Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, is attempting to create and implement a new logo that doesn't alienate people who identify as female but weren't biologically born as a female.
The current logo connects MHC's "H" and "C" to form the standard female gender symbol, otherwise known as the "Venus symbol."
What's the background?
MHC, a traditionally women's only college, granted entrance to transgender women in 2014, and the institution is now known as a "gender-diverse women's college."
MHC President Lynn Pasquerella addressed the decision in 2014, welcoming transgender women to the college.
"We recognize that what it means to be a woman is not static," Pasquerella said that year. "Just as early feminists argued that reducing women to their biological functions was a foundation of women's oppression, we acknowledge that gender identity is not reducible to the body."
The design was met with scorn, and students who do not identify as women made their anger over the Venus symbol known.
Charles L. Greene III, MHC's vice president at the Office of Communications and Marketing, addressed the controversy in a message posted on the college's site.
A portion of the message read:
This past Thursday, we had the occasion to solicit feedback on the design firm's identity work from a group of students. We listened to feedback regarding the use of the Venus symbol as an option for the brand identity and logo, as proposed by the consultants. It is now evident to us that this symbol has a long history of exclusion connected to movements that, while trailblazing for some groups, represents the erasure of others.
We have thus determined that the College cannot move forward with a word mark that references this symbol as we rethink how we will distinguish Mount Holyoke College. While it is always disappointing to realize that our creative work has not achieved its goals, it is deeply upsetting to realize that the work is seen as offensive and damaging.
Greene's message added that the college commits itself to be a "trans-inclusive space" and has recognized that the school "is evolving and has much work to do in demonstrating its support for the diversity of genders and perspectives."
According to a report in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Venus symbol is reportedly offensive to people who identify nonbinary (no gender) or transgender.
According to the outlet, Tessa Ann Schwarz, a school alum, said, "Speaking as one of those trans alums, you will not be getting my money until this is changed, and I am not alone."
A spokesperson for the college told the Gazette that the university would make another pass at the design in January.
"This decision to pursue a new look and feel grew out of a comprehensive, institutional planning process," the spokesperson said. "Developing a new logo was part of our comprehensive approach to update and strengthen the reputation of the institution as a modern, global, innovative force in education."
(H/T: The Daily Wire)