Scripps College announced today that its Board of Trustees has approved a more trans-inclusive admissions policy. The policy allows applicants “who report that the sex currently listed on their birth certificate is female” and applicants who self-identify as women to apply for admission.
Previously, only students assigned female at birth could apply to the college, a restriction that excluded transgender women. Under the new policy, transgender women will be eligible for admission, as well as transgender men who have not changed their birth certificate to indicate that they are male. Despite the wishes of many Scripps students, the policy will not allow non-binary or non-conforming students assigned male at birth to apply for admission.
Scripps students were notified of the decision via an email sent out the afternoon of Dec. 6 from Board of Trustees Chair Mark Herron, Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga and President of the Alumnae Association Libby DeMeo. The announcement also upholds Scripps’ policy of not requiring government-issued documentation to verify sex or gender identity.
Bettison-Varga sent an email to the Scripps community Nov. 13 with a proposal for the policy change, which was created by the college’s senior administration with extensive feedback from students. In a poll organized by the Scripps Associated Students (SAS) and taken by over 498 Scripps students, 94 percent voted in favor of the policy.
“I can’t help but be happy,” SAS President Alexandra Frumkin SC ’15 said. “It’s not perfect but it’s a huge step for the school, to help make our policy more inclusive.”
Scripps joins Mills College and Mount Holyoke College, which both adopted more inclusive admissions policies this semester. Mount Holyoke, which allows applications for non-binary individuals assigned male at birth, has the most inclusive policy of the three.
“It’s a big step nationally,” Frumkin said. “Hopefully this will put more pressure on women’s colleges that haven’t changed their policy or haven’t made any announcements for them to realize that the national landscape really is changing.”
The newly approved policy is not as expansive as a student-written proposal that, in addition to including cisgender women, transgender women and transgender men, called for the inclusion of students of other genders, including non-binary and genderqueer students, regardless of gender assigned at birth. The petition in support of that proposal received over 500 signatures and was presented in front of the board.
Sarah Dupree SC ’18 was one of the students who wished for a more inclusive policy.
“The decision today does not include non-binary genders, which I think is a conversation that should be had,” she said. “I think that this is one step toward starting that conversation.”
SAS Student Affairs Representative Jackie Givelber SC ’17 said that the policy excludes transgender men who
have changed their birth certificate to indicate that they are male, even
though “we wanted all trans men to
be eligible for admission at Scripps.”
Frumkin also expressed her disappointed at this aspect of
the policy change, explaining that she does not see why it matters
“if the birth certificate has changed six months before applying to
Scripps or six months after applying to Scripps.”
“It’s definitely a conversation we will continue to
have with the board,” she said.
Givelber said that the announcement is an important step forward, but more can be done.
“It’s not an end goal—it’s a great step in the right direction but just one piece of the puzzle,” Givelber said.