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Catholic women’s college reverses course, won’t admit men ‘who identify as women’

‘We have listened closely, and we have heard each of you’

A Catholic women’s college in Indiana will drop its plan to admit men “who identify as women,” following significant backlash.

Saint Mary’s College changed its admissions policy for the 2024-25 semester to include students “whose sex is female or who consistently live and identify as women,” but then faced criticism from students, alumni, and the local bishop.

President Katie Conboy announced yesterday the college would reverse its decision.

“This has weighed heavily on our minds and in our hearts,” she wrote in the email, obtained by The Daily Signal. “There have been many voices responding to us from many places and perspectives. We have listened closely, and we have heard each of you.”

Conboy wrote further:

Some worried that this was much more than a policy decision: they felt it was a dilution of our mission or even a threat to our Catholic identity. Moreover, we clearly underestimated our community’s genuine desire to be engaged in the process of shaping a policy of such significance. As this last month unfolded, we lost people’s trust and unintentionally created division where we had hoped for unity. For this, we are deeply sorry.

The decision came after students met with Conboy. Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend also met with President Conboy last week.

The bishop previously criticized the school’s decision, made without his consultation.

“It is disappointing that I, as bishop of the diocese in which Saint Mary’s College is located, was not included or consulted on a matter of important Catholic teaching,” Rhoades previously wrote.

“Bishops have a particular responsibility to ‘promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening’ of the Catholic identity of the Catholic colleges and universities in their diocese,” he wrote, citing a papal document that instructs bishops to ensure schools in their jurisdiction remain faithful.

After the meeting, Conboy sent out an email, reviewed by The Fix, that appeared to hold to the new transgender policy that has since been dropped.

The school’s “identity” as a “Catholic women’s college” “must never change,” Conboy wrote on Dec. 13.

She however added her support for LGBTQ people.

“I want to express my emphatic support for all members of our queer, non-binary, and trans communities. Our College is better and stronger because you are here!”

MORE: I’m a new graduate. Here’s why I chose a small Catholic college

IMAGE: Saint Mary’s College/Facebook

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