News (USA)

Student asks to remain at all-female college after transitioning to male

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — An undergraduate student at Salem College, who is transitioning from a woman to a man, is asking to stay on the campus of the all-female school, a college alumnae says.

Annie Webb, a 2005 Salem graduate, said in an email to fellow alumnae on Jan. 5 that a traditional student will be undergoing gender reassignment surgery in February — going from female to male — and plans to continue his education as a student living on campus, reported the Winston-Salem Journal.

Michelle Melton, a college spokeswoman, declined to identify the student, but acknowledged that college officials are looking at whether to create a policy for transgender students.

Salem College is a four-year liberal-arts school for women. It has enrollment of 1,100 students, including men who are 23 and older who take undergraduate courses at the Fleer Center for Adult Education. However, only female students are allowed to live on campus, according to the school’s website.

President Susan Pauly acknowledged in a recent email to alumnae that the college’s faculty, staff and residential students were sent a questionnaire asking them in part, “In light of our mission to educate women, how do you view the issue of transgender students in the traditional college program at Salem?”

Charles Blixt, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, declined to discuss any specific policy the trustees might be considering and said they have no timetable for a decision on the student’s request.

But he did tell the Journal on Friday, “The board will not consider becoming a coed institution. This is the oldest women’s college in the country, and we intend to remain so.”

Update: Since this story appeared, several Salem students contacted the Journal to say that the facts about the student they believe is the subject of Webb’s email were incorrect.

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