Schooled Reporting on education

Men’s school redefines ‘male’

Education | Morehouse College to accept transgender students
by Laura Edghill & Lynde Langdon
Posted 4/17/19, 04:21 pm

Atlanta’s all-male, historically black Morehouse College announced Saturday that starting in 2020 it would open admission to female students who identify as men. The school’s newly released gender identity policy states that “in recognition of our changing world and evolving understanding of gender identity, Morehouse will now consider for admission applicants who live and self-identify as men, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth.”

Other single-gender colleges also have grappled with transgender admissions in recent years. Morehouse’s all-female sister school, Spelman College, in 2017 said it would allow men who identify as women to enroll. Massachusetts’ Smith College found itself in the spotlight in 2013 when it rejected a male applicant who identified as a woman. The women’s liberal arts college later revisited its policies and in 2015 began admitting anyone who identified as female.

Morehouse began in 1867, two years after the Civil War ended, as a Baptist college to educate African American men as teachers and preachers. It remains one of only four all-male four-year colleges in the United States and the only all-male historically black college. The school has educated numerous well-known African American male leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and filmmaker Spike Lee.

The acceptance of biological female students represents a radical departure from the school’s 150-year tradition, but the move has met virtually no public criticism.

“I can’t say we had any real pushback,” Terrence Dixon, Morehouse’s vice president for enrollment management, told Indie Central on Wednesday. The only major concerns of the change have come from LGBT activists who say the policy does not go far enough because it only applies to people who identify as male. Morehouse will not admit men who identify as women, and men who adopt a transgender identity while matriculating at the college will not be eligible for graduation. Morehouse will “continue to use gendered language that reflects our identity as a men’s college,” the policy states.

In a Breakpoint commentary earlier this year, John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, pointed out how people who question the wisdom of gender transition are increasingly trolled, shunned, and even taken to court.

“Questioning the sacredness and inviolability of the desire to transition invites the digital equivalent of the wrath of the gods that ancient Polynesians feared for violating taboos,” Stonestreet said. Maybe that is why so few alumni, students, and other onlookers are questioning whether Morehouse should shift from its 150-year mission of developing African American (biological) male leaders.

Associated Press/Photo by Wilfredo Lee Associated Press/Photo by Wilfredo Lee Richard and Lisa Olson, whose son was injured in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., look on during a news conference last week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Lawsuits claim negligence in Parkland shooting

The families of victims of last year’s fatal Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., filed more than 20 wrongful death lawsuits in Broward County last week. The lawsuits name the Broward County School Board, Sheriff’s Office, former Sheriff’s Deputy and School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, former hall monitor Andrew Medina, and Henderson Behavioral Health Inc. as defendants.

The complaints accuse the Sheriff’s Office and Peterson, who hunkered down in a stairwell at the school for 48 minutes while the attack unfolded, of “failing to immediately enter, locate, and neutralize Nikolas Cruz, the shooter.” Medina is accused of willfully disregarding school board policy by not immediately calling a “code red.” One of Peterson’s attorneys, Joseph DiRuzzo, told NPR that the lawsuits lacked merit and that he would fight them vigorously.

Cruz, now 20, is in prison facing 17 counts of first-degree murder. He has offered to plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table. The defense team cites his special education status, low IQ, and possible undiagnosed autism as important mitigating factors. But so far prosecutors have refused to rule out the death penalty.

The wrongful death lawsuits also take aim at the Broward County School Board and Henderson Behavioral Health Inc., where Cruz was a patient from the age of 11, for not doing more to protect the community. The clinic not only failed to treat his depression effectively, the suit claims, but also failed to diagnose psychopathic and sociopathic disorders and provided treatment that “exacerbated and fueled his depression” and “substantially contributed to causing his violent tendencies and behavior.”

But accurate diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders is notoriously challenging with adolescents. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, teens sometimes exhibit symptoms in ways that differ substantially from adults. They may also experience symptoms infrequently, making it difficult for even the most seasoned mental health professionals to differentiate between normal heightened teenage emotions and an actual underlying medical condition.

The plaintiffs say they have tried to work with the Broward County School Board for the last year to establish a fund for the families of the victims, and they are open to dropping the suits if a financial settlement can be reached. —L.E.

Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin The Georgetown University campus

Georgetown students vote for reparations

Georgetown University students voted last Thursday to establish a reparations fund that would benefit descendants of slaves who were sold to pay off the school’s debts in its early years. A 2016 New York Times article first brought national attention to Maryland Jesuit’s historic sale of 272 men, women, and children in 1838, a portion of which was used to pay down debts on what was then Georgetown College.

Two-thirds of the undergraduate student body voted in favor of the referendum, one of the first of its kind. Students would pay a mandatory $27.20 per semester fee if the university administration agrees to the proposal.

Debate swirled on campus leading up to the vote, with critics pointing out that any reparations should be funded directly by the university, not its current students.

In a statement last Friday, university administrator Todd Olson said that Thursday’s nonbinding vote provided “valuable insight into student perspectives.” —L.E.

Texas Tech drops affirmative action

A 15-year stand-off between the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights and Texas Tech University’s medical school has finally concluded with the university agreeing to stop using race in its screening process. In the original complaint, filed in 2004, the conservative think tank Center for Equal Opportunity alleged the school’s use of race ran counter to the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling that upheld the use of affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School but only in a “narrowly tailored” manner. The center said Texas Tech’s use of race was unnecessary and impeded certain forms of diversity in the student body.

Roger Clegg, general counsel for the center, applauded the announcement and wrote in National Review, “The more schools there are that do not use racial preferences, the harder it becomes for other schools to justify their use.”

Texas Tech joins a growing trend of colleges and universities nationwide dropping their race policies in admissions. Harvard University awaits a federal judge’s ruling on a lawsuit alleging that Asian American students were unfairly squeezed out of spots at the elite school due to racial balancing. —L.E.

Laura Edghill

Laura Edghill is a freelance writer, church communications director, and public school board member living in Clinton Township, Mich., with her engineer husband and three sons. She is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute's mid-career course. Follow Laura on Twitter @LTEdghill.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • JerryM
    Posted: Wed, 04/17/2019 07:45 pm

    Re: Morehouse story

    Where are the baprist ministers speaking up about these changes.  Surely the church maintains some relations with the college? Do they allow caucasians that identify as African American?

  • CJ
    Posted: Thu, 04/18/2019 03:25 pm

    Great question!

  • RC
    Posted: Thu, 04/18/2019 10:36 am

    Georgetown students vote for reparations:  I do not approve of slavery of any kind, but if you think about, the descendants of those slaves live in a country today (the USA) which has them way better off and way more free than if they had been left in the country of origin, in Africa.  So how is punishing the students of today for something they had no control over, that happened over a hundred years ago justice?  If you want to deal with injustice, how about modern day slavery?  According to Walk Free Foundation, there were 46 million people worldwide enslaved in 2016 in the form of "human trafficking, forced labor, bondage from indebtedness, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation", with an estimated 18 million of those in India.

  • Rich277
    Posted: Fri, 04/19/2019 09:55 am

    Is every delusion now sacrosanct, or do we still discriminate against some.  For instance, if I meet someone who thinks he is Napoleon, am I a bigot if I refuse to help him conquer Europe?

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