Morehouse rep responds after school adopts gender identity admissions policy

Terrence Dixon, Morehouse College’s vice president for enrollment management (Photo credit: Robert Williams for Steed Media)

Morehouse College recently made national headlines after its board of trustees approved a policy that will allow individuals who self-identify as men, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth, to be considered for admission into the nation’s only historically Black school for men.

The Gender Identity Admissions and Matriculation Policy will be implemented during the 2020 fall semester.

Terrence Dixon, vice president for enrollment management, shared his thoughts with rolling out.

How long did it take for Morehouse College to develop the Gender Identity Admissions and Matriculation Policy?

It took 15 months of gathering information from our internal community. We surveyed faculty, staff, students, alumni. … This was not something that happened overnight for us, but we’re really happy with the outcome.

What has been the feedback from alumni, students and parents thus far?

We’ve actually received pretty good feedback, positive feedback on this step that we’re taking here at the college because of this rapidly evolving identity issue in the country. … We believe that this opens the opportunity for students that identify [with] our mission to have an opportunity to matriculate here at the college. Alumni were engaged in this process as well [as] in the survey. So, we received feedback from our alumni as well to arrive at the policy that we currently have.

Was there any pushback?

I can’t say we had any real pushback. I can say that we were open enough to engage our alumni in that process to get their feedback and to hear their concerns. As a result of all those things being put together from our community, including our faculty, students and staff, this policy was derived.

All freshmen at Morehouse College are required to reside in dorms. For those who self-identify as men, will they be allowed to reside in the dorms as well?

The way this works is that it took 15 months for us to kind of get to this policy. We’re going to spend the next academic year spending time to build out the implementation plan for this policy. This policy does not go into effect [until] fall 2020, so all of the things that we’re doing now is the planning process [for] how we operationalize a policy on the campus. There will be a plan for student housing.

How do you want this plan to impact Morehouse College and other HBCUs?

Well, we’re not the first HBCU to take on a gender identities policy. We’re in this as a result of what we believe is the right thing to do for Morehouse. We feel good about the stance that we’ve taken at this point, which is to offer an opportunity for students who self-identify as men to come to a place that really educates men. And we’re clear about that.

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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