Spelman College, the prestigious HBCU in Atlanta, Ga., recently announced it is considering changing its policies to admit transgender students to its all-women’s campus.

President Mary Schmidt Campbell announced the formation of a task force to study the issue in a welcome back letter to the campus community. Fall classes began Aug. 17.

SpelmanCollege Twitter Photo

Spelman College (Twitter Photo)

She said Ingrid Hayes, vice president for Enrollment Management, would head the task force, which is expected to make a report with recommendations by the end of the academic year.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Spelman is the latest prestigious women’s college to ponder the enrollment of transgender students. Members of The Seven Sisters, an association of historical women’s institutions in the northeast, have already enacted those policies.

The new admittance policies follow similar trends in education regarding transgender individuals. Back in May, the Obama administration released guidance for schools regarding their obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which mandates that schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status. Among other policies, the guidance said a transgender student should be able to use the sex-segregated restroom that is consistent with his or her gender identity.

“What happened, and what continues to happen, is you have transgender kids in schools, and they get bullied, and they get ostracized, and it’s tough for them,” President Obama said during a town hall Q&A in June. “…And schools are asking us, the Department of Education, for guidance, how should we deal with this?  And my answer is that we should deal with this issue the same way we’d want it dealt with if it was our child.  And that is to try to create an environment of some dignity and kindness for these kids.  And that’s sort of the bottom line.”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO