In the wake of the U.S. military’s ban on transgender service members, Spelman College is set to open its doors to transgender women with the adoption of a new admissions policy.
The historically black liberal arts women’s college in Atlanta announced Tuesday that transgender women would soon be eligible to attend the women-only school.
Last year, the school convened a task force to reconsider its admissions policy. After a year of research, they decided to admit transgender women to the college.
“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,” said Spelman President Mary S. Campbell in a statement.
Under the policy change, Spelman will consider application candidates students who “consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth.”
The admissions policy will take effect this year for students enrolling for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Candidates must self-identify as a woman on the application and must provide supporting application materials to verify the self-identification. Applicants will also have the option to self-disclose as transgender on the application.
Though Spelman does not admit male students — including those who self-identify and live consistently as men, regardless of assignment at birth — once admitted, any student who fulfills graduation requirements will be awarded a degree from the college. If a woman is admitted and transitions to a male, the school will permit them to continue to matriculate at and graduate from Spelman.
Spelman says it is still “committed to its founding mission of education women of African descent.”
“In adopting this admissions policy, Spelman continues its fervent belief in the power of the Spelman sisterhood,” Campbell said. “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.”
An implementation committee will convene this school year to consider the impact the new policy has on the campus.
Students and parents who have concerns about the policy change are encouraged to visit the FAQ page of the school’s website.