Grand Forks mayor apologizes, LBGTQ+ community calls for change

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 8:07 PM CST
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) - At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski apologized after posting on Facebook regarding UND’s proposed gender inclusion policy.

Bochenski circulated the letter from a group that represents North Dakota’s Roman Catholic bishops -- asking that parents of students at the University of North Dakota urge administrators to reject the proposed policy. The policy would require the use of a transgender person’s preferred pronouns and the use of facilities that align with a person’s gender identity. UND President Andrew Armacost says the policy is intended to protect transgender students.

In the post, Bochenski writes: “In Grand Forks, North Dakota we treat everyone with respect, dignity and civility. This exact statement is already in the UND Code of Student Life and a cornerstone of our Christian faith. We are a friendly and inclusive population that shares common values with our brethren from many religions. Every individual is a fellow human being and should be treated as such. This proposal by our beloved University spits in the face of everything we believe in. Compelling speech and forcing an ideology on our students, our children, and our community is abhorrent. Is it possible for a University to focus on academic rigor and preparing our youth to enter the workforce with the skills of adulthood?! A sad day for my alma mater. I support the attached letter wholeheartedly.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, several community members spoke out, calling for action, rather than words from the mayor. Bochenski said, “Undoubtedly my words were unduly harsh. I apologize for that. I’m glad to be able to sit here tonight and listen and learn.”

You can watch the full meeting here.

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