Spelman College, an all women Historically Black College or University (HBCU), is the latest in a string of all-female institutions announcing that it will begin accepting transgender students during the next academic school year.
In a letter to the community, the president of Spelman College, Mary S. Campbell, explains the change in admissions policy, stating, “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.”
The letter directs its readers to the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the school website, in which the administrative team addresses some important questions for existing students, such as how transgender applicants will be approved and how Spelman plans to handle housing accommodations.
At least nine all-female colleges have begun accepting transgender students since 2014. However, these schools will not release a number of how many transgender students actually attend, due to privacy concerns.
Colleges across the nation are under pressure to be more accepting of transgender students, despite the fact that only 0.7 percent of the nation’s young people is comprised of transgender individuals, according to Fox News.
Some schools have developed specific qualifications for students who identify opposite their birth gender. For instance, Hollins University in Virginia will only accept transgender students if they have had a legal and surgical gender change.
Women’s colleges have been accepting towards transgender applicants in recent years, and though the schools are quick to publicize positive reactions, it is uncommon for dissenting opinions of alumni and existing students to ever make it to the news.
According to Fox News, however, some alumnae of these women’s colleges oppose the change, as they believe it undermines the mission of the schools, which is to empower the women who attend.
The Frequently Asked Questions portion of the HBCU’s website unintentionally reveals the slippery slope that the nation’s colleges are falling down, due to the changes to application processes. Decisions will be made on a case by case basis for each student, Spelman explains. Transgender men will not be accepted, yet those who begin the transition while enrolled at Spelman will be allowed to remain and receive degrees.
These “case by case” scenarios present uncertainty for cis students living in the dormitories who may hold beliefs in opposition to transgenderism.
For Spelman College, it remains to be seen how these admission changes will affect the campus and enrollment, but Campbell’s letter states that a small task force will be assigned to oversee the effects of the new policy on campus life.