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Catholic women’s college to admit students who ‘identify as women’ in fall 2024

Saint Mary’s still working on housing plans, president says

Saint Mary’s College will begin admitting students who “identify as women” in the fall of 2024, the president of the Catholic institution recently announced.

The new non-discrimination policy at the Indiana school states that admissions will be open to undergraduate students “whose sex is female or who consistently live and identify as women.”

Saint Mary’s President Katie Conboy informed the campus of the change in an email last week, saying the Board of Trustees “fully supports” it, The Observer student newspaper reported.

“This confidence from our Board underscores their commitment that as an employer, Saint Mary’s must stand firm in its position as an inclusive community leader, and that as educators, we should continue to create an environment where all women belong and thrive,” Conboy wrote.

The college will begin considering transgender student applicants in the fall 2024, according to her email.

Conboy said she created a President’s Task Force for Gender Identity and Expression earlier this year after the Board of Trustees approved the policy on June 23. She said the task force plans to issue recommendations soon regarding housing and other considerations involving the new policy.

“We are by no means the first Catholic women’s college to adopt a policy with this scope,” Conboy wrote. “In drafting the language for this update, I have relied on the guidance of the Executive Team and others to ensure that our message is not only in line with best practices for today’s college students, but that it also encompasses our commitment to operate as a Catholic women’s college.”

The announcement drew backlash from students, women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines, and others.

“This is the same St Mary’s that wouldn’t allow a student-led @TPUSA chapter because their messaging on biological sex does ‘not align’ with the college’s mission,” Gaines wrote on X. “If I was an alum, I wouldn’t give this school another dime.”

Claire Bettag, a junior at Saint Mary’s, told The Daily Signal she is concerned that women will be forced to share bathrooms and living quarters with men.

“Saint Mary’s College is no longer Catholic,” Bettag said. “It is no longer a women’s institution. This is fraudulent misrepresentation at best. Every student should be entitled to a refund for fraudulent misrepresentation. An attorney should file a class action lawsuit against the college. They have abandoned their faith, and they’ve abandoned the women.”

In recent years, several other historically women’s colleges, including Christian institutions, have revised admissions policies to include biological men who identify as women.

Earlier this year, two affiliated Catholic colleges in Minnesota – the College of Saint Benedict for Women and Saint John’s University for Men – adopted a new policy allowing “non-binary, gender-fluid, and gender-nonconforming individuals” to enroll in a men’s or women’s college based on the sex with which they identify, The College Fix reported.

Another private institution, Wellesley College in Massachusetts admitted its first “transgender woman” in 2017.

MORE: ‘Living as a man’: An all-male college can’t explain its own transgender admission policy

IMAGE: Saint Mary’s College/Facebook

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.