Saint Mary’s reverses decision to admit transgender women

December 22, 2023
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After several weeks of controversy, Saint Mary’s College, a Roman Catholic women’s institution in Indiana, has reversed its previous decision to allow the admission of transgender women.

The about-face follows significant pushback from Fort Wayne–South Bend bishop Kevin Rhoades and some alumnae. It was announced in an email from the college’s president, Katie Conboy, and the chair of its Board of Trustees, Maureen Karantz Smith, to students, faculty, staff, alumnae and donors on Thursday.

The statement says that college leaders “clearly underestimated” the desire of stakeholders to be engaged in rethinking “a policy of such significance” and that the board has been reflecting on division since the June decision was highlighted by a student news organization in late November.

“We believed it affirmed our identity as an inclusive, Catholic, women’s college. It is increasingly clear, however, that the position we took is not shared by all members of our community,” the statement reads. “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.

“We lost people’s trust and unintentionally created division where we had hoped for unity. For this, we are deeply sorry,” it adds.

The leaders stressed that Saint Mary’s is “firmly committed” to ensuring a “welcoming and safe environment for all.” The college will begin a series of “listening sessions” to discuss both Catholic values and desired inclusivity after the winter break.



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