After months of study and consultation, the Board of Trustees of Bryn Mawr College voted at its Feb. 7 meeting to accept the recommendation of its board working group charged with reviewing the College’s mission with regard to transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming applicants.
Specifically, the board-accepted recommendation strongly affirms the College’s mission—to educate women to be future leaders—and in this mission context more clearly articulates the eligible undergraduate applicant pool. In addition to those applicants who were assigned female at birth, the applicant pool will be inclusive of transwomen and of intersex individuals who live and identify as women at the time of application. Intersex individuals who do not identify as male are also eligible for admission. Those assigned female at birth who have taken medical or legal steps to identify as male are not eligible for admission.
In cases where an applicant’s gender identity is not clearly reflected in their application materials, the College may request additional information, which could include verifiable legal or medical steps taken to affirm gender. In evaluating such additional information, the College fully intends to be as flexible and inclusive as possible.
In September, Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy proposed a board working group to create greater clarity in the College’s undergraduate admissions policy. At its Sept. 20, 2014, meeting, the Board accepted this proposal. In October, the working group began its work, holding numerous community listening sessions, gathering feedback from alumnae/i, obtaining legal consultation, and meeting often as a group.
“I am very grateful to the working group for the time and the highly deliberative and consultative process they put into this recommendation,” said Bryn Mawr College Board Chair Arlene Gibson. “Bryn Mawr continues its clear mission to educate women to be future leaders, but it also recognizes that conceptions of gender are changing and that the College must respond to these changes.”
The next step in the process is for the faculty Committee on Undergraduate Admissions to review the existing admissions policy in light of the Board’s decision.
The College’s admissions policy will be updated to articulate these guidelines more clearly prior to the start of the 2015-16 application cycle.
“I appreciate the work of our Board, its affirmation of the College’s mission as a women’s college and its guidelines for implementing that mission and am pleased the College will now be more explicit about welcoming transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming applicants,“ said President Cassidy.