125-Year-Old NY Women’s College Will Start Admitting Male Transgender Students

By Abigail Wilkinson | June 5, 2015 | 1:08 PM EDT


Barnard College's Greek Games statue features a female athlete.(Photo courtesy of Billy Hathorn /Wikimedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) -- Barnard College, an all-women’s college in New York City that is affiliated with Columbia University, announced on Thursday that it will consider transgender “women” for admission. This means “those applicants who consistently live and identify as women,” even if they were biologically identified as males at birth.

The announcement came just days after former Olympian Bruce Jenner made a debut as a transgendered woman named “Caitlyn” on the cover of Vanity Fair.

The new policy, which coincides with Barnard’s 125th anniversary, will be implemented for students applying for admission for the fall 2016 semester.

“Since its founding in 1889, Barnard’s mission has been to provide generations of promising, high-achieving young women with an outstanding liberal arts education in a community where women lead,” Barnard President Debora Spar and Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald, chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

“Every aspect of this unique environment is, and always will be, designed and implemented to serve women, and to prepare our graduates to flourish and make a difference in the world,” they said, adding that this policy change occurs “in furtherance of our mission, tradition and values as a women’s college, and in recognition of our changing world and evolving understanding of gender identity.”

Barnard is the last of the "Seven Sister" schools to admit transgender women. Other women’s colleges have similar open policies regarding transgender students.

For example, Mount Holyoke College only denies admission to those students who are biologically male and identify as such. Biologically born females, even if they identify as male, and males who identify “as other/they/ze and when ‘other/they’ identity includes woman” are eligible to enroll.

But the admission of biological males to all-women’s colleges also raises questions about their mission to educate women.

“What would you say to those who consider this definition of a ‘woman’ anti-feminist?” CNSNews.com asked a Barnard College representative. She refused to comment and abruptly ended the interview. 

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