All female California college changes policy to allow trans students

Mills_Hall_(Oakland,_CA)Mills College, a women’s liberal arts college in Oakland, Calif., recently amended its undergraduate admissions policy to allow transgender students to enroll. Following a unanimous vote in favor of the policy by the school’s trustees in May, the undergraduate admissions policy went into effect today, the school’s first day of classes.

The historically progressive women’s college is the only of the country’s 119 single-sex colleges to have a codified policy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The policy amendments only impact applicants and students in the undergraduate program. Its graduate programs are co-educational.

Under the new policy applicants may now include self-identified females as well as those who identify as gender-fluid but were born female. Applicants who were assigned female at birth but have legally become male are not allowed to apply to the undergraduate program. The amendments also now allow current students who transitioned after enrolling to graduate.

“Of the roughly 1,000 undergraduates at Mills, three to five each year are transgender or identify as something other than the gender they were assigned at birth,” Brian O’Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions, told the Chronicle.

Incoming student body president Skylar Crownover, who identifies as male, said it was always understood at Mills, but not codified. “Mills has the most open policy with regards to trans students” he said.

 

 

—  James Russell

Elmhurst College becomes 1st to ask about sexual orientation

Circle Hall at Elmhurst College

Students who identify as LGBT might qualify for scholarships, can be directed to campus groups, president says

Associated Press

ELMHURST, Ill. — Elmhurst College in suburban Chicago has become the first in the country to ask students directly on admissions applications about their gender identity and sexual orientation.

The application asks: “Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?”

Students who answer “yes” may be eligible for a scholarship that will pay up to a third of tuition, said Gary Rold, the college’s dean of admissions. The information also will help officials direct incoming students to services and groups that could help them on campus, Rold added.

“Increasing diversity is part of our mission statement,” Rold told the Chicago Sun-Times. “This is simply closing the loop, in many ways, of another group who has a very strong identity. It may not be race and religion, but it’s an important part of who they are.”

The question will appear on applications for students hoping to start in the fall of 2012. Like questions about race and religion, answering is optional and will not affect admissions decisions.

Elmhurst College is a private, liberal arts college that has 3,300 undergraduate students. It is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

“It is kind of a pleasant surprise that Elmhurst College in Illinois is the first campus to ask an identity question,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, a national nonprofit group. “Some of the leaders in college admissions have done similar stuff but never asked the question.”

Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, SunTimes.com.

—  John Wright