In a case with religious liberty implications for Catholic colleges, a female student who is reportedly “undergoing ‘an extensive process’ of transition from ‘female to male’” is demanding that the small Christian college she attends allow her to live in an all-male dorm, according to The Daily Caller.
The student reportedly filed a complaint with the Department of Education alleging that George Fox University in Oregon is violating Title IX by refusing her request.
The University, which has only single-sex dorms, issued a statement saying they have offered support to the student and refer to the student using only male pronouns out of respect for her wishes. The University also pointed out that the student has not yet legally changed genders.
“Both religious and non-religious universities are struggling with appropriate ways to support their transgender students,” the University said in a statement on its website. “While the university did not grant his request to live on campus with males, the student was not denied on-campus housing. He was offered the option of an on-campus single apartment with a commitment from Student Life to ensuring he stayed socially connected to the community.”
The Title IX claim seeks to force the Christian University to allow the female student to live in a male dorm after her gender is legally changed.
“Title IX does not have a religious exemption for housing discrimination,” reportedly said the student’s lawyer Paul Southwick. “It has a religious exemption for admissions, but that is not implicated here. The Oregon Equality Act also protects Jayce from discrimination in housing and public accommodations on the basis of his gender identity.”
“George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single sex because of our theological commitments,” stated the Christian institution. “The university has researched the student’s attorney’s legal claims and believes they are without merit, especially given the religious nature of the university.”
In recent years, the religious freedom of Christian institutions has come under assault from federal actions like the HHS mandate; the overreach of the National Labor Relations Board which has found religiously-affiliated colleges to be insufficiently religious to be exempt from government oversight; an IRS proposal that would adopt a framework for 501(c)(3) groups effectually hindering non-profits’ role in encouraging civic learning; and the Department of Justice which sought in the Hosanna-Tabor case to strip Christian schools of the right to hire and fire for mission.
Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.