Catholic university doesn’t tell girls if they’re assigned to room with biological male

A student housing staff member said there could be an "uproar" if parents knew.

A student housing staff member said there could be an "uproar" if parents knew. (O'Keefe Media Group)

A new O’Keefe Media Group (OMG) video shows University of St. Thomas Associate Director of Residence Life Zoe Chang stating that the school allows biological males who identify as women to share living spaces with females.

This, according to Chang, is done as discreetly as possible in order to avoid upsetting parents. The video, OMG said in an email, documents the “mountain of rule changes and preferential treatment provided to trans students when it comes to their housing accommodations.”

“I think it’s part of just like how can we set this student up for success,” Chang told the undercover journalists.

She also said the school doesn’t reveal the identities of transgender students to the girls they are rooming with. “Unless she shares, or like we never will give that information,” Chang said.

“I think part of that would be weird if we were like, ‘Hey, look, this is what’s going on here,’” Chang said. “So I think that’s partially what would be an uproar, like why are you letting that happen?”

She agreed that there could be a “mixed response” because of the Catholic and conservative families at the school.

Chang also confirmed that transgender students can qualify for lower room rates, since the school would “consider this an accommodation,” and be prioritized for in-demand rooms.

“Oh so you charge less, because she’s transgender?” the undercover journalist asked. Chang nodded in agreement.

Towards the end of the video, Chang was asked if the university is trying to be more inclusive “without being too public.”

“Yeah. Unfortunately,” she said.

A recording of a phone call between the undercover journalist and University of St. Thomas housing staff corroborated what Chang said, confirming that a transgender woman could request cisgender roommates and that it would be kept “confidential.”

“If she identifies as female, then she is able to room on the female side,” the staff person said.

The University of St. Thomas, the largest private university in the state of Minnesota, has since shut down replies on its Twitter account. The university is one of the largest Catholic colleges in the nation, with more than 9,000 students and eight campuses.

The school does acknowledge on its website that “housing and community bathroom assignments use the gender identity indicated in your application.”

“We’re guided by the church’s call for an equitable society. As a Catholic university, we support the inherent worth and dignity of all. LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff can expect to experience that respect in their work and interactions at St. Thomas,” the website says.

Pope Francis has been clear on the Catholic Church’s position on transgenderism, calling “gender ideology” one of the “most dangerous ideological colonizations.”

“Beyond the understandable difficulties which individuals may experience, the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created, for ‘thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over Creation,'” he wrote in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

In its mission statement, the University of St. Thomas says it is “inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition.”

The university also offers a Queer Straight Alliance, a “Lavender Graduation Celebration,” and training for faculty on how to “work toward a more LGBTQ+-inclusive community.”

The school did not respond to a request for comment.


Hayley Feland

Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.