Morehouse College, the nation’s only historically black, all-male institution of higher learning, announced a new policy on Saturday, which states it will begin admitting transgender men in Fall 2020.
According to a news release from the school, Morehouse developed the policy after 15 months of community engagement with faculty, staff, students, and alumni led by a task force created by the university’s president, Dr. David A. Thomas.
“In a rapidly changing world that includes a better understanding of gender identity, we’re proud to expand our admissions policy to consider trans men who want to be part of an institution that has produced some of the greatest leaders in social justice, politics, business, and the arts for more than 150 years,” said Terrance Dixon, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Morehouse.
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However, the policy also states the school will still use masculine pronouns when referring to students to maintain its language of brotherhood, refrain from admitting transgender women, and students will not be allowed to matriculate if they transition from male to female.
Students and alumni have mixed feelings about the progressiveness of the policy, officially titled the Gender Identity Admissions and Matriculation Policy.
In an interview with the New York Times, Morehouse student, Marquintas Oldham, 21, who identifies as “queer, non-binary” and who prefers to use the pronouns “they” and “their,” said their existence was being erased.
“They said in their policy that they are going to still use male-gendered language and that affects me. Sometimes I do dress as a feminine, non-binary person, so when I dress the way I want to dress and it’s a problem, that affects me,” Oldham told the Times.
But Morehouse alum Rashad Raymond Moore, 29, told the Times the policy was a move in the right direction, adding he felt it important to keep the school’s all-male tradition.
“I do believe Morehouse needs to move forward in an intentional way,” Moore said.
Boasting distinguished alumni that range from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Spike Lee, Morehouse has been at the intersection of education and culture for blacks and underserved populations for over 150 years.
Thomas told The Associated Press it will continue to do so.
“I think Morehouse having the courage to speak to issues of masculinity in today’s environment is important,” Thomas told AP. “For 152 years, the world has, in some way, seen Morehouse as the West Point of black male development.”