This is newsworthy because Barnard is a college for women. The school is now considering admitting students who were born male but identify as female.

John Leland of the New York Times reports.

Barnard Considers Policy for Transgender Students

At an elite college for women, the question arises: What does it mean to be a woman?

The president of Barnard College announced this week that the school was considering adopting a formal admissions policy for transgender students. “The time has come for us to examine how we, as a women’s college, define ‘women,’ and how, consequently, we both admit and graduate students,” the president, Debora L. Spar, wrote in a letter to the student body.

At issue, Barnard students and administrators say, is how to view applications from transgender women — that is, students born with male characteristics who identify as female or fluid. Do they belong at a college for women?

“The definition of what it means to be a woman at a women’s college — that’s changing,” Joanne Kwong, a Barnard spokeswoman, said. “The implications range from housing to health services to the pronouns used in class.”

Barnard, an undergraduate college affiliated with Columbia University, currently considers applications from transgender students on a case-by-case basis, Ms. Spar wrote. It has a number of trans masculine students — those born with female characteristics who identify as male or neutral — but no trans women, said Ms. Kwong and several Barnard transgender students. There are transgender women at Columbia College, which admits both men and women.