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Tipsheet

Students at All-Women’s College Vote to Admit Transgender and Non-Binary Applicants

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Students at the all-women’s Wellesley College in Massachusetts approved a referendum this week to accept applications from prospective students who identify as “transgender” and “non-binary.”

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According to CNN, the referendum, which was non-binding, asked students if they supported a proposal to be presented to the Board of Trustees that would expand the school’s admissions policy and adopt gender-neutral language, replacing all “gender-specific” like “women” and “she/her” pronouns with “students” and “they/them” pronouns.

Reportedly, the school did not share the vote counts or the percentage of how many students voted in favor of the referendum with CNN.

“Although there is no plan to revisit its mission as a women’s college or its admissions policy, the College will continue to engage all students, including transgender male and nonbinary students, in the important work of building an inclusive academic community where everyone feels they belong,” Wellesley’s Director of Media Relations Stacey Schmeidel said in a statement to CNN after the vote. Current policy allows students to stay enrolled at the school if they transition to become “trans men” after they are admitted.

Townhall covered how the referendum took place after some students voiced concerns about the school’s current admissions policies, which only admit students who “live and consistently identify” as women. Some students described the policies as “transphobic.” 

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According to the New York Times, Wellesley is not the first women’s college to “grapple” with the issue of admitting transgender students. Reportedly, Sweet Briar College in Virginia requires applicants who are not biological females to show an amended birth certificate showing the person’s gender as female. And, when Mount Holyoke College changed its admissions policy in 2014, alumni reportedly voiced “deep concerns.”   

Elizabeth Um, a Wellesley senior who leads the school’s pro-life group, told the Times that she chose the school in part because it is a women’s college. Those who are not women can choose to go to another school.

“If you don’t think you can fit in here, then you have your pick of thousands of other coed colleges in the country or the world,” she said, adding, “We’re a women’s college. That’s the core identity of the school, and we can’t start watering that down.”

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