Simmons College in Boston is the third U.S. women’s college – and the second in Massachusetts - to officially accept applications from transgender students.
Simmons has long admitted gender nonconforming students, but is now formalizing its admissions policy and accepting students born female, regardless of their current gender identity, as well as those who were born male and now identify as female.
This fall, Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts became the second all women's college in the U.S. to begin accepting applications from transgender students. The announcement was received positively on the South Hadley campus, but it's also raising questions about Mount Holyoke's identity as the oldest women's college in the country.
Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts is now accepting applications from transgender students. That means there could be students on campus who are biologically male, but identify as female. Or there could be students who are biologically female, but identify as male.
On Campus recently reported on this new policy change, talking to administrators and students on campus. But we wanted to hear from more voices than we could fit into one radio story, so we reached out to graduates of women's colleges and members of the transgender community. We asked: Does accepting transgender students change what a women's college is? Do you think there's space for exclusivity based on gender in higher education today?
They’ve been part of the higher education landscape since 1837 when Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., opened its doors. But today, some women’s colleges are struggling to fill their seats.
Twice in the past six months, trustees at traditionally women-only schools have responded to that challenge by voting to go co-ed.
Today, there are only about 50 women’s colleges left in the U.S. That’s down from more than 250 in 1950. Twice in the past six months, trustees at traditionally women’s colleges have voted to go coed: Pennsylvania’s Wilson College in January and then right here in WGBH’s backyard in July.