Spelman College is setting a precedent for historically Black colleges and universities across the country. On September 5 it was announced that the all-women’s college will openly admit trans women into their school for the 2018 to 2019 school year.
The current president of the school, Mary Schmidt Campbell, made the announcement via a letter to students, faculty and staff.
“Like same-sex colleges all over the country, Spelman is taking into account evolving definitions of gender identity in a changing world and taking steps to ensure that our policies and plans reflect those changes in a manner that is consistent with our mission and the law,” the letter reads. “Spelman College … will consider for admission women students including students who consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth.”
The letter further states, “If a woman is admitted and transitions to male while a student at Spelman, the College will permit that student to continue to matriculate at and graduate from Spelman.” Potential students can self-disclose their gender identity as an option.
The new admissions policy follows a year of research by the Transgender Policy Task Force, which Schmidt Campbell brought together last fall as a way to expand the college’s Title IX policies and practices. The task force showed their findings to the college’s Board of Trustees in late April.
Spelman joins a list of all women’s colleges that are openly accepting trans women. Mills College in Oakland, California was the first to publicize their acceptance of trans women in 2014, followed by Wellesley College, Smith College, Bryn Mawr College, and Barnard College in 2015. Other schools, like Mount Holyoke, don’t track the gender identities of their students.
As part of their new admissions policy, Spelman added new inquires to its frequently asked questions list to dispel misconceptions about students who may be transgender and to address any concerns from parents or students. You can check out the questions here.