BYU speech program keeps accreditation after cutting transgender services

Salt Lake Temple. Photo:

SALT LAKE CITY, July 14 (UPI) — A review has determined that Brigham Young University‘s master’s program in speech-language pathology remains in compliance with accreditation standards after ending gender-affirming services for transgender clients.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a national professional organization, had issued a statement that a decision by BYU earlier this year to end the services at its speech-language clinic “is in direct opposition” to the practice expected of its members.

The BYU program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, a semi-autonomous body of ASHA. The council launched a review of the complaint in the spring.

On Thursday, BYU provided UPI with a copy of a letter it had received from Gale Rice, CAA chair, saying the council will not investigate the “adverse information” it had received about the speech-language program.

“After considering all submitted documentation, the CAA determined that, in reference to the situation the adverse information described, the program remains in compliance with CAA’s Standards for Accreditation,” the letter says.

BYU, which is located in Provo, Utah, and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had decided that providing the services was not consistent with guidelines telling church leaders to “counsel against social transition.”

Transgender clients use the vocal training to make their voices reflect their gender identity.

BYU has religious exemptions under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools, because it is owned by a church. Title IX does not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization when application of the law would be inconsistent with its religious tenets.

In a letter responding to the ASHA statement, C. Shane Reese, the university’s academic vice president, said BYU made a “narrow and religious mission-based decision” to discontinue providing gender-affirming services, but it is continuing to offer assistance with the other communication services it provides to everyone, regardless of gender identity or expression.


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