UCD President Andrew Deeks has revealed that UCD management were ‘pleasantly surprised by the level of media interest’ in the launch of the university’s Gender Identity and Expression Policy.

Deeks told staff in his Presidential Bulletin that the University Management Team (UMT) ‘took a particular interest in the development of this policy, and contributed to both the policy and the guidelines, ensuring that the policy appropriately recognises the needs of all members of our diverse University community.’

The Policy was recently launched by Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, and attended by an estimated 200 staff and students. Deeks noted that Minister Zappone’s speech ‘acknowledged that the policy was a significant advance in the recognition of gender diversity, not just in UCD or in the education sector, but in Ireland as a whole.’

The Policy was originally drafted by a UMT Working Group, chaired by Rory Carey, Director of Culture & Engagement at UCD HR. Other members included Professor Colin Scott, Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Dean of Social Sciences, and Associate Professor Barbara Dooley, Dean of Graduate Studies & Deputy Registrar, alongside other staff and student representatives. Deeks thanked the Working Group and everyone who participated.

The Gender Identity and Expression Guidelines states that student records on ‘SISweb, Blackboard, e-mail addresses, class lists, and student cards can be changed without official proof of a name change.’ Changed details on final award documents like ‘a transcript and graduation parchment’ require a student to sign a form for the details to be officially changed. There are similar policies in place for staff to update their records. Staff are being urged to contact the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit ‘in the first instance.’

The new Policy states that ‘a university member wishing to avail of University Supports in relation to their gender identity has a responsibility to: inform relevant employees of any support needs as soon as possible to allow appropriate arrangements to be put in place in a timely fashion; provide as much notice as possible to the University if time off is required for medical needs; if records are to be changed, request this in a timely manner; ensure that appropriate documentation is submitted as required; in order to respect confidentiality, be clear as to who is to be informed around their gender identity or gender expression and who is not to be informed; and follow the accompanying guidelines to this policy.’

Cian Carton – Editor