Reprint Diplomas of Trans+ and Survivor Mountaineers

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Reprint Diplomas of Trans+ and Survivor Mountaineers

This petition made change with 328 supporters!
Robb Livingood started this petition to Office of the Registrar West Virginia University and

Dear WVU Office of the Registrar:

We are writing on behalf of transgender, non-binary and other gender minority Mountaineers (hereinafter “trans+”) to invite you to adopt a trans-affirmative policy of waiving the fee for a one-time reprint of their diplomas. In this way, all Mountaineers will be able to proudly display their WVU accomplishments.  Under this policy, a trans+ Mountaineer, or a survivor of domestic or intimate partner abuse, would be able to request a one-time reprint of their degree with a waiver of the usual $75.00 fee. 

Currently, WVU makes it possible for students to use their preferred names in classes, but this proposal takes that positive cultural leadership one step further with a gesture of dignity to trans+ alumni.  

While the university continues its work toward being a welcoming environment, past Mountaineers may have faced greater levels of transphobia within our academic institution. They may have studied in an era where preferred names were not not used, and no bathroom choice felt safe. For whatever reason, some Mountaineers did not have the option--or could not exercise their option--to have the name on their diploma reflect their authentic self.  

Not all trans+ folks are able to afford the excessive and sometimes prohibitive costs of daily life that cisgender individuals are privileged not to face. Many trans+ individuals cannot afford the $200 court fee for a legal change of name, much less take off work to attend a hearing.  Even if they are able to legally change their name, there are expenses still needed  to change their names on their driver’s license, passport, Social Security, and others seemingly endless changes.  

Our trans+ Mountaineers enrich our university with their presence and scholarship, but after graduation, they are met with a job market and social environment that devalues them. Trans+ individuals face discrimination and transphobia in hiring, employment, housing, and healthcare, all of which takes a toll on their ability to overcome barriers to live as their authentic selves.  

The sight of one’s deadname on documents can cause gender dysphoria, or strong feelings of psychological distress.  Due to transphobia, these trans+ individuals cannot access the changes they need. Their degrees and achievements are tarnished with the trauma of misgendering. What would be anyone else’s  proudest accomplishment is (often literally) stashed in the back of a closet.   

WVU has an opportunity to show leadership by supporting trans+ and domestic abuse survivors to change their names to those they wear without shame, guilt, or psychological distress. Help our trans+ folks to bring these diplomas out of the darkness and where they belong: back onto the mantlepieces and office walls of Mountaineer alumni.  WVU can be a leader in restoring dignity and pride to its Mountaineer alumni.  This gesture is inexpensive, but the goodwill it would engender is priceless

We hope you will consider rekindling the dignity and pride of our Mountaineer alumni.  

Sincerely,

Current and past Mountaineers, and community supporters

 

"West Virginia Fall Foliage Mountain Sunset" by ForestWander.com is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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This petition made change with 328 supporters!

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