Spelman College, a historically black women’s institution in Atlanta, revised its admissions policy to include “students who consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth.”
“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,” Spelman College President Mary S. Campbell said in a statement.
Like Spelman, a number of single-gender schools across the country — from universities to elementary schools — are revisiting their admissions policies. Not all of these schools, however, are taking the same approach.
The Spelman Approach
As it explored the possibility of updating its policy regarding transgender and gender-nonconforming students, Spelman convened a task force to review its admissions policies and undertook an “inclusive and deliberative process that involved the entire Spelman community,” according to Ingrid Hayes, the school’s vice president of enrollment.
“Spelman reviewed all college policies in advance of developing and adopting a new strategic plan,” Hayes explained. “As a women’s college, we felt it was important to examine and clearly define our mission and who we are called to serve in an environment where notions of gender identity have expanded beyond the traditional binary.”
In the statement Spelman’s president released on Sept. 5, she clarified that the college will not admit transgender men, but if a student transitions to male while enrolled at Spelman, he will be permitted to continue to matriculate and graduate from the school.
Mills College in Oakland, Calif., was the first to permit transgender women in 2014, and, according to a recent survey by the Women’s College Coalition (WCC), 11 of its 39 member institutions across the country have now revised their policies to admit trans students. Read more via NBC