Second Oldest Women’s College Will Accept Transgender Students Next Fall

Hickman Hall at Stephens CollegePhoto: Wikipedia

Mila Madison

Located in Columbia, Missouri, Stephens College is currently the second largest all-women’s college in the United States. The college announced they have been considering the policy change since 2014, a year when Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Holyoke Mills College, Smith, and Wellesley all adopted policies allowing the admission of transgender students.

As of today, out of 39 women’s colleges that belong to the Women’s College Coalition, 26 have adopted inclusive policies towards gender identity.

According to an [FAQ]( posted by the college, they have expanded their “definition of womanhood to include both sex and gender,” and the new policy would go into effect for the fall semester of 2019. Stephens will now accept transgender women and students who were assigned female at birth and identify as non-binary. The school will not allow male identifying students to enroll whether they are transgender or cisgender. It will also not allow any students who were assigned male at birth and identify as either non-binary or genderfluid. Any students who transition to male during a semester would be allowed to complete it; however they would then need to transfer to another institution after the semester has been completed. Transgender students who wish to enroll at Stephens would be required to prove that they identify and live as female through legal documentation.

“The world’s understanding of and definition of womanhood is changing, and Stephens is evolving — just as it always has — to ensure that it continues to provide the extraordinary experience of a Stephens College education to all women who seek and will benefit from it,” the school’s FAQ states.

According to the school’s announcement, their decision to update their policy was unanimous. They notified their current students and faculty via email. They also posted a timeline of their process on the school’s website.