Historic all-female Barnard College partially bowed to progressives Thursday, allowing students who identify as transgendered women to enroll while it stopped short of allowing transgendered men.
The college followed in the footsteps of the other “Seven Sisters” schools which have adopted similar policies of allowing enrollment of men transitioning to women, Fox News reported.
The other schools are Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Radcliffe College, Smith College, Vassar College, and Wellesley College.
The school’s policy would allow Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner to attend but would reject Chaz Bono, the daughter of singer Cher who decided to be a man.
Barnard’s president, Debora Spar, held a series of town halls for students, faculty and alumni as well as holding an online survey before reaching the decision, according to Fox News.
“As expected, a wide range of passionate and deeply held beliefs were discussed and debated,” she wrote in a joint letter with board of trustees chairman Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald, Thursday.
“But on two main points, the responses were compelling and clear. There was no question that Barnard must reaffirm its mission as a college for women. And there was little debate that trans women should be eligible for admission to Barnard,” the letter read.
Not surprisingly, members of the school’s transgender community were happy with the decision.
“The policy is exactly what I was hoping for,” graduate Caleb LoSchiavo, who identifies as “gender fluid” said. “I’m proud of Barnard for making the right choice here.”
“By admitting all women, only women, it’s a lot easier to say ‘We’re a women’s college through-and-through,’” LoSchiavo added.
“It’s thrilling that Barnard has decided to admit trans women,” Mark King, a junior who identifies as a man said. “I must admit my disappointment that a more nuanced position could not be taken in regards to non-binary students and trans men.”
“There have always been and will always be non-binary students and trans male students at Barnard simply due to the fact that many students realize they identify that way while attending Barnard,” the 21-year-old said. “I’m concerned that those students may not feel welcome or supported knowing that they would not have been permitted to attend the college had they known their identity sooner.”
Dru Levasseur, director of the Transgender Rights Project agreed with King.
“I think it is great that Barnard is opening its doors to all women. I do think they could have been more inclusive of non-binary genders,” Levasseur said, “but it is a step in the right direction.”
Those who oppose the decision believe the move may endanger Barnard’s own identity as an all women’s college, but the school’s policy states that they “will continue to use gendered language that reflects our identity as a women’s college.”
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