As women's colleges across the country assess their policies toward transgender and nonbinary students, Mount Holyoke College is making headlines for its moves to promote inclusion on campus.
The diversity policies of the college, which is a member of the Seven Sisters colleges, made news recently as a result of the school's guidelines to staff on its Teaching and Learning Initiative.
Under the initiative’s section “Supporting Trans and Non-Binary Students,” the policy advises educators to refer to the student body as "Mount Holyoke students" rather than "Mount Holyoke women" and avoid statements like “We’re all women here.”
It also tells teachers to use gender-neutral language whenever possible, especially in syllabi and written communication.
Amy L., a senior at Mount Holyoke who did not want to use her last name for publication, said she believes her school is going in the right direction with its diversity and inclusion policies.
“As much as I love this place, I don’t think any place is perfect, but we’re making strides in the right direction in terms of embodying what it means to be at an inclusive college,” she said.
Amy wasn’t surprised about the policy and was more surprised that it wasn’t already in place.
“We have a trans-inclusive policy at Mount Holyoke, and we’re gender inclusive here, so we’re going to use the language that embodies those policies that they’ve embraced,” she said.
Mount Holyoke’s transgender admissions policy was developed in the summer of 2014 after Mills College became the first single-sex U.S. college to accept applications from any eligible students that self-identify as female.