May 2, 2015
At its May 2 meeting, the Smith College Board of Trustees voted to clarify Smith’s undergraduate admission policy to include self-identified transgender women. The board’s decision affirms Smith’s unwavering mission and identity as a women’s college, our commitment to representing the diversity of women’s lived experiences, and the college’s exceptional role in the advancement of women worldwide.
The policy decision is the culmination of a year of formal study, during which the board and an appointed Admission Policy Study Group reviewed Smith’s admission policy in light of society’s evolving understanding of gender. The study group listened carefully to the voices of the campus community, Smith alumnae, and parents; consulted outside experts, including legal experts; and conducted its own research. The recommendations of the study group, as well as an advisory vote of the faculty, informed the board’s decision.
The policy affirmed by the board will pertain to any student applying in the fall of 2015 and thereafter. More information about the policy is available here.
In keeping with our tradition and identity as a college of and for women, Smith will continue to use gendered language, including female pronouns, in institutional communications.
The mission of Smith College is to educate women of promise for lives of distinction. In the years since Smith’s founding, concepts of female identity have evolved. Smith alumnae have been leaders in the movement to afford women greater freedoms of aspiration and self-expression. At the same time, educational settings in which women are central remain powerfully transformative.
As we reflect on how Smith lives its values—a commitment to access and diversity, to respecting the dignity of every individual, and to educating women for leadership across all realms of society—we will be called, in changing times, to consider anew how we will choose to be a women’s college. We thank the study group for its careful listening and serious deliberation over the last year, as well as the thousands of individuals in the Smith community who took the time to share their views on this important issue. Our clarified admission policy reflects a women’s college that is steadfast in its founding mission yet evolving to reflect a changing world.
Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard ’69
Chair, Board of Trustees