Univ. of Pitt. Settles Lawsuit with Transgender Student

Changes in university policy were the only details of the settlement disclosed.

The University of Pittsburgh announced policy changes on March 29 as part of a lawsuit settlement with a former student who is transgender.

The student had filed a lawsuit in 2014 alleging the school violated Title IX by banning him from male locker rooms and eventually expelling him.

Buzzfeed reports that the school will begin allowing students to use bathrooms and other gender specific spaces that correspond with their gender identity. The university will also begin offering gender-neutral housing and establish a group on campus that will advise administrators on transgender issues.

Seamus Johnston initially brought the lawsuit after school officials banned Johnston from the male locker room, filed disorderly conduct charges against Johnston and eventually expelled him in 2011.

The university argued in court that Johnston had a female birth certificate and that other students had voiced privacy concerns about Johnston in the boys’ lockers room. Johnston then defied orders to stay out of the male locker room, school officials claimed.

The federal trial followed a ruling in the university’s favor last year in a lower court.

The settlement comes at a time when states and federal courts are dealing with an increasing number of cases that deal with gender identity accommodations in schools.

Up next: VIDEO: Tenn. School Criticized for Allowing Gay-Straight Alliance Club

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo