Morehouse Will Start Admitting Transgender Men

College -- the only historically black institution for men -- will ask students who transition to become women to leave.

April 15, 2019

Morehouse College, one of the few remaining all-male colleges and the only one that is historically black, has announced that it will start admitting transgender men. A statement released Saturday said, "The Morehouse College Board of Trustees has approved a gender identity policy that will allow individuals who self-identify as men, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth, to be considered for admission in the nation’s only historically black school for men."

The policy adds that "once admitted to the college, all students are expected to self-identify as men throughout their education at Morehouse. If a student transitions from a man to a woman, that student will no longer be eligible to matriculate at Morehouse."

Many women's colleges have adopted policies that are based on the point of admission, admitting only those who are legally women or identify as women, but not taking any adverse actions against those admitted who may while enrolled transition to become a man.

Morehouse has been reviewing the issue of transgender students for the last 15 months. Many women's colleges several years ago started to admit applicants who identify as women, even if those applicants were not born as or do not have a legal designation as being women. Spelman College, a historically black women's college located next door to Morehouse, made such a move in 2017, raising questions at the time about Morehouse.

In 2017, Morehouse pledged to discuss the issue but announced no changes in its admissions policy.

Also at that time, two other all-male colleges said that they were not changing policies to accept transgender students. A Hampden-Sydney College spokesman said, "We do not admit men who were not born as male." And Wabash College said its policy was to admit only students who are "legally male as defined by the state in which we are chartered" (Indiana).

Officials of those colleges did not respond to email messages over the weekend to see if those policies remain in place.

Shane Windmeyer of Campus Pride, a group that advocates for gay, lesbian and transgender students, said via email that Morehouse deserved praise for only part of its new policy. "While it is wonderful that Morehouse has finally taken a step toward trans inclusion like the historically women's college HBCUs Spelman and Bennett, it is disappointing that they will not allow someone assigned male at birth who subsequently decides that they are not male to stay. Many historically women's colleges, including nearby Spelman, enable individuals assigned female who no longer identify as female to graduate," he said.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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