University to release statement on gender identity

The statement is the result of conversations happening among university officials since 2013.

Jana Eller, Writer

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Updated: March 3 at 10:26 P.M.

University officials are releasing a statement on gender identity that will be released this upcoming week. The statement’s release comes amidst discussions of Biola’s partial Title IX exemption they filed in November 2014 and a student protest earlier in February against the exception.

Title IX states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial aid indirectly through students. It also states that any religious organization, if the grounds of Title IX are inconsistent with the university’s religious tenets, may be exempt.

While originally put into effect for college athletic teams, over the years, the Department of Education expanded the scope of its definition of sex discrimination. Most recently, it has come to include gender identity and expression.

REQUESTING EXEMPTION

Biola originally requested and was granted the exemption in the mid-’80s. In November 2014, Biola requested a supplement to the existing exemption, specifically referring to the gender identity of students in terms of housing, restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities. There has been minimal progress which Jerry Mackey, legal counsel, believes is because Biola is not affiliated with a specific denomination. The supplement has still not gone through.

In light of this, university leadership has been in the process of approving a full statement addressed to the Biola community. An official position paper was drafted and reviewed by Talbot Seminary, and finally adopted in May 2014, that states every Biola faculty member and student will be treated as their biological gender at birth. A summary of this paper can be found in the online employee handbook.

Once published, the statement will be added to the online student handbook as well as the employee handbook.

SPEAKING OUT

Erin Green, junior bible studies major and executive director of Biolans Equal Ground, speaks out directly against Biola’s exemption from Title IX.

“Our standpoint would be one in solidarity with the LGBTQ community, that every student on [Biola’s] campus deserves Title IX protection, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, gender, every student has the right be protected federally,” Green said.

The Chimes also contacted NakID Ministries to comment on the release of the gender identity statement, but received no response.

LOWER DEFAULT RATE

Michael Pierce, vice president of business and financial affairs, explains how Biola is under Title IX because the university indirectly receives federal funding through students. This comes in the form of loans and grants from students, who choose to direct it to Biola for their annual expenses.

“So if you come to Biola, and you apply for a stafford loan, and you decide you want that to come to Biola, when you designate that, the government then sends us that money and you get a loan, but it just goes right onto your bill and pays your tuition. You have the opportunity though to direct where that loan is going to go,” Pierce said.

Of all federal funding Biola students use to pay their tuition, 85 percent are loans that the students are responsible for paying back and the remaining 15 percent are grants. That 85 percent is returned to the taxpayers with interest, helping them make a profit.

“They should recognize that it's a loan that the student is responsible for paying back, and that the students who go to Christian schools, have a higher degree of integrity, as demonstrated by lower default rates in actually paying those loans back,” Pierce explains.

According to the Wall Street Journal in December 2015, Biola’s default rate is 2.2 percent, which is lower than other schools compared to Azusa Pacific University and California Baptist University, and significantly lower than an average public university, some of which are as high as 30 percent.

 

About the Writer
Jana Eller, Office Manager

As a senior intercultural studies major, Jana Eller loves stories, serving people and having lots of adventures. She can never pass up a good boba run and has a slight obsession with cows.

[email protected]

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University to release statement on gender identity