Local watchdog group questions TJC bathroom policy

Local News

A local watchdog organization is raising concerns about a new Tyler Junior College policy the group believes is related to a transgender bathroom policy issued by the Obama administration.

In an August 23 post to the Grassroots America We The People website, the group says they have been receiving calls from upset parents, students and concerned community members following an article posted in the school’s newspaper, The Drumbeat.

In the article, it states “TJC students are now allowed to use the restroom correlating to the gender with which they identify.”

GAWTP  said they received a statement from TJC’s director of marketing in regard to the policy.

“Texas colleges have been instructed to allow their students and employees to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity/expression.”

GAWTP Executive Director JoAnn Fleming said she has reached out to two TJC Board of Trustees members and emailed TJC President Dr. Mike Metke.

The following questions were sent to the Board and Dr. Metke:

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.

TJC next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Board Conference Room, White Administrative Services Center.

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