Barnard College, the New York City women’s liberal-arts college, announced Thursday that it will begin accepting applications from “individuals who consistently live and identify as women,” regardless of their sex at birth, a move that was applauded by transgender advocates. The decision followed years of debate and study by the board of trustees, including a year-long campuswide discussion that included five town-hall meetings and an online inquiry. “There was no question that Barnard must reaffirm its mission as a college for women. And there was little debate that trans women should be eligible for admission to Barnard,” Barnard president Debora Spar and Barnard board chairwoman Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald wrote in a letter to students. Barnard’s new policy will go into effect for applicants applying in the fall of 2016 to be part of the class of 2020, according to school officials. The school will consider all students who identify as female, “and her application materials must support this self-identification,” but will not be considering students who identify as transgender men or as gender-fluid. Other women’s schools in the U.S., such as Wellesley, Smith and Bryn Mawr, have already made similar changes to their admissions policies.
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