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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.

It 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.

Honey, that's a girls' school. The GI Bill and the SLC Man Creeping Coeducation