Education

Spelman College To Admit Transgender Students Fall 2018

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Spelman College is doing what it can to make strides in today’s society! According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the president of Spelman College, Mary Schmidt Campbell, announced the historically black institution will accept students who “consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth.”

Noted in a letter sent to students, Schmidt details the new enrollment policy and details the importance of making the decision. It reads:

“In adopting this admissions policy, Spelman continues its fervent belief in the power of the Spelman Sisterhood,” Campbell said in the letter. “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 letter also noted that during the 2016-2017 academic year, a task force of staff, students, faculty, alumnae, and trustees came together to look at the potential changes. Along with the news of a new enrollment policy, the letter also links a list of frequently asked questions including, “What does it mean to consistently live and identify as a woman?,” “Is Spelman still a woman’s college?,” and “What resources and support will the College offer for transgender students?”

According to The Atlanta Journal- Constitution, in recent years, single-gender colleges and universities are admitting more transgender students. The AJC reports that according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, since 2014, at least eight women’s colleges have moved to allow transgender women.

The new admissions policy will take effect for students enrolling for the 2018-2019 academic year. Read Mary Schmidt Campbell full statement below.

September 5, 2017

Dear Spelman Community:

As we begin a new academic year, Spelman celebrates anew its unique capacity to provide high-quality education to high-achieving Black women. Our mission calls for us to graduate Spelman students who are global citizens, agents of meaningful social change and leaders in their field.

This academic year is particularly momentous. Spelman College is launching a new strategic plan that will guide the College for the next five years. In the weeks ahead, I will share highlights of our new vision. With the launch of our new plan, the College has taken stock of the competitive environment for institutions of higher education and also has given careful consideration to many of its policies, including its admissions and enrollment policies. 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.

Our intent is always to be thoughtful and informed as we conduct our decision-making. To that end, 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. Spelman does not admit male students, including students who self-identify and live consistently as men, regardless of gender assignment at birth. 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.

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.

I realize you may have many questions about this policy. Along with this letter, we have posted to our website a “Frequently Asked Questions” for your reference. As always, I, and members of the senior administrative staff–Provost, Sharon Davies; VP of Enrollment, Ingrid Hayes; VP of Student Affairs, Dr. Darnita Killian; VP of College Relations, Dr. Jane Smith; Secretary of the College, Dr. Terri Reed; and Dean of Students, Dr. Fran’Cee Brown-McClure — are available to answer questions that you might have. You can also email inquiries to taskforcefeedback@spelman.edu.

In sisterhood,

Mary S. Campbell
President, Spelman College
Photo Credit: Spelman College/Youtube