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Elizabeth Breitmeyer / Gavel Media

Wellesley Admin Doesn’t Reflect its Students' Beliefs

Recently, a non-binding vote was taken among students at Wellesley College, a historically women’s liberal arts college in Massachusetts, to update its administration policies. The results showed overwhelming support for the admittance of transgender men and AMAB (assigned male at birth) nonbinary students, who would join the previously all-female-identifying student body. Wellesley was originally founded as a separate institution that empowered women in their own educational journeys, supporting women through navigating the patriarchy in education. But shouldn’t the college update its admission policies to reflect the discrimination that exists against other marginalized gender identities, who also face gender discrimination in education? The student body’s answer is a staggering yes, yet its more conservative administration disagrees.

In an effort to further reduce gender discrimination at Wellesley, students also voted to impose gender-neutral language when referencing its student body to respect Wellesley’s students who are AFAB (assigned female at birth), but may not identify as women anymore. This measure came about because trans and nonbinary students whose gender exploration journey occurred in college felt uncomfortable with the exclusionary language.

While Wellesley allows for the admission of AFAB nonbinary students already, it struck down both of these ballot proposals for a wider range of admission and the implementation of gender-neutral language to refer to its student body. Wellesley’s media relations director, Stacey Schmeidel, stated that the college will continue to make efforts to make its current students who identify as non-women comfortable. However, neither the administration nor the admissions committee will reevaluate the admissions process anytime soon. 

While Boston College is a Jesuit institution, unlike Wellesley, which is not affiliated with any religion, Boston College also has its own problems when it comes to the inclusion of trans and nonbinary students. Boston College has continuously rejected requests and efforts for the creation of an on-campus LGBTQ+ resource center. The creation of this center would lead to a safer college experience and a non-discriminatory environment for trans and non-binary students who may feel excluded by the religious and often conservative culture on campus. Many students have expressed their desire for this center, a similar situation to Wellesley’s administration’s denial of its student body’s wishes.

Schools need to improve, but how can students help? Firstly, students can keep expressing their beliefs and voting in polls and on student ballots, even if their beliefs are not being reflected right now. Furthermore, students can elect student representatives who support marginalized communities and groups like trans and nonbinary people and who desire to make positive changes on behalf of these groups. Finally, students can engage in protests and strikes to call for their voices to be heard, even at other schools with resistance to making much-needed change.

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