CPCC opens discussions with LGBT groups

Central Piedmont Community College announced Tuesday it is planning a series of community outreach meetings with LGBT organizations in response to complaints from a transgender student that campus security harassed her after leaving a women’s restroom.

The college also announced that it has scheduled training for its security staff as a result of the March 18 incident. The student involved, Andraya Williams, claimed she was detained, questioned and harassed by security staff after exiting the restroom. She filed a complaint with the school, seeking an apology and staff sensitivity training.

“Through this recent experience, the college has realized other institutions and communities across the country have been challenged by similar issues,” college spokesman Jeff Lowrance said in a statement.

“The college wants to hear from these (LGBT) organizations on how other institutions have achieved good relations, while being fair to everyone and abiding by state and federal law.”

College administrators from the student services and human resources departments are setting up meetings with CPCC’s student LGBT group and other LGBT groups in the community. The college also plans to talk with Equality NC, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization.

On two occasions in April, CPCC will train security staff to ensure they are familiar with college philosophy, policies and procedures, school officials said. Such training will be made available to other CPCC employees as appropriate.

The college also will post the campus locations of all gender-neutral or family restrooms on the CPCC website. Many colleges around the country are now providing such information on their websites to assist students, employees and visitors.

After this first series of best practices discussions, CPCC will identify others in the community who will provide additional insight into LGBT issues to CPCC and other educational institutions that would like to learn.

“Community colleges in general and CPCC specifically have always had an open door, welcoming anyone who wanted an education or job training,” Lowrance said. “CPCC accepts students wherever they might be on the academic spectrum and helps them reach their goals. We want to be sure CPCC remains open, welcoming and fair to all within the college’s policies.”