Smith College Now Admits Trans Women
Smith College has formally changed its admission policy to be inclusive of trans-feminine people.
The prestigious women's college, which in the past has come under fire for refusing to admit trans students, released an announcement this week clarifying that it will consider any applicant who identifies as a woman.
"Applicants who were assigned male at birth but identify as women are eligible for admission," the statement reads.
In the announcement, structured as a Q&A, Smith College also stipulated that it would not accept transgender men or genderqueer applicant who do not identify as female on the Common Application.
However, the "admission policy does not affect students who transition during their time at Smith," the policy notes. "Once admitted, every student has the full support of the college and this includes transmen."
The changes will go into effect for applicants in fall 2015.
Smith College becomes the seventh prominent women's university to announce a formal trans-inclusive policy, following schools like Bryn Mawr College, Simmons College, Mount Holyoke College, Wellesley College, and Mills College.
Smith College, in particular, has come under fire for its policy since 2013, gaining national attention for denying an application from trans student Calliope Wong because she was not legally recognized as female in her home state of Connecticut.
After a Change.org petition gathered 4,000 signatures in support of Wong, Smith's dean of admissions, Debra Shaver, announced that a committee would begin meeting to discuss the needs of prospective trans students. Smith officials said they had temporarily stopped rejecting applications from trans women during that time.
"Is Smith College still a women's college?" is the first question listed in the new announcement. The response?
"Yes. Smith College’s mission — to educate women of promise for lives of distinction — remains unchanged. The board’s decision reaffirms this mission in light of society’s evolving understanding of female identity."