August 23, 2016
We are getting calls from upset parents, students, and concerned community members about an article describing dramatic rules changes in Tyler Junior College’s facilities policy.
See the article here http://mytjcnews.com/news/new-rules-change-who-can-use-which-restrooms/. We have not discovered any local media coverage of this matter and have concluded this is because this policy issue has never been discussed by the Board of Trustees in a public meeting.
We also received a copy of a statement by TJC’s Director of Marketing, which states, “Texas colleges have been instructed to allow their students and employees to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity/expression.” [Note: For those not acquainted with this new terminology, gender identity is how the “inner person” identifies or feels as male, female, or both at any given time. Gender expression is the outward appearance/behavior of an individual based on how that individual chooses to conduct themselves as male, female, or both at any given time. To put this as politely as we know how, “gender” – under these definitions – is not based on biological/physiological facts. ]
Because it is prudent and wise to get the details first (Proverbs 18:13), our Executive Director JoAnn Fleming placed calls to two members of the TJC Board of Trustees – your elected officials. She also sent an e-mail inquiry to TJC President, Dr. Mike Metke.
Until we get answers to the following questions, which we hope the Tyler Junior College Board of Directors will provide at their board meeting this Thursday, we will not issue a community-wide call for action. If it appears these questions will go unanswered after Thursday’s TJC Board of Trustees meeting, we will make every effort to rally the community to unite in a call for answers.
Question #1: Exactly who “instructed” Texas colleges to enact federal guidelines on campus bathroom, shower, locker room/dressing room policy, when the federal government has ZERO authority to dictate such guidelines? The US Congress makes law – not the US President, not the US Department of Education, and not any other agency or arm of the federal bureaucracy. Grassroots America insists the public deserves to know exactly who did the instructing.
Question #2: What effect does this week’s federal court injunction, which halts the Obama Administration’s mandate to public schools to follow the federal transgender guidelines or risk losing federal funds, have on colleges and universities? Late Sunday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the Obama administration from enforcing its bathroom directives against public schools across the country. TX Attorney General Ken Paxton represents a 13-state coalition in the federal court lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas challenging the Obama administration’s unlawful federal directive that schools allow students to use whatever bathrooms and other intimate facilities they prefer – not based on physical gender. Since federal funds were raised as an issue by the TJC Trustees with which she spoke, Mrs. Fleming has made an inquiry with the TX AG’s office to determine the degree to which that ruling can and should be applied to Texas colleges.
Question #3: Exactly how was this rule change decided for Tyler Junior College? Apparently, this was not an action taken by the elected Board of Trustees. Mrs. Fleming made it clear to the TJC officials with whom she spoke that Grassroots America believes the elected body of TJC officials – who levy taxes upon homes and businesses and borrow money that must be repaid by current and future taxpayers – should be the ones making such a decision, not administrative staff.
Question #4: Once questions 1 – 3 are answered, what action will the Tyler Junior College Board of Trustees take and will they allow their stakeholders to have their say? We insist that the public should be properly noticed AND the discussions and deliberations by TJC officials are conducted in public. General policy discussions in a closed session are not allowed by the Texas Open Meetings Act. We believe the stakeholders of Tyler Junior College have a right to know exactly what is going on with such a dramatic change in policy so they have a chance to interact with the elected representatives of Tyler Junior College. We believe these are reasonable requests and expectations. Stay tuned.