COED? Coeducation: Sarah Lawrence's Best-Kept Secret? by Elizabeth Chute
Photography by Andrew Lichtenstein '88
Student interviews conducted by Christina Mancuso '08,Maggie Regan '06,Dana Steward '06 andMichelle Vider '07
Coeducation at Sarah Lawrence – nearly 40 years old – has, most definitely, entered middle age. Very much alive and kicking, it doesn't get quite as much notice as it used to.
And sometimes it worries about its own future.
t began in 1968 as a low-key experiment-after several years of preliminaries: the education of men in a college that had been established as a unique place for women to be educated. Since then Sarah Lawrence has admitted and graduated men in proportions of approximately one man for every three women. Yet, despite a male-female ratio that has remained steadily in the 1-to-3 range, and a robust body of male students and alumni, some feel that coeducation remains a work in progress. From high school seniors who have no idea the College is coed, to students who complain about the social life and a shortage of men, to alumnae who remember the days of single-sex education, to administration officials struggling to maintain gender diversity in the face of declining admission trends nationally, the debate continues: Is coeducation successful at Sarah Lawrence?
The short answer is, that may depend on whom you ask. Responses to a recent survey conducted by Sarah Lawrence magazine (see Coeducation?) reflect the diverse opinions of alumnae/i and reveal the hot-button nature of the topic. Recent conversations with current students show an equally varied set of viewpoints.