Washburn faculty and staff work to make campus more inclusive

All things equal: The Equality House sits at 1200 SW Orleans St. in the Westboro District. The house was painted in the pride flag colors in 2013 and houses the headquaters of the Planting Peace organization.

Dear Ichabods,

A recent story in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html) revealed an initiative from the Trump administration that would, as the Times put it, “essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into.” The leaked memo from Department of Health and Human Services asserts: “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.” This new initiative targeting the core legal status of trans, intersex, and nonbinary citizens has generated significant alarm within the LBGTQ+ community and among their allies.

At this time of crisis, we, the undersigned, join with our fellow faculty and staff members to commit ourselves to ensuring that Washburn will continue to become a more inclusive living and learning environment. To members of the LBGTQ+ community, and to our trans, intersex, and nonbinary community members in particular, we say: we have your backs.

It is clear, despite the claims in the leaked memo that the new approach is “grounded in science, objective and administrable,” that this new initiative flies in the face of the best current medical and biological science, psychology, and social-scientific understanding of gender. Gender identity and biological sex are more fluid and complex than the limited definitions offered in the memo’s new categories. It is clear, too, that trans and intersex and non-binary people are here, that they exist and have always existed and will continue to exist. And it is clear, finally, that we have a responsibility to support this often-marginalized, too-often-abused community.

Whatever federal policy decrees, Washburn University’s own official policies about diversity and non-discrimination commit us to supporting the interests of trans, intersex, and nonbinary students, staff, and faculty. According to the University’s new inclusivity statement, Washburn “is committed to cultivating an inclusive learning, living, and working community,” including in its definition of what that diversity entails “gender identity, gender expression, [and] sexual orientation.” Similarly, Washburn policy includes among categories explicitly protected from discrimination “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] genetic information.” We intend to hold firm to these commitments by the University to its diverse student population and the broader Washburn community. 

We will look for ways to ensure Washburn University’s fuller and further commitment to the full range of its diverse population, including trans, intersex, and non-binary members of the community. In the meantime, we encourage Washburn students within these affected communities to contact the staff in the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion and to avail themselves of the range of resources highlighted on their website, under the LGBTQ+ tab (here: https://washburn.edu/diversity/multicultural/index.html). And meanwhile, all of us can—and those whose signatures appear below will—work to make Washburn University a more inclusive and welcoming environment in which to learn, live, and work. 

Thomas Prasch, History

Kelly Erby, History

Kara Kendall-Morwick, English

Kim Morse, History

Kerry Wynn, History

Izzy Wasserstein, English

Liz Derrington, English

Rachel Goossen, History

Jane Elliott, Theatre

Rick Barker, Computer and Information Sciences

Cindy Turk, Psychology

Jennifer Ball, Economics

Louise Krug, English

Vanessa Steinroetter, English

Steve Hageman, Student Success/Mabee Library

Melanie Burdick, CTEL/English

Alexandra Klales, Anthropology

Rick Ellis, LinC (Learning in the Community)/Center for Community and Civic Engagement

Erin Chamberlain, English

David Weed, English

Sharon Sullivan, Theatre

Amanda Luke, Mabee Library

Kayla Waters, Human Services

Bill Rich, School of Law

Sean Bird, Mabee Library

Jason Miller, Anthropology

Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, University Diversity and Inclusion

Melisa Posey, University Diversity and Inclusion

Eric Grospitch, Vice-President of Student Life

Mary B. Sundal, Anthropology

Bruce Mactavish, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences/History

Sue Taylor Owens, Information Technology Services

Cherry Steffen, Education

Laura Murphy, Anthropology

Karen Camarda, Physics/Astronomy

Tony Silvestri, History

Mary Sheldon, English

Craig Carter, Education

Jean Marshall, Mabee Library

Annie Miller, Political Science

Deborah Altus, Human Services

Beth O’Neill, social Work

Jim Schnoebelen, Communication Studies

Patricia Dahl, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies

Kelly Thor, Art History

Takrima Sadikot, Biology

Sam Finch, Mass Media

Kristina Hart, LinC (Learning in the Community)

Alan Bearman, Dean of Libraries/History

Sandy Tutwiler, Education

Tracy Routsong, Communication Studies

Jordan Noller, Student Success/Mabee Library

Sam Leung, Chemistry

Mike Russell, Psychology

Shaun Schmidt, Chemistry

Shirley Dinkel, Nursing

Vickie Kelly, Allied Health

Pat Dahl, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies

Deborah Altus, Human Services

Tony Caldwell, Allied Health

Jim Smith, Social Work

Kimberley Harrison, Social Work

Tonya Ricklefs, Social Work

Erin Grant, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies

Madeline Lambing, Leadership Institute

Dennis Etzel, Jr., English

Ande Davis, English

Brian Thomas, Physics/Astronomy

Lauren Edelman, Leadership Institute

Kaitlin Alegria, School of Law

Bruce Mechtley, Computer and Information Sciences

Collin Chase, Student Success/Mabee Library

Ian Smith, Philosophy

Said Fallaha, English

Andrea Thimesch, Mabee Library

Carissa Johnson, Director of Student Transition and Family Engagement

Martha Imperato, Mabee Library

Mindy Rendon, Director of Residential Living

Meagan Smejdir, Student Success/Mabee Library

Andy Farkas, English

Lynn Wilson, Theatre

Courtney Sullivan, Modern Languages

Emily Meyerhoffer-Kubalik, University Counselor

Michael McGuire, Psychology

Maria Stover, Mass Media

Andrew Anglin, Mass Media

Regina Cassell, Mass Media

Matthew Nyquist, Mass Media

Kristen Grimmer, Mass Media

Crystal Leming, University Counseling

Tiffany McManis, Director of Student Health Services

Michael Gleason, Leadership Institute

Connie Gibbons, Director of Mulvane Art Museum

Geoffrey Way, English

Eric McHenry, English

Rebecca Manning, Mulvane Art Museum

Molly Steffes-Herman, Campus Advocate

Cindy Nebel, Psychology

Jericho Hockett, Psychology

Michelle Ewert, School of Law

Dan Petersen, Social Work
Madeline Eschenburg, Art History
Linzi Gibson, Psychology
Bassima Hussein Schbley, Social Work
RaLynn Schmalzreid, Psychology
Justin Moss, Philosophy
Chris Jones, Religious Studies
Brittany R. Simmerman Lauritsen, Assistant Athletic Director
Chreighton J. Miller, Jr., Law Library
Tonya Kowalski, School of Law
Marguerite Perret, Art
Penny R. Fell, School of Law
Michael Vollbrecht, Administrative Assistant, English
Emily Grant, School of Law
Jalen Lowry, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, School of Law
Gillian Chadwick, School of Law
James M. Concannon, School of Law
Preston Nicholson, Assistant Dean for Admissions, School of Law
Craig Martin, School of Law
Jessica Gremmel, Allied Health
Rhonda Peterson Dealey, Social Work
John J. Francis, School of Law
Laura Stephenson, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Melissa Lewis, Administrative Assistant, Sociology/Anthropology
Linsey Moddelmog, Political Science
Emily Grant, School of Law
Chris Hamilton, Political Science
Drew Burks, Student Success/Mabee Library
Susan Maendele, Nursing
Brent Ferguson, Music
Pamela Schmidt, Accounting
Whitney Slater, Director, Student Recreation and Wellness Center
Shane Van Delsem, Finance
Mary Matthews, School of Law
Michael Hager, Art
Jared Dechant, Assistant Director, Residential Living
Rodrigo Mercader, Biology
Lori R. Fenton, Mabee Library
Freddy Sourgens, School of Law
Cora Oliva, Allied Health
Valerie M. B. VanDerSluis, Director of Programming, Content, and Social Media, KTWU
Kristina Collins, Allied Health
Jennifer Pacioianu, English
James Barraclough, Student Success/Mabee Library
Craig Haugsness, Allied Health
Rachael Rle, Music
Muffy Walter, English
Russ Smith, Associate Dean, Business
Vincent M. Rossi, Physics and Astronomy
Christa Smith, Academic Effectiveness Analyst
Fuko Ito, Art
Jason Emry, Biology
Tom Averill, Emeritus, English
Penelope Weiner, Theatre
Shelley Bearman, Student Success/Mabee Library
Beth McNames, Mathematics and Statistics
Chris Pirtle, Financial aid
Steve Cann, Political Science
Phillip Hauptman, Computer and Information Sciences
Linda Merillat, Nursing
Alizabeth Ballard, Nursing
Becky Bolte, Director, Memorial Union
Jia Feng, Geography
Yvette Montgomery, Student One Stop
Susan Bjerke, Biology
Chris Bowers, Military-Student Success/Mabee Library
Ray James, Music
Matt Arterburn, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences/Biology
Jennifer Wagner, Mathematics and Statistics
Justin Spiehs, Human Services
Steven Grenus, University Registrar
Shelby Peck, Facilities Services
Theresa Young, Senior Administrative Assistant, Psychology
Joel Bluml, Associate Vice President for Student Life
Jenay Weekly, Blue and White Society Patron
Shirley Jackson, Senior Administrative Assistant, Law
Park Lockwood, Kinesiology
Emily Engler, Financial aid
Carl Dillman, Information Technology Services
Sylvia Bihler, WU Alumni Association and Foundation
Kelly Leahy, Mabee Library
Raylene Penner, English
Kelli Wietharn, Enrollment Management
K. L. Barron, English/CTEL
John Mullican, Biology
Cindy Cummings, Law Library
Clare Bindley, Washburn Endowment Association
Benjamin Wills, Art
David Hartley, Art
Henry Schneiderman, Art
Roy Wohl, Kinesiology
Andrea J. Boyack, School of Law
Robin Moser, Washburn Alumni Association
Alex Glashausser, School of Law
Julie Noonan, Theatre
Jason Shaw, Mathematics and Statistics

Editor’s Note: Anyone wishing to add their name to the list of signatures should email Tom Prasch at [email protected].