But since I have graduated I have been tremendously disappointed in the administration of my alma mater.
Mostly some of their decisions on their awkward way of steering the college in a way that they think will cut down on our stereotype, and keeping funds rolling in from the older classes.
What the administration doesn't realize is that they are isolating themselves from the future donors, by claiming to be one thing, and then showing they are not.
In August 2012 my friends (too many to list) pointed me in the direction of Calliope Wong's tumblr.
Her tumblr was not a bunch of gifs of cats and funny internet-y things. It was about her decision to try and apply to Smith College.
For the record, Smith College is the largest women's college in the USA, a member of the Seven Sisters, a former sister school to Yale, and a pretty bad ass place to define yourself - which is what I think college is really about. College is about more than the fancy diploma at the end of 4 years - it is about being in an environment that pushes your boundaries, allows you to define yourself as an adult, and decide who you want to be, all while expanding your intellect (or as I prefer to call it, making your brain hurt).
While Smith College is a women's college, it has a loose policy of "accepting women, and graduating people". Which is a really funny way of saying once your accepted you can be who you really are, and yes we will give diplomas to those of you that are FTM (female to male) which is why I said in the beginning that I graduated with a few brothers. The environment at Smith gets a little testy (no pun intended) at times, but for the most time it is an accepting campus that deals well with LBGTQ issues. Some people may argue with me on this, but when we look at the higher education system as a whole- we have a few quirks- but were not like Bob Jones University or something.
So getting back to Calliope's tumblr, she says Smith is her dream school. One dilemma- Calliope was born male. Smith doesn't have an official policy on accepting people who are born male, and now are female.
In her first post (viewed here) she does a fantastic job of outlining why she shouldn't be barred from applying. I agree with her on all points but it is what she says towards the end that really sticks out to me:
The institutional gatekeeper policies keeping transwomen out of Smith are unreasonable and not modeled on the real life struggles of transwomen.Fast forward months of back and forth with Smith's administration:
If Smith’s ultimate concern is to provide for the education and empowerment of all women students, then it is clearly cutting out and rejecting a valuable demographic with its outmoded and irrational acceptance policies.
If Smith College’s policies are built on fears of illegitimacy and backlash: men pretending to be women and seeking to gain access to women’s colleges for nefarious or dishonest purposes, there is no empirical evidence that such a case would be in the majority.
I am not a rapist; I am not a criminal, and it is not fair to assume that I am such a person.
Thing is, I’m a girl who wants to just wants her fair shot at Smith.
Calliope is told she can apply as long as she says she is female on the application! WIN!
Fast forward to March:
Calliope tells us Smith rejects her first application, finding fault with her transcript, which read “male.” She corrected the clerical error with her high school staff and sent back her application to Smith.
Then, last week or so, Calliope's second try is rejected- Smith states that it is do to her FAFSA saying she is male (something you can't just say you're female on). Of course this breaks Calliope's heart and hope. You can read her post here.
But you know what my emotional response is? I am angry/disappointed/embarrassed that my alma mater would do such a thing.
Seriously, Smith College grow some god damned balls. Get off your mystical unicorn and actually do something to make a change.
Smith is a place where you just know you're home. Why should Calliope, and many past and future Smithie-wannabes, be denied the experience?
It is one thing to reject based on merits. It is a whole other ball game to not even review the application of an applicant you have known about, talked to, and encouraged.
I am ashamed of my alma mater. For an institution that prides itself of diversity and acceptance, I've come to realize they don't mean one bit of it. All they care about is statistics. How many countries, states and ethnic backgrounds. A range of different socio-economic levels. They care about looking good, not about doing good.
Shame on you Smith College.
Class of 2010
PS Yes, the title is a pun.