Announcement of Undergraduate Transgender Admission Policy

November 05, 2014

Dear Simmons Community,

I am writing to you today to share our undergraduate admission policy for transgender applicants. This policy is consistent with the mission and history of Simmons College as an institution that fosters inclusion and welcomes diversity within our community.

In recent years, we have seen an evolution in societal norms surrounding gender identity and expression. Traditional notions of womanhood and femaleness are being challenged, and new laws are emerging to protect transgender individuals, i.e. those who do not subscribe to the traditional gender binary.

Our undergraduate admission policy offers transparency and guidance for applicants. It signals our commitment to the inclusion of transgender individuals, and eliminates questions for qualified applicants seeking a Simmons undergraduate education. The admission policy communicates to our community and to the external world that we strive to be a welcoming place where a range of gender identity and expression can exist.

I would like to thank the Transgender Task Force, which began its work in the summer of 2013. Spearheaded by Vice President for Student Affairs Sarah Neill and former Undergraduate Admission Assistant Vice President Catherine Capolupo, the Task Force carefully reviewed admission policies from many colleges and studied the current experience on campus. The work of the Task Force resulted in recommendations for Simmons's admission practice and policy development, as well as best practices for our campus.

The Task Force was comprised of:
School of Social Work Professor Gary Bailey; Political Science Associate Professor and Chair Catherine Paden; Assistant Vice President of Government Relations, Community Affairs, and Campus Services Janet Fishstein; Director of Residence Life Jessica Samuels; Senior Assistant Registrar Anna Cottrell; Assistant Vice President of Graduate Admission Kristen Haack; Alumni Representative MJ Craig; Trustee Christian Pope Campbell; and Assistant General Counsel Gretchen Groggel Ralston.

As we have throughout our history, Simmons College will meet the changing needs of students in a complex world, while maintaining our commitment to undergraduate women's education and being competitive in the new environment of higher education.