MEDIA ADVISORY: UND to hold virtual 10 a.m., Friday press conference to respond to claims made by North Dakota Catholic Conference regarding a draft gender inclusion policy

Friday virtual press conference will be held via Zoom webinar and will feature UND panelists, including UND President Andrew Armacost; details below

What: Virtual Press Conference to respond to claims made in a recent letter from the North Dakota Catholic Conference regarding a University of North Dakota draft gender inclusion policy.

Who: Press conference panelists will be UND President Andrew Armacost, Donna Smith, assistant vice president for equal opportunity & Title IX; and Troy Noeldner, UND’s director of housing.

When: 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.

Where: Zoom webinar — The link for media attendees is below:

https://und.zoom.us/j/95871055488?pwd=NDRHVGF0RWFpdHI2ZlZqeWhyN2t3QT09

Passcode: 841488

Background:

Earlier this week, the North Dakota Catholic Conference issued a letter about a draft policy at the University of North Dakota regarding gender inclusion and gender identity.

The draft policy was not a case of a campus “going rogue.” We began drafting this gender inclusion policy to implement federal law, Supreme Court rulings, North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights policy, and State Board of Higher Education policy.

Our draft policy is intended to protect transgender members from harassment and discrimination, consistent with those federal laws and state policies.

The Catholic Conference’s letter makes claims about the draft policy that simply aren’t true. Yet, we appreciate their public statement about treating others with respect, which is the aim of any policy we adopt.

We are firmly committed to freedom of religious expression and fully recognize that, as we address the rights of one group, we cannot do it to the detriment of the rights of another group.

When we face such challenges, we are convinced that there’s no better place than our campus to resolve such conflicts and to come together as human beings to arrive at good solutions for all and to treat everyone with respect.

UND will be hosting a virtual press conference at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, via Zoom webinar, to discuss this issue and respond to questions. Members of the media are invited to attend and submit questions through the Zoom’s Q&A function. The questions will be addressed by UND panelists, including UND President Andrew Armacost.

In addition to Friday’s press conference, we welcome an open conversation with the Catholic Conference leadership to clarify any misunderstandings.

Please know we fully support the rights of our LGBTQ+ community as well as all members of religious groups on our campus. No human being should be denied the right to an education or employment at UND on the basis of any legally protected category.

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