line with DePaul’s [Catholic, Vincentian, and urban] mission” – University LGBTQA androgyne spokesperson Katy Weseman
February 18, 2016 | By Kimberly Scharfenberger | CardinalNewmanSociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4701/%e2%80%98Preferred-Name-and-Gender-Policy%e2%80%99-Passed-at-DePaul-University.aspx
A policy at DePaul University in Chicago was recently approved by the University’s executive leadership making it possible for students to choose preferred genders and names on college records, even though the policy contradicts Church teaching on human sexuality and statements made by Pope Francis and the U.S. bishops about the harms of embracing gender ideology.
“DePaul students are now able to designate their preferred identity thanks to a new policy aimed largely at improving inclusion for those who are gender nonconforming,” the student newspaper The DePaulia reported last week.
The Cardinal Newman Society first reported on the policy in December when it was being proposed to a joint council of executive leadership. The council, made up of University President Father Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., deans and other administrators, passed the policy, according to the DePaulia.
The University and Fr. Holtschneider’s office were contacted to comment on Catholic identity conflicts raised by the policy, but no response was received by time of publication.
“It is an exciting day at DePaul!” the University’s Office of LGBTQA Student Services celebrated last week on a Facebook page post. “The Student Preferred Name and Gender policy is live! This is a huge move toward inclusion for DePaul students who identify as trans and non-binary though we recognize that more work is always needed.”
The new policy allows students to choose their preferred names and genders through “Campus Connect,” an online portal for students, faculty and staff that provides access to email, course management systems, class schedules and other University records. Students’ preferred “identities” will reportedly be reflected in class rosters, directories, official transcripts and diplomas.
The details of the policy can be found on DePaul’s LGBTQA Student Services web page under “Trans, Non-binary, Asexual and Bisexual Resources.” Students can add a preferred name and gender to their Campus Connect profiles, or the gender marker can be changed to “unspecified” if the student wishes.
The policy was “spearheaded” by DePaul’s LGBTQA student services coordinator, Katy Weseman, who told the DePaulia that this policy “is one piece of the puzzle of best practices around trans inclusion.” Weseman was hired as DePaul’s first full-time LGBTQA student services coordinator in 2012.
Other initiatives supported by LGBTQA Student Services include a mentorship program called Queer Peers, an official student organization called Trans*(formation) DePaul and a discussion group called “Gender ?” which provides “a trans, non-binary, gender queer, and gender non-conforming focused space.”
DePaul’s LGBTQA Student Services is part of the DePaul Center for Identity, Inclusion and Social Change which “promotes artistic expression and intellectual inquiry that challenges students to explore all aspects of their identity,” according to their web page.
“We could always have more gender-inclusive restrooms, which is a huge thing, and something we could certainly be better at,” Weseman told the DePaulia. She reportedly cited “gender-inclusive housing” as another step the University should take towards inclusiveness.
In another article on the policy, Weseman told the DePaulia that this change would be “[v]ery much in line with DePaul’s [‘Catholic, Vincentian, and urban’] mission” because “part of honoring a person’s human dignity is honoring and respecting how they identify and how they refer to themselves.”
The Church [until recently] has been consistently clear in its teaching that masculinity and femininity — “being man” or “being woman” — are part of God’s creation and should be respected as such.