Women’s College Backtracks on Plan to Allow Trans Women to Enroll After Backlash

Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees announced they had reversed the decision regarding transgender admissions shortly after implementing a policy that allowed biological males to attend the university if they have a history of identifying as a woman.

The nondiscrimination policy was approved in June

The college in Notre Dame, Indiana, approved the non-discrimination policy in June, and it was reported in November in student newspapers. According to it, the women’s college approved women and those who “consistently live and identify as women” to be considered candidates. Following a social media backlash, the board of trustees issued a statement and revered the transgender policy.

New rules

The latest college letter stated, “When the board approved this update, we viewed it as a reflection of our college’s commitment to live our Catholic values as a loving and just community.” It continued, “We believed it affirmed our identity as an inclusive, Catholic, women’s college.” The letter also said board members “reflected on the sense of division we have experienced in our campus community and among our extended alumnae family since this decision was communicated.”

Back to the old ways

The letter, signed by President Katie Conboy and Board of Trustees Chair Maureen Karantz Smith, concluded that the college would “return to our previous admission policy.” It added, “As this last month unfolded, we lost people’s trust and unintentionally created division where we had hoped for unity,” the letter read, and concluded, “For this, we are deeply sorry.”

Threat to the Catholic identity

This letter, obtained by several media outlets, including Fox and Newsweek, said “that the position we took is not shared by all members of our community.” The letter continued, “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.” The school, opened by four Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1844, faced criticism from Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades, who urged the school to return to the old policies over Catholic teachings.

Gaines and others questioned the decision

A former swimmer who is now fighting against trans athletes in women’s sports, Riley Gaines, wrote on X, “After severe backlash, Saint Mary’s College has reversed its transgender policy to make the college an all-female institution once again. So, in short, Saint Mary’s caved to the pressure of their donors pulling out. As they all do.” Caroline Downey from the National Review wrote on X, “St. Mary’s should be on probation as a Catholic-designated school for even attempting to pull this, but it’s a W.”

Former students were also skeptical

Clare Ath, a former Saint Mary’s student, told The Daily Signal, “While I would hope the reversal is because administrators realized we must teach the truth with love, my guess is the reversal is because alumni banded together, pulled their donations, notified their diocese and media, and said we will not let Our Lady’s college be corrupted by secular gender ideology.” Claire Bettag, a junior at Saint Mary’s, was not suspicious and said, “I’m so proud of the women at Saint Mary’s who were willing to stand up against this anti-women, anti-Catholic policy.”

Pope Francis on “gender ideology”

The Pope told the Italian press, “Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonization.” The Pope, considered the most progressive one, added, “Why is it dangerous? Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women.” The Pope also warned how some American Catholics are putting political ideology over faith in a separate interview.


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