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EU Handbook Recently Edited

All EU students are expected to read and abide by the student handbook upon matriculation, in addition to their respective supplements—one for residential CAS students, another for students of CCGPS. According to Student Development’s page on EU’s website, the handbook (which presumably includes its supplements) will be changed as the community at Eastern changes. The page communicates that “when significant content is revised, changes will be communicated through Student Development’s newsletter, ‘The Waterwheel,’ or EU email accounts.”

The last edition, according to Student Development’s page, was made on Sep. 4, 2014. A few simple keystrokes reveal that this is true for the main body of the student handbook and the CCGPS supplement. Additionally, the sexual discrimination policy was edited most recently just a week after that. But of all the available links on the page, the most recently updated is the residential supplement, which was last updated on Jan. 15, 2015. There is a discrepancy between what the website says and what its metadata reveals. Moreover, no emails were sent notifying students of the edition, nor were there any publications of The Waterwheel that addressed the change.

Page 13 of the supplement states, "While all residence halls have both male and female housing opportunities within them, there are separate floors/areas for males and females, referring to the anatomical sex of the student."eastern.edu | The Waltonian

Page 13 of the supplement states, “While all residence halls have both male and female housing opportunities within them, there are separate floors/areas for males and females, referring to the anatomical sex of the student.”

A person by the pseudonym, “by lin,” posted a blog post from the EU-based “La Aperitif” alleging that what was added was the following sentence in the housing policy section of the residential supplement (pg 13): “While all residence halls have both male and female housing opportunities within them, there are separate floors/areas for males and females, referring to the anatomical sex of the student.” Bettie Ann Brigham confirmed this. She stressed that there was technically no “change” in policy, just a clarification of an existing practice. Brigham argues that this is not a significant change in the handbook and therefore did not deserve any announcement.

“We make small changes in the handbook all the time to clarify policies,” Brigham said, “We want it to be clear that that’s how Eastern defines [gender]….We’ve always known what male/female means.” However, Brigham also said that, “We [as a society] don’t really know what it means to be male or female.” In further conversation with Brigham, she stated that there could be further clarification of policy as clarification becomes necessary.

“by lin” is confident that “EU does not ask anyone about their genitalia,” but Brigham adds that students are expected to be honest with the university about the state of their genitalia on official EU documents. One might ask, “What if a person has legal proof that they are not the gender they are being treated as?” In response, Brigham said “Should it come to our attention that someone did not answer a question honestly, say a male student discovers their roommate is an anatomical female, then we might need to ask about anatomical sex.” Nonetheless, “by lin” insisted that “the clarification promotes the stereotyping of people’s bodies and, more specifically, the policing of transgender people’s bodies.”

Brigham encourages students and faculty to participate in the Task Force on Human Sexuality events, which Dr. Duffett assembled because of the reaction of alumni and students to his signing of a letter seeking to discriminate against LGBT people in hiring. “by lin” argues that this amended policy, like Duffett’s petition last summer, also counts as discrimination against LGBT people in housing. When asked about how the administration would respond to student action to change the policy, Brigham stated that “students can propose anything they want to propose….some things prevail, some things don’t.”

Following up with the pseudonymous author, they said that they are a member of the EU community. When asked why they felt the need to expose this information, they replied, “I’m just worried about the state of our school. When administrations aren’t transparent with the community impacted by the policies they make, it can only lead to an unhealthy state of affairs for everyone.”

Sources:Eastern.edu, Laaperitif.tumblr.com

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