Cesareo-Silva explains the steps that faculty have taken to better accommodate transgender students. (Michael Grennell)
Angie L. Pineda
Some Saddleback faculty, who are part of the Equity and Diversity Committee, are hoping to update the bathroom policy to better accommodate the transgender community.
Transgender alumnus, Natalie Smith, dance major, was told by the campus police that she would be arrested if she used the woman’s restroom earlier in the semester. Smith said she left Saddleback and waits for a policy change in order to continue her dance classes.
“It’s 2013, we should basically be able to accept and go into change, ” Smith said. “I think community colleges and colleges alike should have a policy change when it comes to issues regarding gay, lesbian, transgender issues and when it comes to policy standards for those transgender individuals like myself.”
Some instructors agree and have looked into fixing this issue.
“Several faculty members, myself included, looked into what we needed to do to ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming students can safely and comfortably use public restrooms on campus,” math instructor Karla Westphal wrote to the Lariat in an email.
Smith is adamant about graduating from Saddleback but said she’ll have to wait for the policy change to continue her education.
“I want to see policy change for when I step back on campus,” Smith said. “I don’t want to be taking a workout class next to the gym area and need to use the restroom and run into the same issue.”
Anthropology instructor Claire Cesareo-Silva was upset when she heard how Smith was treated. “Many of us were kind of outraged by what we read,” Cesareo-Silva said about the previous Lariat article on the issue. “We want to make sure that the college does have a policy of some sort stating that transgendered individuals should be able to use the bathrooms that they feel most comfortable using in accordance with their gender identity.”
Cesareo-Silva said that faculty members took the issue to the Academic Senate meeting, they immediately spoke to the Saddleback College President Tod Burnett, and will also pass it through Associated Student Government.
ASG has yet to respond.
“I’m not upset, again it’s 2013, and with it comes change and that change might be a while, but I have the time,” Smith said. “I have all the time in the world.