Coeducation: an alumnae/i view

When Sarah Lawrence sent a blast email to 6,300 alumnae/i to ask their views of coeducation, we expected a modest response. Instead, 12 percent completed the survey: more than 775 people. The large majority offered extended comments, most anonymously-and the range of viewpoints was vast.

//I think it would be better for the school to go back to being all-female. There are advantages a to an all-female education that were not apparent to us in 1973, and disadvantages to coeducation that we were also not aware of.//

//SLC has ended up being the only genuinely coed elite college in the nation, by virtue of the fact that it never achieved a 50/50 M/F student body. The "imbalance" prevented men from taking over various aspects of campus life...dominated by men at nearly every other elite "coed" higher ed institution. So the lopsided numbers have created an environment where women and men, gay and straight, interact as equitably as---or more equitably than---any other I've experienced.//

//...[SLC] might truly offer a coeducational experience if there were simply more men. Which opens the question: should SLC actively recruit males?//

//I am still in touch with the brilliant young men I formed relationships with during my SLC years. I wouldn't trade those enduring friendships or lasting memories for the world.//

//I think Sarah Lawrence strives to be, and should continue to strive to be, not merely a welcoming place but a haven for all people, regardless of, among other things, body parts.//

//As a male, I didn't feel like a minority or out of place at a predominantly female college. The unbalanced male/female ratio yields the occasional stereotyping of male SLC students as emotionally retarded, rampant womanizers, but this effect was balanced by the College's celebration of individuality: a good heart will inevitably be realized and appreciated at SLC.//

//I see coeducation as a degenerative influence upon education, not a regenerative one.//

//Why is this even a topic of discussion? No institution of learning should be same sex any more than it should be race restrictive.//

//Coeducation is a relative term, is it not? I know that I wasn't the only female of heterosexual orientation to essentially go into a kind of romantic hibernation during my time at SLC.//

//When I attended, it was just barely coed. No problems. When my daughter attended, she felt unheard. Men really dominated the classes.//

//Because of my interests in philosophy and religion, I had the odd SLC experience of being one of the few women in the room in several classes filled with men. It was a terrific experience, and I certainly always felt that my voice was heard.//

//I think coeducation offers both women and men an opportunity to learn in an environment not often experienced elsewhere...one where women's voices are allowed to soar, but not just because there aren't men's voices in the same room.//

//I [a recent alumnus] defend coeducation and believe the current ratio is excellent. It allows for an interesting variety of people, all free thinkers, able to see outside the box. The zeitgeist is feminine and that means at times the environment can be fierce or, conversely, caring, but always insightful and aware.//

//Sarah Lawrence was such an important part of my intellectual and personal development, and I can only think it would be for other gay men in a homophobic world. It was a preparation for me prior to harsher realities, and I've often thought the maturation I received there stood me in good stead in the following years. As for continuing intellectual development, the Sarah Lawrence mission of this being a lifelong process was so valuable to me personally in my midlife career change of training to become a psychotherapist--and I began last night Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, and I take a keen interest in Bush's depredations--Sarah Lawrence did right by me, and I want that for the students of whatever gender as well. //

//I think its good but not overrall that important. I always understood co-education as a method of improving SLC because building a strong male alum base was financially beneficial. SLC should dedicate itself to attracting and accepting qualified candidates regardless of gender. I attend 01-05 and the idea of growing the male population had the same bad rap that affirmative action gets. Obviously AF is much more important and different but it got to the point where it felt like men were admitted simply to add diversity, and not because they were good or competitive candidates. Lets keep SLC the great place it is (was?). But not at the expense of co-education. I thought SLC was one of the few places where gender rarely mattered.//

//It works for SLC. I think the college does a terrific job at continuing its legacy as an exceptional institution offering a truly unique experience. This legacy is not lost on the women who apply and attend. My hope is to be able to say the same for men who can contribute a great deal to SLC's growth and diversity.//

//It seems to be working just fine. My co-educational experience at SLC was neither unique nor awkward, although I'm still asked if SLC is co-ed yet. It had been co-ed for almost thirty years by the time I went there.//

//Not sure. Back when I attended, the notions of acceptable behavior for women were quite constricted, and Sarah Lawrence had a liberating effect on me --- I could do anything! --- which the coeducational school I previously attended (Oberlin) did not. In fact I ended up in a field which, as an Oberlin freshman, I was convinced women couldn't and shouldn't do. When I got to SLC I was told I couldn't take piano without taking music composition and I actually said (and believed) 'but women can't compose!' Being told that (a) women could certainly compose, and that (b) I was going to compose that very semester, in some sense changed my life. I allowed myself to become interested in mathematics (another thing I was brought up to believe women couldn't do) and have been a research mathematician for over 30 years. None of this would have happened had I stayed at a co-ed institution. The public constraints on women are no longer as severe as they were back in my day. I don't know about some of the subtle constraints, e.g., issues of who gets attention and who gets encouragement and who gets mentoring. But it is probably too late to turn the clock back.//

//SLC became co-ed during my years of attendance. I was originally against coeducation because I believed that the College would not attract a sufficiently varied group of men to add much to the already present population. With 20-20 hindsight, I can see I was wrong. Although I was somewhat underwhelmed with the first group of men at SLC, I have been impressed with the quality of men at SLC in later years and their rich contribution to the quality of education.//

//I'll use this space to reply to question # 2. That question suffers from what almost all survey questions suffer from: It asks a question that is impossible to answer with a yes or no, yet it requires a yes or no. Of course Sarah Lawrence should be co-ed, whatever 'should' means. It IS co-ed, therefore it should be. But when I was there, from '74 to '81 (with some time out, abroad, in between) the women-heavy population (ratio 7 women to 1 man, I think)was problematic. Though I have to say while we eyed the all-too-few men (especially some of them), we also had a chip on our shoulder. Who would want a Sarah Lawrence boyfriend? We found our men elsewhere and were slightly disapproving of those who did not. Defensive and absurd, of course, but that was definitely one way we consoled ourselves for the dismal dating scene. Though I suspect you ask the question vis a vis the debate afoot about how girls do so much better in classrooms without boys around to gum things up. I would think that no longer obtains by the time girls reach college, especially today, when boys seem to be trailing girls academically from the age of five on up. So yes of course Sarah Lawrence should be co-ed. The world is co-ed, our lives are co-ed, boys need to find out what they'll be up against when they face the real world of smart, ambitious, passionate women. Which is what Sarah Lawrence attracts and grooms, right? Same for SLC's men, one can only hope.//

//My favorite part of coeducation at SLC is the adorable, nerdy guys who arrive as Freshmen in September, and by November have declared themselves hipster babe-magnets.//

//I think part of the gift of SLC is the strength of the female voice on campus. This becomes really clear upon graduation when the rest of the world expects a little more silence out of it's ladies. It would be a shame to replicate the societal norms of the rest of the country in an effort to 'balance' the male to female ratio at SLC. In a country so especially off balance right now, maybe we need a place that is counter-balanced toward what we want to promote in our society. So, basically, BE CHOOSY! Strong feminist boys, gay boys, boys who have more on their application than football and girl-watching. Boys who want to learn, not just be one of the few straight males with all the straight girl options open to them. Of course, that was always an element for the straight boys once SLC opened its doors to men. But it was also a safe space for gay boys too, not that many fellows to choose from, but safe.//

//Co-education may be achieved more successfully today than it was in my era ('81-85). At that time, the male:female ratio was about 1:3.5. I remember the social atmosphere as skewed, stressed and surreal. I had great female relationships, and a number of male friends, but heterosexual relationship potential seemed dismal from the female perspective. Going beyond the social aspects to the general culture, it felt compromised, like we were pretending to be co-ed, but still had a long way to go. At the same time, we were cut off from reaping the benefits of being a women's college. In some ways I think I might have had a stronger experience in a college setting that was more committed to being a women's culture.//

//I don't know about how it is now, but I came to think it was great when I was there. I think the high proportion of women to men (about 70/30 to my recollection) was important, though...I'm not sure 50/50 split would retain the peculiar dynamics that make SLC a unique experience. I'm not opposed to single-sex education; my secondary schooling was spent in single-sex and co-ed environments. I think the strongest arguments for single-sex education make the most sense in the primary and secondary school years, and aren't as relevant college educational environments. When I used to tell people I was a student at SLC, they would respond 'but isn't that a girls' school?' I'd tell them 'not since 1968.' I think it's illustrative of a sort of filtering effect that was happening when I was a student -- I think the perception of SLC as a 'girls' school' deterred a certain portion of men, and to some lesser extent women, from applying. Fifteen years since graduating, however, I have no idea if this kind of thing is still happening (or even if it ever was really happening).//

//First of all, I believe that coeducation plays an important role in the socialization of Sarah Lawrence students. Exposure to all types of social identity can only enhance the college experience. Sarah Lawrence has come to stand for individuality, creativity, and personal freedom of expression. By excluding any group or student, this stance would be reversed. Furthermore, Sarah Lawrence now fosters an environment of understanding for students who lie outside of the traditional labels of gender and sexuality. I feel that to exclude genetically 'male' students would alienate some who have been born 'female,' and have come to identify themselves as beyond the boundaries of this limiting term.//

//I am happy that I had the experience of single sex education. However, I do not think that women, who are now more self-confident about their abilities and more assertive about their role in society in general, are in need of single sex education in order to develop their abilities. In fact, I think co-education is a more realistic life experience and will better serve women in learning how to shatter the glass ceiling by learning and working cooperatively with men.//

//I have mixed feelings to be honest--what is fair, etc., but as a woman who went to a girls' boarding school in the 1950s and understood the value of young women being released to perform at their best--to not be intimidated as they frequently were then (and still can be) by men. Coming from the 1950s my experience of course would be different than those young women who were in co-ed class rooms from the 70s on. I can appreciate that men can add a different perspective in a classroom, I guess I still sense the tendency of men to dominate a setting in which competition can raise its ugly head.//

//I think SLC's uneven coeducational status, or more specifically, it's high ratio of women to men was always a huge topic of conversation at the college. It even remains a popular topic among its alumni. I feel that the uneven ratio actually had a positive effect on me and my education. As a straight male, I learned a lot about women's emancipation. Today I am more conscious about sexual dynamics than many of my guy friends. I don't interrupt my female coworkers in meetings like other male coworkers do. I'm turned off by image politics in mainstream media. And I've been equipped to confront some mild sexual inequities among my Cuban family members.//

//I don't know. I think it's fine that men can now get the advantage of the close-contact teaching that SLC specializes in. I think it's fine that SLC can reach into that second half of the applicant pool, especially once Harvard, Brown, Princeton, Yale, etc. started poaching the top females. But I think there's something about single-sex education--perhaps just that it's not like the real world--that fosters bonds and is otherwise valuable, though I can't make a principled political argument for it.//

//I think it works. The young man who chooses to go to SLC is probably doing so very consciously. A college with a woman's name and a reputation for focus on the arts and writing is never going to attract men with a very general liberal arts focus or a diehard sense of machismo.//

//I am glad it's still co-ed and I'm glad that the female/male ratio doesn't seem to have changed much since I graduated in 1985, which suggests that the goal of the admissions process is to find the best qualified students without regard for gender.//

//I transferred to SLC after my freshman year at Amherst -- which happened to be Amherst's last year as an all-male college ('73-'74). You can imagine the transition, living in an all-male freshman dorm as I'd been. I couldn't imagine college any other way, though. I say coeducation today, coeducation tomorrow, coeducation forever.//

//Not really sure, since I am not there. It is my impression (the word on the street....) that it is easier for guys to get in than it is for women, which, if true, is probably not a good thing. I like the SLC commitment to women's education, and think the college may be less likely than other small liberal arts schools to appeal to the broadest range of males (being perceived as 'artsy'). I'm sure it's hard to balance all the factors. Personally I have no problem with there being more females than males, so as long as SLC maintains its unique educational program, it will continue to appeal to those seeking something a little different, which is fine with me.//

//Disempowering for women. We used to have lots of woman-only spaces; now I'm not even sure women can exclude men from SLC bathrooms. Feminism-based women's studies has been replaced (or co-opted) by gender/queer 'theory' offering little political analysis of any kind. There is no apparent focus on studying and changing current manifestations of the historic enslavement of women as a social class. Current gender studies themes are variations on the individualistic, patriarchal, masculine/feminine paradigm that supports the status quo.//

//Well, this is a slightly odd question. I have been graduated from SLC for twenty years now, and since I am not on campus, I am not sure if there is any additional impact due to coeducation. I would certainly never have considered a college or university that was single sex, because the world is not a single sex place, and I find single sex environments to be unnatural. I hope that the gender balance continues to get smaller at SLC, until, with fairly equal numbers, we no longer talk about the issue of coeducation and centered our conversations on how the SLC environment is a nurturing educational experience for anyone.//

//I appreciated the unique experience of attending a coeducational college that held a high percentage of female students. While each seminar I attended contained male students (who offered their gendered, I felt relieved to be in a class that was comprised of women primarily. Prior to my SLC experience, I went to a high school in a conservative rural town where male student comments were valued over female student comments. Being in a classroom environment where the male voice was not automatically deemed superior helped me to gain confidence as a thinker and participant in the academic community. Because of my educational experience at SLC, I have become an active member of social/environmental projects and am currently teaching writing and humanities courses to numerous students. This from a student who was so shy that speaking in public caused a cold sweat! I would encourage the college to maintain a male/female ratio that favors women. I think that I am not alone (as a woman) in having gained a stronger sense of my identity as an active, engaged member of a community because of SLC's distinctive coeducation system that offers an empowering female presence in and out of the classroom.//

//As a male grad ('72), transfer student from Penn, I was grateful that SLC went coed. It was about the 2nd year that the school made a serious effort at coeducation. For me it was a good experience then and led me to being very sensitive to equalitarian issues in work and other aspects of my life. As for now, I am pretty removed from the campus and its current gestalt. In general, I think coeducation is more healthy; but if there is not a 'critical mass' of males (I cannot define that for you), then it will be - or perhaps is - a women's college anyway.//

//In 1951 S.L.C. was co-ed only in that there were still a few WWII vets around (maybe half a dozen)and I was one of the two male students in the new-that-year graduate program…. I approve of co-education in theory, not least because I know from experience that it enhances the educational experience of the male students. But I do sympathize with the schools such as Mt. Holyoke that have resisted the trend. My knowledge of the current generation is limited, but I suspect that some women still do better in a setting where they do not have to struggle for male approval.//

//I have very mixed feelings. I enjoyed being on a female-majority campus. I never felt like I had to struggle within within the classroom or conference for my voice to be heard - I always felt my opinion was respected. I also felt very safe on campus - walking home alone in the dark, etc. I did not however enjoy the social aspects of the askewed ratio. I didn't like the imbalance in relationships on campus . . . I didn't like the odd status given to straight males on campus. It all bothered me - made me want to detach myself from school as much as possible socially. I also noticed the rise of males on campus increased the number of incidents of vandalism on campus. Which . . . ain't cool.//

//Co-education is the norm in society at large in the United States, therefore I continue to support this structure. However, some unusual social dynamics exist due to the unbalanced ratio of Women to Men at the college. On the positive side, Men are exposed to what it feels like to be in the minority as the majority of the population is consists of strong, well-educated, vocal Women. On the negative side, the shortage of Men has prompted some Women to make unnecessary compromises in the search of heterosexual relationships on campus.//

//As a male, I didn't feel like a minority or out of place at a predominantly female college. The unbalanced male/female ratio yields the occasional stereotyping of male SLC students as emotionally retarded, rampant womanizers, but this effect was balanced by the college's celebration of individuality; a good heart will inevitably be realized and appreciated at SLC. Practically, I think that more Economics courses related to marketplace developments (that don't wholeheartedly denegrate all of them) and the solicitation of more private sector employers by Careers Services would attract more males to SLC. Were it not for SLC's reputation among law schools, I may not have thought of applying. My only complaint about SLC's coeducational value is that its curriculum may still reflect a bygone era in which womens' colleges prepared women to speak knowledgably about literature and philanthropy at cocktail parties, but not for the 'real world.' A sense of alienation from the 'real world' is a common complaint amongst all students and perhaps it is a needless complaint exacerbated by SLC's location (close to, but not quite in, the center of the commercial universe) - but I think it particularly disaffects males who aspire to become responsible, successful patriarchs like their male forebears (and most males, in my experience, are like this) and consider their college education vital to their careers. Tailoring the curriculum to the many prospective applicants and current students pursuing such aspirations - while preserving the critical and theoretical ethos that is SLC's curriculum's greatest asset - might make the college seem more welcoming to the male population. For what it's worth, I've been out of college for only one year and am pursuing graduate studies in Law at Oxford, where SLC enjoys a fantastic reputation. I feel that my career will benefit from my education and performance at SLC. Not only that, but I have a fantastic range of topics to bring up at cocktail parties and a better sense of self than I think I would have had I attended any other undergraduate institution.//

//I think coeducation is wonderful and important at SLC. SLC builds character and helps mold caring, intelligent and responsible leaders. It would be a shame to not offer this unique educational opportunity to men.//

//I was in the first year of co-ed at SLC. Most of the guys were like big or little brothers in our dorm. It was nice to have a mixed group to discuss issues of the 60's. I am very glad we were co-ed. For today, I think for diverse thinking and for interactive arts that men and women need to collaborate together because that is the real world, especially in the arts.//

//I am so incredibly impressed with the SLC men.....both current students and graduates that I have met. Had I then known that men can be something other than football jocks and frat house drinking buddies, I might have insisted that SLC be co-ed when I applied. While I am still a fan of single sex education, especially at grades 5-12, I do have the utmost respect for SLC men! //

//I think that SLC gives young men a unique opportunity to have a deeply meaningful education. In today's American culture it seems that the prevalent male culture is that of sports, violence & money. Nevertheless, not all young men fit into this culture and there are few academic institutions that take this issue seriously.//

//Don't like it, but think it necessary. Since it is necessary ($$$$$$$$$), we should do it better than everyone else---after looking around to see how others do it.//

//Abolish it.//

//I think that co-education is a positive experience. On the other hand, SLC was certainly not 50/50 when I attended college in the 80's and I believe that was a problem. The college either has to commit to brining up the number of male students or perhaps going back to its roots as a woman's college. SLC must define what it most wants to achieve and also examine its identity (who are we and what kind of educational institution do we want to be) once those goals are clear, deciding whether to be co-ed or single ed, should be fairly simple.//

//I guess I feel that the issue of coeducation is secondary to what actually goes on at SLC. In principle, I believe coeducation is important, as it provides students with a heterogenous atmosphere. However, what goes on at Sarah Lawrence is so phenomenal, so unique and immense and enriching, that whether the student body is all women or otherwise is of little importance. I don't believe many students choose the school for its gender ratio. They choose the college because they are ensured four years of learning from professors and administrators who respect them, who value their contribution, who embark upon a course with a sense of privilege rather than requirement. During the years I was a student at Sarah Lawrence, the college was co-ed, and I would imagine about 60% female. But in thinking back to my time at SLC the issue of the gender of my fellow students is dwarfed by everything else that the school gave me. //

//I wish we could get a more equal mix, but as a faculty member I think the school has done a good job in the past decade of choosing great boys--I like these students. I assume they are also pre-selecting themselves--that good male students are finding the school attractive. I don't feel that the male students dominate (which was always a fear)--perhaps this speaks well for the climate of Sarah Lawrence--and I think it's healthier socially. It was hard to meet men naturally in the old days.//

//Having arrived at slc a totally inexperienced virgin, I was extremely glad that there were some boys at the school. Now Sarah Lawrence was never the ideal place for such pursuits, and one could argue that one attends college for many other reasons. Certainly for me, the experience of learning how to deal with members of the opposite sex away from my parents, was an important aspect of my education, and where else can one hope to meet men when you are boarding at a college in Bronxville? I have no way of judging coeducation 'now' at SLC other than the brief experience I had at an associates cocktail party in Manhattan where I heard a performance by 'The silent minority' a male a capella campus group. I was very impressed by these sensitive and talented young men, and feel that if they are representative of the men attracted to the school, then coeducation at SLC is clearly a positive thing.//

//As a man studying at Sarah Lawrence College, I am thankful that the college decided to extend its unique educational opportunities to me. Being in an academic community that is still predominately composed of women helped me name, confront, and hopefully overcome many of the unfortunate expectations that I and much of the rest of society have of male dominance. Since my graduation from SLC, I have felt an obligation to continue growing and striving toward a more just and equal society.//

//There were just a few 'experimental' men at SLC in 1968 and 1969. I found that when they were in classes the women tended to stop talking and I found their domination verty unsettling. It was the women who gave over to them, not the men who assumed control who were the problem.//

//The last time I experienced co-education at SLC, I thought it really worked. Having gone to an all boys high school, coeducation really opened my eyes. I liked being in the minority, as a male, and I liked the different perspectives that co-education brought to SLC.//

//I don't really have first hand experience, but I have a general sense that the college lost prestige through co-education, and that standards slipped. Certainly it seems we've lost ground to places like Smith and Wellesley, without becoming Swarthmore.//

//I don't know anything about coeducation at the school now, but I and two other students started a campaign against it when we were at Sarah Lawrence during Harold Taylor's time. We called a meeting in Riesinger of students to vote it down. We asked Eleanor Sommers to lead the meeting. In fact, we went to see the head of the board of trustees at his law firm to lobby against it(I believe it was Lloyd Garrison) We wrote an extremely articulate letter to the NYTimes that never got published because student protests weren't in then. We were about five to seven years too early, but we were vociferous and we won. I understand the financial need for coeducation etc. etc. but selfishly I would do the same thing again and hope that we would be successful again. I always felt then and still do now that women get a better education in same sex schools. I believe it is only in the past fifteen years that educators have voiced this same opinion. //

//I can only talk about it from when I was there (1986-90). At that time the ratio was about 4 female students to 1 male student. At times it created weird situations. But in retrospect I think it was all good. One has to deal with life as it is, this was a chance to be in an unusual situation and learn from it.//

//Nothing about my SLC experience was girls-only oriented. It was a unique educational opportunity that had no gender boundaries that I remember. I would hate to think that my son would be denied the same opportunity were he interested.//

//I think the college has been doing a good job of trying to balance the ratio of women to men at the college, while still being true to the original intent of the college.//

//Continue to increase the ratio of men to women//

//Why is this even a question? As a successful male alum I am mildly insulted that the question is being raised.//

//SLC went began admitting males during my sophomore or junior year. Having gone to coeducational schools all my life, I was, in fact, a little doubtful about attending an all-women's college, thought it might be a more shallow experience. Coeducation, to my mind, is beneficial to both sexes. I've never bought the argument that female students are intimidated in class by males, especially the caliber of women who choose SLC. Any girl who is hesitant to express an opinion or ask a question around boys needs the opportunity to work past it or she will have no future, whether in business, on boards, or doing volunteer work. Single-gender educational institutions force men & women to interact on 'set piece' occasions: mixers, dances, etc., rather than allowing them to become friends & colleagues while living and working in natural proximity. I have always had the blessing of as many male platonic friends as women, and it has added immeasurably to my life & experience. Also, I've been just charmed by the young male students I've talked to at SLC reunions, by their enthusiasm, varied interests and joy at being in a place where they can develop them.//

//As long as coeducation does not change the pedagogy of the college -- then it is great that men as well as women have a chance to lean this way.//

//I know a local student whose first choice is Sarah Lawrence because of the don system, proximity to NY, and the film department. He is a gifted film maker already. I would hate to deprive young men access to both the donning system (unique) and a school with an emphasis on the arts. How can we expect change to happen in society without training both men and women to appreciate the arts? Coeducation meant about 50 men at the most when I was there, but I can't imagine campus life without them. To see guys doing something besides sports is so refreshing!!!//

//Diversity, in all its forms, propels education. SLC prides itself on fostering an educational environment where diverse points of view are valued. Just as a variety of cultural, ethnic and religious viewpoints help make an SLC education a well-rounded one, so do different gender viewpoints. I can't imagine my SLC years without ALL of the fantastic and varied personalities that made them so exciting and full of new thoughts and ideas.//

//Interestingly enough, despite the fact that the ratio between women and men at the college was 70:30, all of my closest friends were men. And somehow, I must have picked classes that were popular with male students, because most of my seminars were evenly balanced. I barely noticed the gender imbalance socially and academically. And yet, for those women who appreciate and need the support of a female-predominant environment, it was available to them. As a female student, I found Sarah Lawrence ideal. It is naive to assume that men and women have an identical perspective, and I personally appreciate the view points that my male colleagues had to share in class. At the same time, simply by virtue of the college's structure, a certain type of personality thrived there, and that was a type that was resistant to established traditions of patriarchy. It was an environment where, I believe, both sexes could thrive, and would thrive based upon merit as opposed to expectation.//

//I support co-ed, particularly at the College level. Dating, and having men as friends and colleagues enriches the learning experience. And today, the reality is that many SLC men are gay, which provides even greater diversity.//

//The co-ed culture was so healthy the years I attended SLC. Students were easy with each other, politically active, comfortable with 'open' gay and straight events, concerns, protests, fund-raisers and celebrations. The administration was excited by the vibrancy of the students - making a 'laissez faire' policy of noninterference seem nearly draconian. The administration seemed 'advocating.' I had never before encountered (and have not since) a governing body of an institution to be so 'pro' active, healthy, political voices, celebrations of individuality, petitions and collective efforts. Nor have I since felt daily 'wholistic' effects like those I experienced at SLC upon having been immersed in a diverse, supportive, reading, talking, thinking and active community of professors and students. SLC is rare and valuable. //

//I believe co-education is instrumental to a balanced education, intellectually and socially. When I attended SLC, the women studies programs provided something unique to the women attending SLC which links SLC's past to its present and to its future. A niche which is key to not exclude anyone and yet keep a focus and an important part of what Sarah Lawrence stands for. Equality through education and understanding.//

//I remember a class given by Percy Charles on English History through the the eyes of gender. I was a freshman boy in a class of thirteen upper-class women. I think there were two other guys. This was an amazing class for many reasons. Ms. Charles was a great teacher and the texts were chosen from authors who were not widely read. But what made this class were the other students and the passion/anger/frustration they bought to the male manipulation of recorded time. As an 18 year old boy from Oklahoma it had never occurred to me that students could feel angry about the way history created warped identity. I am so thankful to those women. Today I am the Director of Newroads High School in Santa Monica, California. Newroads is progressive and groovy and we wrestle with history and texts and portrayal and knowingness that has his roots way back in conversations at 8:00 am in Andrew's House. What I received from 'coeducation' was a school of mainly female scholars that made me think and rethink my version of the world.//

//I think it is important for people of both sexes to learn about each other. While 'men may be from Mars and women from Venus,' relationships are formed on Earth.//

//It is possible for SLC to maintain it's special brand of education with a coed influence...the world, of course, is coed! Many of SLC's amazing programs and courses of study, political influences etc... wouldn't be so amazing without the influence of coeducation. I am particularly thinking of the things instituted by Regina Arnold! I think coeducation changed the image of SLC for the better...from that of a 'hoity toity' school for the social elite to that of a forward thinking/practicing institute for higher learning. I wouldn't have traded my years at SLC for the world! //

//I was one of the 15 male students admitted in 9/69. For me, it was like hitting the lottery, coming from a then-polarized Duke University to a nurturing Sadie Lou, where we could identify only one known FBI informant and where elder stateswoman Grace Paley proved her credentials as a 'revolutionist' to others jailed with her at RFK Stadium in the DC anti-war protest sweeps by declaring to the dubious youth, 'F#@K THIS S@$T!' I wasn't too well adjusted then and not much has changed, and the same can be said for the school. Who would ever want to return to the days of hordes of Yale males descending on Bronxville in futile efforts to spread their conservative charms? Diversity is powerful. I learned more from the SLC role models, primarily women, than I could ever acknowledge but I still believe the males should be spared//

//A female/male ratio like SLC's used to be unusual for a coeducational college, but I think more and more colleges these days are realizing that they have more women than men, some by a large percentage (most notably in their applicant pool), and they are struggling to keep the ratio somewhere near 50/50. What is unusual about SLC is the feminine atmosphere on campus, and the fact that women feel empowered in the classroom and not dominated by their male peers. I've been to other colleges that have a higher percentage of female students than male students, but the atmosphere was still very masculine and the gender roles were traditional. So as far as I'm concerned, SLC offers the best of both worlds - an environment that encourages and inspires women while simultaneously providing the benefits of coeducation.//

//There are clearly more women @ SLC. You see it in the classroom, @ Bates, etc. But, as a male, it is rewarding to be around so many intelligent and ambitious women.//

SLC's Best Kept Secret? Honey, that's a girls' school. The GI Bill and the SLC Man