News from the academic world

On Tuesday, Spelman College president Mary Schmidt Campbell announced that the all-women HBCU starting next year will accept all students who "consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of assignment at birth."

Spelman is located in Atlanta.

In adopting this admissions policy, Spelman continues its fervent belief in the power of the Spelman Sisterhood. Students who choose Spelman come to our campus prepared to participate in a women’s college that is academically and intellectually rigorous, and affirms its core mission as the education and development of high-achieving Black women.

--President's letter to students, faculty and staff

Transgender students who identify as men will not be admitted, Spelman explained. Housing accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who transition to male after they’ve enrolled at Spelman will still be awarded a degree.

I applaud my beloved alma mater’s proactive stance while still honoring the institution’s traditons. I am as proud of Spelman College as I was the first moment I set foot on campus more than 25 years ago.

--1994 graduate Charmagne Helton

Bennett College, the nation’s only other all-female HBCU, located in Greensboro, N.C., also allows transgender female students.

Meanwhile, in Bristol, Rhode Island, Roger Williams University President Donald Farish has noticed a problem. RWU says it doesn't discriminate based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, so Farish says that President Trump's ban on transgender troops could lead to termination of the school's ROTC program.

We have to reconcile, come to grips with, deal with, the fact that the president said it’s alright to discriminate against transgenders. And that creates a dilemma.

--President Farish

According to Farish, there won’t be any immediate actions from the school since Trump’s ban has not gone into effect. In the meantime, Farish said he wants to have a campus conversation.

One of the options would be to say anybody in the program today stays in the program. We won’t end the program until the last person in it graduates. We wouldn’t take any more people in the program.

The other alternative would be to say, well, we can end the program, but we would have to provide equivalent scholarship support for those students [in ROTC].

A third option would be to allow the ROTC program to continue, even if a ban was implemented.

--Farish

Being an ROTC student at Western Kentucky.

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