Catholic Women’s College Changes Course on Admitting Transgender Students

( – The transgender debate is one that has been center stage all year. Many organizations have issued decisions on whether or not to allow transgender women to participate in various avenues, such as women’s sports, or attend all-women’s schools. One college that had agreed to consider admitting transgender women has now reversed course.

In November, The Observer quoted Saint Mary’s College President Katie Conboy’s email in which she acknowledged the college wasn’t the first to adopt the policy and that she “relied on the guidance of the executive team and others” in creating it. It was a decision adopted by the Board of Trustees in June to allow those who identified and lived as women to attend. However, in December, after facing backlash, the school reversed its course.

One of those who spoke out about the decision was Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades. He admonished the school for acting in a manner contrary to the Catholic Church’s beliefs. In a statement, he urged the college’s Board of Trustees “to correct its admissions policy in fidelity to the Catholic identity” while simultaneously rejecting “ideologies of gender” that go against the church’s teachings.

In December, Conboy issued another email, as reported by The Pillar, noting that the ideology the college took on was “not shared by all members of [its] community.” As such, it would not be moving forward with considering transgender women for admission. She noted that the college also apologized to the community for sowing division but acknowledged that there is a “complexity” when it comes to living as a Catholic in the face of a changing world.

Conboy said the college will continue to navigate these changes and commit to the “journey toward equity, inclusion, and justice,” but will do so as a community rather than make decisions unilaterally.

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