Salem College Transgender Policy Unclear

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, March 11, 2013

Two months after Salem College announced it was developing a policy on transgender students, a letter from the chairman of the trustees is being interpreted by some in the college community as an indication that no overt policy will be adopted.

The letter never uses the word “transgender,” and school officials won’t say whether they still plan a policy.

Charles A. Blixt, the chairman of the school’s board, says in the letter sent by email Feb. 22 that the board “had carefully considered all input from members of the Salem family, including faculty, staff, students and alumnae; reviewed the policies of other institutions, specifically women’s-only colleges; evaluated legal responsibilities; and discussed best practices in higher education.” Noticeably, the letter doesn’t say what subject the “input” was about, or what types of policies or practices were reviewed.

It does say that the board, after “lengthy discussion and due consideration” had reaffimed that it “values its students as individuals” and that “the wellbeing of all students is of paramount importance.” It also says that the board reaffirmed that "it has no intention of admitting men to Salem's traditional undergraduate program or becoming a co-educational institution."

Salem spokewoman Michelle Melton would not discuss the implications of the letter for transgender students or say whether Salem has transgender students. When asked why the word “transgender” wasn’t used in the letter, Melton said, “Does it need to be?”

“The trustees have affirmed Salem's mission to admit only women in its undergraduate traditional degree program,” she said. “Salem will not discuss its students.”

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