Spelman College, a liberal arts women’s college located in Atlanta, Georgia, will begin to admit trans women – and begin to refuse admission to transgender men.
The college, a historically-black only-women’s only college, announced the shift in policy this week.
Until now it had only admitted cisgender women, but confirmed it will now allow transgender women who “self-identify” as female. The policy adds that transgender men who “self-identify” as male will no longer be permitted to enrol, regardless of their legal gender.
Mary S. Campbell, President of Spelman College, explained the change in a letter to the college community.
She said: “During the 2016-2017 academic year, I assembled a task force comprised of faculty, staff, students, alumnae and trustees to consider the admissions and enrollment policies at Spelman as they apply to an evolving understanding and knowledge of gender.
“After a year of research, benchmarking against other single-sex women’s colleges, extensive listening sessions with students, faculty, staff and alumnae and surveys to the Spelman community, the task force made a set of recommendations to the president of the College and the Spelman College Board of Trustees.
“As a result of this extensive study, I, as president, along with the Spelman leadership team, and the Board, concur on the following admissions and enrollment policy: Spelman College, a Historically Black College whose mission is to serve high-achieving Black women, will consider for admission women students including students who consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth.”
However, it added: “Spelman does not admit male students, including students who self-identify and live consistently as men, regardless of gender assignment at birth.”
Asked about students that transition to male partway through a course, Campbell said: “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.”
The College head added: “In adopting this admissions policy, Spelman continues its fervent belief in the power of the Spelman Sisterhood.
“Students who choose Spelman come to our campus prepared to participate in a women’s college that is academically and intellectually rigorous, and affirms its core mission as the education and development of high-achieving Black women.
“The admissions policy outlined above goes into effect for students enrolling for the 2018-2019 academic year.
“I have asked an implementation committee to convene this year to consider the impact on the campus resulting from the new policy.”
An all women’s college in the US state of New York previously voted to allow trans women.
The college now admits applications who “consistently live and identify as women, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth”.
A number of all-women’s colleges across the US have recently voted to approve similar measures.