Student governments offer funding for gender-affirming processes

Pitzer College and Scripps College student governments are expanding their funding options to fund a variety of gender-affirming actions for transgender, intersex, and non-binary students, according to thenPitzer Student Senate Treasurer Jessica Miao PZ ’21 and Scripps Associated Students President Irene Yi SC ’19.

Pitzer Senate Budget Committee now offers up to three hundred dollars per student toward gender affirming processes including “therapy, a legal name change, hormone replacement therapy, surgery, or any other gender-affirming process,” Miao wrote in an email to the Pitzer student body.

Miao wrote that the students applying for funds must fill out a request form before attending a Budget Committee meeting themselves or by seeing a proxy. Only Miao and the vice president of finance will know the identity of those who made the requests.

The SAS board voted Nov. 11 to expand Funding Advisory Committee funding to pay for gender-affirming processes and fees for Scripps students, Yi wrote in an email sent to Scripps students Nov. 29. The FAC will fund up to $300 per student.

The funding is available for “non-medical fees including, but not limited to, legal name changes, transportation, accommodations, etc,” Yi wrote. “However, each case will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to best support each student’s individual needs.”

The request form is available on SAS’ website.

Harvey Mudd College’s organization THEY/THEM will be renewing their funding options for this school year, according to an email the president of THEY/THEM sent to the student body Oct. 24. Students are eligible for up to $200 to fund non-medical gender transition related expenses.

Kim Nykanen, executive assistant in the Division of Student Affairs at Mudd, processes funding requests.

“It’s really important for students who are already marginalized and already have to constantly work to correct other people for their gender or their name and have to constantly validate themselves and put all this work in just so other people will respect their lives and experiences.” Yi said. “It’s so much on their plate already. If there’s anything we can do to lighten their load and to provide any help that we can, that’s the least that we can do.”

Pitzer Senate President Shivani Kavuluru PZ ’19 said their vote to expand the Budget Committee bylaws should have happened sooner.

“We need to be a lot more proactive in our allyship because this entire thing started really because a trans student spoke up in Student Senate and said we need to do better,” Kavuluru said.

Funding for Pitzer’s and Scripps’ trans community is currently from their funding boards, but they hope to potentially pull money from the reserve fund or elsewhere in order to have money set aside specifically for the purpose of supporting marginalized groups.

“One of the biggest faults in how our college and the consortium reacted [to the trans memo] was by not reacting at all,” Kavuluru said. “It was dead silent, and I think that was the first mistake that all of us made. Not only do we support these communities, but we are actually going to put our money where our mouth is.”

Yi said that SAS’ actions reflect a natural step in supporting students.

“If our school and our student body clai[m] to be really in support of [marginalized groups], and have these as a part of our values, we should step up and make sure that our actions reflect this,” Yi said.

This article was last updated Nov. 30 at 3:39 p.m. to reflect sourcing information about the email sent to the Harvey Mudd student body.

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