The venerable all-women’s HBCU in Atlanta, Georgia, will begin admitting students in 2018 who “consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth,” Spelman College president Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement released Tuesday.
The move comes as same-sex campuses across the nation begin to admit more trans women. At least eight women’s colleges changed admissions policies to admit trans women, including Bennett College, the nation’s only other all-female HBCU, in Greensboro, North Carolina, Mills College in Oakland, California, Wellesley, Smith, Bryn Mawr, and Barnard colleges, according to Diverse Issues In Higher Education.
“In adopting this admissions policy, Spelman continues its fervent belief in the power of the Spelman Sisterhood,” Campbell’s statement reads in part. “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 shift did not come without controversy at the school–a microcosm of the nation’s overall Black community, which has long been known for its don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy when it comes to issues of sexuality.
“I applaud my beloved alma mater’s proactive stance while still honoring the institution’s traditons,” said Charmagne Helton, a 1994 graduate, writes the AJC. “I am as proud of Spelman College as I was the first moment I set foot on campus more than 25 years ago.”
We’re adding this to our it’s about damn time files. What are your thoughts? Sound off in comments.