March 1, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Title IX, the landmark law aimed at ending sex discrimination in schools, is simply stated.

“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 assistance.”

The 1972 law first became synonymous with opportunity for women in sports, but more recently it has been the basis for direction from the federal government on how to investigate and adjudicate sexual assault cases. The Obama administration further interpreted Title IX to provide protections against discrimination based on gender identity. That guidance, issued just last year, directed schools to ensure a safe and nondiscriminatory environment by, for instance, allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and facilities that correspond with their gender identities.

Last week, the Trump administration withdrew those gender-identity protections.

I write now to assure you that even without federally mandated protections, Trinity College will continue to support every member of this community and work diligently to ensure a safe and inclusive environment. Our efforts in this regard are far from complete. While community members are free to use bathrooms and facilities that correspond to their gender identities, we know there is much work to do, both in policy and practice — and that it takes a commitment of the entire community — to create the Trinity we want to be.

We remain steadfastly dedicated to eliminating discrimination from our campus, not because any federal policy directs us to, but because doing so is fundamental to our values and to the education Trinity provides.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience