Alumni and students of Catholic all-girls college cheer biological men policy reversal

Alumni and students of Catholic all-girls college cheer biological men policy reversal

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A Catholic college in Indiana has reversed a decision that would allow biological males to attend the school as long as they had a documented history of identifying as a woman, drawing applause from students and alums.

In November, St. Mary’s College, located in Notre Dame, announced they would allow men identifying as women to enroll at the school beginning in the fall semester of 2024.

The all-girls school, which was founded in 1844 and has an average tuition of around $50,000, faced intense backlash from alumni, students and religious practitioners following the announcement.

St. Mary’s President Katie Conboy released a statement via email to faculty and the college on Thursday where she revealed the reversal and addressed the outcry over the initial decision.


Many female students of St. Mary’s in Indiana applauded the school’s decision to reverse a policy that would allow biological men to attend the collge.  (St. Mary’s College/iStock)

Conboy, in the email, said the decision to allow biological men to attend the college had weighed heavily on the minds and hearts of administrators. She noted that some had worried the policy was “much more” than a change of rules but rather a “dilution” of the school’s mission or even a “threat” to Catholic identity.

“There have been many voices responding to us from many places and perspectives. We have listened closely and we have heard each of you,” she said.

Conboy also admitted the school had underestimated the community’s “genuine desire to be engaged” in policy-shaping processes of major significance.

“As this last month unfolded, we lost people’s trust and unintentionally created division where he had hoped for unity. For this, we are deeply sorry,” she continued. “Taking all these factors into consideration, the Board has decided that we will return to our previous admissions policy.”

The college president concluded her statement by stressing the school should “continually grapple with the complexity of living our Catholic values in a changing world.”

A former St. Mary’s student, Clare Bettag, told The Daily Signal that she was proud of the women at the school who were willing to speak out against what she described as an “anti-woman” and “anti-Catholic policy.

“God’s truth will always win,” Bettag added.



An inclusive bathroom sign. (Fox News Digital)

Bettag and her former classmate Macy Gunnell met with the administration to share their concerns about the new policy and told WSBT 22 they were surprised by the reversal.

“We’ve had to do a lot of steps in fighting the administration in this and we’ve had to come out and be brave. We’ve had to put our names out there. So we’re definitely very, very happy to see that the college is steering back towards its direction and its mission,” Gunnell said.

One of the college’s junior students, Clare Ath, added that while she hoped the decision was made because administrators realized they must teach “truth with love,” her suspicion is the change was the result of alumni pulling donations, notifying their diocese and the media to let them know they will not be “corrupted by secular gender ideology.”

“When this admissions decision became public, hundreds of alumni banded together to stand for the Church and her teachings,” Ath said.


WSBT 22 said most students were happy with the policy reversal.

Cardinal Newman Society founder and president Patrick Reilly also reacted to the reversal, calling it “welcome news” in a season when Catholics celebrate Christ.

“This is the truth, which is the foundation of the Catholic education and not the ‘complexity of living our Catholic values in a changing world,'” he added.

St. Mary’s College did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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