Post submitted by Samantha Master, former HRC Youth & Campus Engagement Manager
A shameful story is unfolding in North Carolina.
Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, North Carolina suspended a transgender student after a campus safety officer allegedly detained, questioned and harassed her as she was leaving the women’s restroom.
Andraya Williams said that a female campus safety officer stopped her and asked to see her school ID. After showing the officer her school identification, the officer asked Williams if she was male or female.
“She was kind of chuckling. I felt like she was picking on me,” Williams said to WCNC, an NBC Charlotte affiliate.
The officer called for back up and escorted her off campus.
Subsequently, CPCC informed Williams she was suspended for failing to show her ID to the officer and would only be allowed back if she used the gender-neutral restroom—only two of which exist on campus.
Sarah Demarest, Williams’ attorney, also told WCNC Charlotte that CPCC Dean of Students Mark Helms informed Williams that "she needed to bring in medical proof of being a female if she wanted to use the female restroom."
CPCC asserts that they were simply responding to a potential public safety issue.
"Andraya’s experience epitomizes the need for gender identity and expression-inclusive non-discrimination policies and cultural competency training, especially in colleges and universities," said Sultan Shakir, director of HRC’s Youth and Campus Engagement Program.
Injustice at Every Turn, a survey analysis by The Task Force Report, found that nearly half of Black respondents reported facing harassment at school.
"Colleges and universities have a responsibility to provide students with a safe and affirming learning environment," said Shakir. "CPCC should apologize to Andraya and work to ensure that no student is forced to deal with discrimination, harassment and punitive action because of who they are."