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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Spelman College to Start Admitting Transgender Students
In a letter sent out to students last week, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell announced that the all-women's college will begin accepting transgender students, commencing with the 2018-2019 academic year. Spelman is one of just over a hundred Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) in the U.S., and has a student population of about 2,200.

Since 2014, at least nine women's colleges have formally changed their admissions criteria to allow trans-women to attend. Among those, Mills College in Oakland, California was the first, followed by Wellesley, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke and Scripps. Spelman becomes the first HBCU to do so.

Many of the country's women's colleges were founded in the early twentieth century in an effort to give women opportunities in higher education that had previously been reserved entirely for men. As society moves very slowly towards an understanding of gender as a spectrum, institutions are forced to administratively adjust to a non-binary application of gender. The subject is delicate and polarizing; one need only look at the corrosive national dialogue over public toilets. Same-sex women's colleges have quickly found themselves at the center of a discussion of what it means to be female, and how that should align with admission policies.

HBCUs have a depth of history, rooted in the post-Civil War years, when black Americans were barred from entry to higher education institutions. In response to legislation guaranteeing education rights to black Americans, many of the southern states created segregated colleges. Even as desegregation became the law, many states were slow to implement the policies, continuing to drive black students to HBCUs. In a post-secondary education climate that is still dominated by white students, these HBCUs are critical for providing the education, networking and support for black students that is still lacking at many universities across the nation.

Through these new policies, Spelman makes a strong statement for transgender women of color, and signals an ongoing progressive shift towards greater inclusion in college admissions.

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