College Institutes New Admissions Policy that Covers Transgender Applicants
August 26, 2014 by Candace Gingrich, Associate Director, Youth and Campus Engagement Program
There are 119 single-sex schools of higher education in the United States, but only one of them has an admissions policy that covers transgender applicants - and it’s a new one.
Starting in September, all-women's school Mills College (Oakland, Calif.) will accept Spring 2015 applicants who self-identify as women, including trans women and those who may not fit the gender binary.
In an interview with KQED radio, Vice President of Enrollment Brian O'Rourke said that the policy is a "codification of our practice for several years" and a result of an initiative by the Mills College Diversity & Social Justice Committee to make the school as inclusive as possible in the application process. When asked about students who may enter Mills identifying as female but then transitioning to and/or identifying as male, O'Rourke stated that "if a student is admitted to Mills, we want them to graduate."
The new written policy has had its detractors, but support from many in the student body has been strong. In the same radio interview, senior Mills student Tess Filbeck-Bates lauded the college for supporting diversity not just when it is easy, but by being a leader.
Further evidence of Mills' inclusiveness can be found in the campus student directory which allows students to list the pronouns to which they prefer to be addressed. With this written policy Mills has "set the tone to create a campus culture that is more inclusive and more safe," senior Sonj Basha said.
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