“New Directions for Student Services” is a professional text addressing progressing and inclusive policies for student affairs officials. Chapter 5, Transgender Issues on College Campuses by Brett Beemyn, Billy Curtis, Masen Davis, & Nancy Jean Tubbs addresses the following:
This chapter discusses the experiences of transgender students and how student affairs professionals may effectively address these students’ needs in areas of campus life where transgender students have unique concerns:
- educational programs
- support services
- Inclusive policies
- bathrooms & locker rooms
- counseling & health care
- college records & documents
How do you think Student Affairs at Hollins supports Transgender student in these areas?
How could Hollins do more?
“What Do Women’s Colleges and Religious Schools Have in Common?” by Shay O’Reilly is features our transgender policy here at Hollins. The article is from Campus Progress. In their own words, they are a national organization that works with and for young people to promote progressive solutions to key political and social challenges.
The unflattering article states:
Virginia’s Hollins University has one of the more extreme policies, requiring the expulsion of trans men who begin transition either through taking hormones, having surgery, or undergoing a legal name change related to a female-to-male transition. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last month that the policy has drawn scrutiny from, according to the university, “students and others.” While no-one has been forced out under the policy, several students have cited it in their decision to transfer.
Hollins is an unusual case, as many trans men find women’s colleges welcoming when they come out.
How does this policy represent Hollins?
“Better Dead than Co-ed”? Transgender Students at an All-Women’s College by Laura MinSun Brymer (from the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law) is a scholarly text that discusses transgender students in relation to the definition of woman.
The article “advocates for a looser definition of the terms ‘woman’ and ‘all-women’s college.’ Because ‘woman’ is not clearly defined in the law, all-women’s colleges can take advantage of this flexibility to craft policies that will enhance diversity and embrace the nontraditional.”
Like the title of the article mentions, “better dead than co-ed” is a common reference to a university’s commitment to remaining a single sex institution. After all, “the number of women’s colleges in the United States declined by nearly two-thirds between 1960 and 1986.”
But the question is, do transgender students signify co-education? How do you define woman?
Published over a year ago, the CNN article titled, “Male, female or neither? Gender Identity Debated at Same-sex Colleges” by Stephanie Chen touches apon the challenges facing same sex universities as they begin to adopt transgender policies. The article feature two single sex institutions: Morehouse (all mens) and Mount Holyoke (all womens).
“After interviewing more than 30 administrators at women’s colleges, Marine [a trans scholar] said there are concerns that alumni will react negatively to the idea of allowing cross-dressing or nongender-conforming students on campus. As a result, they could refuse to donate money to the school.”
However. “in 2003, a student-led initiative at Smith College replaced gender-specific language in the student government constitution such as “she” and “her” with more neutral terms. ”
Is Hollins responsible to its alumni or its current students?
Smith changed its constitution to be more inclusive almost ten years ago! We adopted our policy four years ago… is hollins stuck in the past?
After reading about Smith’s success, what student-led initiative would you like to create? What change would you like to see?
Transitioning Hollins has created a facebook page!
Similar to our blog, we believe social media platforms such as facebook can provide an opportunity for education and discussion on the issue of our transgender policy. We hope to begin a dialogue between members of the Hollins community.
Please visit our facebook page and continue to read our blog. But most importantly, please comment on our posts! We want to hear your voice. This policy is a representation of all of us, how does it make you feel?
Check out this list of 420 Colleges and Universities that have Nondiscrimination Policies that Include Gender Identity/ Gender Expression. The list was compiled by TransgenderLaw.org
There are only three colleges/universities from Virginia: Randolph-Macon, University of Richmond, & Virginia International University.
The New York Times wrote an article titled “When Girls Will Be Boys” addressing transgender students at single sex institutions as early as 2008. This is the same year our transgender policy was introduced. Here is just an excerpt of what the author, Alissa Quart, wrote:
“Same-sex colleges have always been test beds for transformations among American women. … It was, after all, at all-female schools that many young women first began to question the very notion of femininity. … For [some scholars], femaleness did not automatically produce femininity and maleness did not produce masculinity: gender was fluid and variable, something to be fashioned, and could shift in character depending on the culture or the time period. As some see it, the presence of trans students at single-sex colleges is simply a logical extension of this intellectual tradition.”
Are transgender students an extension of a all women’s education?