An historically black college and university, or HBCU, joins the ranks of all-women’s colleges that officially have an admissions policy for transgender students this 2018-2019 academic year, according to Diverse Education. Spelman College — one of two historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is solely for women, and all eyes will be on the black university to see what it does next.
“Although trans women and other students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) have attended the college since its inception, the Atlanta-based HBCU’s updated admissions and enrollment policy extending admissions consideration to trans women comes with new challenges and expectations from internal and external institutional constituents,” writes Tiffany Pennamon of Diverse Education, detailing the new change in policy at Spelman that shows the black university efforts to have inclusion of all students who identify as women.
“The new admissions policy considering “women students including students who consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth,” continues the college’s “fervent belief in the power of the Spelman Sisterhood,” wrote Spelman’s president, Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, in a letter to the college community last September.”
“Last April, a Transgender Policy Task Force made up of representatives from Spelman’s administration, board of trustees, student body, housing and academic departments convened to educate task force participants and members of the Spelman community on issues affecting the consideration of admission eligibility and enrollment of transgender students in the months before the policy announcement,” writes Pennamon, adding, “And last July, Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman, launched the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Scholars Program and lecture series, giving two students who self-identified as LGBTQ advocates a renewable $25,000 scholarship each.”
“Guy-Sheftall says that the scholars will “call attention to the importance of making visible the courageous and significant work of LGBTQ scholar activists within and beyond the academy, especially at HBCUs.””