Officials make promise to be gender inclusive

Eden Cohen, Managing Editor

Pitt-Oakland officials and former Pitt-Johnstown student Seamus Johnston gave a joint statement March 29 saying that officials will strive to make the university more inclusive to gender identity, according to WJAC-TV.

The statement was followed by the news that Johnston’s lawsuit against the university had been settled.

Johnston pressed charges against the university for sex discrimination in 2013. He had received citations in 2011 for using the men’s locker room because he was born a female.

In 2012, he was expelled from Pitt-Johnstown for exhibiting disorderly, lewd or indecent behavior, for not complying with university official directions and entering a university building unauthorized.

Johnston’s case was dismissed in 2015 on the basis that sex discrimination applied to one’s biological sex, not their gender identity.

Pitt officials said they are working to make the university more inclusive by forming a working group this month.

The group is to include students, faculty and staff, and is to consult with Rainbow Alliance members, who are a Pitt-Oakland special interest group for diverse sexual and gender identities.

“The working group will help continue the momentum at the university in the direction of inclusiveness,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Pamela Connelly said.

On the University of Pittsburgh Human Resources website, it says that students, faculty and staff are welcome to use restrooms for their gender identities.

The website also provides instruction on navigating transgender people’s desired names and pronouns.