Neutrality wins: University adapts mission statement and statement of non discrimination

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Neutrality wins: University adapts mission statement and statement of non discrimination

Julia de la Parra, Contributing Writer

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On  Feb. 5, University President John Bravman sent an email announcing a change to the University’s mission statement and statement of nondiscrimination. The revised mission statement eliminates gender specificity, no longer stating  that “Bucknell educates men and women,” but instead, “Bucknell educates students.” The latter has been broadened to now prohibit gender expression as a basis for discrimination. Bravman called these actions “small steps in a long journey toward becoming the next best version of ourselves.”

Director of the Office of LGBTQ Awareness Bill McCoy shed some light on what this means for the campus as a whole.

In this moment, it represents action–a move from passive allyhood to understanding the importance of language and taking action towards inclusivity. This change represents that Bucknell will take seriously an institutional critique of cisnormativity [the assumption that everyone identifies with the gender with which they are born],”  McCoy said.

“[I don’t] think it’s fair to expect people to identify as one sex or the other. I think it is very important to represent all people in society,” Mishi Papich ’19 said.

Abigail Rosenberg ’19 volunteered for the University’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) this past fall semester and completed a project in which she found and mapped out all of the single-stall bathrooms on campus. Having finished counting them, she strove to have them reclassified as gender neutral bathrooms so that they may be utilized by transgender students.

Something as small as changing a bathroom label can “make students feel more comfortable and accepted wherever they were on campus,” Rosenberg said.

Maxine Charles ’19 has also worked with GSA, helping to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance this past November by compiling lists of transgender people who have passed away.

Both Rosenberg and Charles agree with McCoy that the amendment made to the mission statement is successful in recognizing LGBTQ students at the University.

I hope future students will look at the mission statement and not question whether or not it includes them. I hope other policies, practices, and physical facilities follow so students, regardless of gender identity and/or expression, feel comfortable, safe, and affirmed at Bucknell,” McCoy said.

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