This November will mark 50 several years given that the formal vote to institute coeducation at the College, but prior to the choice, approximately 230 women attended Dartmouth by way of exchange systems.

by Emily Lu
| 9/7/21 5:50am


Courtesy of Floran Fowkes ’71

Resource: Courtesy of Floran Fowkes ’71

This report is highlighted in the 2021 Freshman exclusive challenge.

Fifty decades back, a cohort of 150 ladies learners arrived at the all-male institution of Dartmouth University. This would be the very last tutorial year of exchange programs that permitted women to go to the School just before the Board of Trustees voted in November 1971 to formally institute coeducation.

Prior to the fall of 1972, when gals learners initially matriculated at the Faculty, Dartmouth hosted several co-academic months and tutorial exchanges that allowed women of all ages to examine campus. The to start with ladies accepted by Dartmouth in an trade have been a group of 7 drama students in the 1968-1969 academic calendar year, nevertheless they ended up not permitted to live in the dormitories. In the adhering to two a long time, close to 70 upperclassmen ladies were accepted by trade programs with other establishments. The previous 12 months of the trade program, educational yr 1971-1972, saw 150 women students enroll at Dartmouth. 

Campus Everyday living

The exchange calendar year provided new possibilities for educational obstacle and socialization. Most students participated by the 12-college or university trade, a system that at first consisted of 10 faculties, resolved the nationwide press for coeducation and allowed students from other northeastern single-sexual intercourse institutions to go to a diverse college for a yr, according to College or university archivist Peter Carini. 

“It was magical to me — it was one thing new and remarkable, and I necessary it,” Alice Malone ’71, who made the decision to attend Dartmouth on an trade method right after mastering about the option on a bulletin board at Occidental University, said. “Dartmouth was what you produced it, and it was an possibility that most of us felt we shouldn’t miss.”

Ladies exchange students — known as “co-eds” at the time — have been all housed in Cohen Hall and afterwards North Massachusetts Hall, in accordance to Malone. Through the 1970–1971 educational year, male students outnumbered the girls 46 to 1. 

Gabrielle Handler ’70 explained that even as a member of a single of the first cohorts of girls at the School, she was incredibly enthusiastic about attending. 

“There was a specified kind of thrill and exhilaration in getting in the vanguard,” Handler mentioned. “It was an opening up of options. That was the whole period — possibilities being widened and opened and broadened for women of all ages.”

Sarah Marter ’72, who participated in the exchange program from Wellesley School, described the reactions of the male pupils as “varied,” adding that the place of Cohen — directly driving fraternity row — was not optimal. In accordance to Floran Fowkes ’71, though upperclassmen in unique were being not “necessarily heat and welcoming,” freshmen and sophomores had been primarily fired up to have females on campus. 

In the same way, in classrooms, women learners had combined ordeals with professors. Amy Sabrin ’72 claimed she was warned to stay clear of a specific artwork class thanks to the professor’s sights.

“Some of the fellas [told me] that the trainer was a misogynist, and he did not feel gals could be major artists, and I would never ever get a superior grade — and they were ideal,” Sabrin reported. 

While the ratio of male to woman college students generally meant there was rarely more than one girl in any given course, Fowkes explained that did not prevent their participation and willingness to master. She extra that women of all ages students often took edge of office hours to reach out to professors and build mentoring relationships. 

“We were quite assertive as a team,” Fowkes stated. “We weren’t going to sit and not solution issues or ended up cowed by the reality that we were the only woman in the class, and I imagine that speaks volumes to who we had been as folks.”

In accordance to a Rauner Assortment timeline, in 1970, 83% of the university student overall body favored coeducation. A vocal proponent was David Aylward ’71, who explained that he was seriously associated in lobbying for coeducation because he considered that women of all ages learners would make Dartmouth a a great deal greater position. 

“Dartmouth was a really harmful atmosphere,” Aylward said. “It was an liquor-fueled, intolerant, homogenous, misogynistic, disrespectful scholar society … Possessing a ordinary relationship with a woman was virtually difficult.”

A Independent College

Even with help from the vast majority of pupils, school and alumni for coeducation, the sort it would just take at the University was undetermined — in particular as Title IX discussions entered the photo. Plans for coeducation at Dartmouth ended up at first targeted on a focus on enrollment of 1,000 women across the Higher education and maintaining the variety of male undergraduate pupils at 3,000. Under Title IX, however, coeducational establishments would be needed to admit adult men and women of all ages on a non-discriminatory foundation.

The proposed regulation at the time — which would not be enacted right up until June 1972 — contained an exception that allowed single-sexual intercourse institutions to keep their admissions process. As a end result, dialogue emerged of making a separate, “coordinate” all-female university, basically a sister school. The connected university would share Dartmouth’s campus to create the effect of coeducation, but would be legally handled as a distinct establishment. According to Carini, other choices included building Colby Sawyer College or university, situated in New London, N.H., a sister institution or developing a independent school situated in Norwich. 

“The strategy that gals had individual schooling demands was offensive,” Sabrin claimed. “… Even then, I understood that it was a proposal to attempt to circumvent what was about to become legislation: Title IX.”

Sabrin, who was the initial female editor at The Dartmouth, said she expressed her “outrage” at the time by penning a column in the paper. This was fulfilled with some backlash from students, together with offensive notes taped to the door of her dorm space. 

Even now, Sabrin structured with other girls pupils and staff members to problem a statement opposing an associated school for ladies at the University and inquiring for a assembly with then-Faculty President John Kemeny. After receiving a petition signed by nearly 50 women students and hearing opinions from college, Sabrin reported that Kemeny dropped the notion.

Tension on the System

According to an alumni poll conducted in 1970, 59% of alumni approved of raising the range of ladies learners at Dartmouth. Within just this bulk, classes that had graduated inside of the past decade were more strongly in favor of coeducation — 81% of the Classes of 1960 to 1969 favored coeducation — even though in the Classes of 1893 to 1925, the approval charge was a mere 46%.

Background and women’s, gender and sexuality research professor Annelise Orleck stated that amongst potent donors to the College, there was a sizable minority of opponents to coeducation. These alumni held onto Dartmouth’s record of “hypermasculinity,” Orleck stated. 

In buy to deal with the alumni who experienced qualms about coeducation, Fowkes stated that professors typically arranged groups of gals pupils to communicate at alumni events, specifically students who have been intrigued in pursuing graduate college or particular professions. 

“There was a tiny bit of hostility [from the alums],” Fowkes mentioned. “Some of the alums were being certain that the only rationale you required to go to Dartmouth was to uncover a Dartmouth husband.” 

Some college students therefore felt that the trade applications had been handled as a metric of how profitable coeducation would be at Dartmouth. Marter said there was strain on ladies college students to perform at their most effective and recalled when her advisor spoke to her about enhancing her grades right after she obtained a C+ in a class.

“We did feel like we had to symbolize, be great college students and contributing associates of the neighborhood,” Sabrin mentioned. 

Reuniting with Dartmouth

Inspite of the role of these women of all ages in facilitating Dartmouth’s changeover to coeducation, the School held just about no data of these pupils. Only in the past couple decades, Sabrin reported, have these gals been invited to alumni activities and adopted by the Courses of 1969 by way of 1972.

“I really do not consider the administration actually at any time considered of us as genuine Dartmouth college students, and that was even more borne out by the simple fact that it took 40 many years for us to get invited to a reunion,” Sabrin stated. 

Aylward, who managed his class’s 45th reunion e book, claimed he made it a mission to discover the women of all ages trade learners who shared time on campus with the Course of 1971. Discouraged that the School saved no documentation of this historical past, Aylward worked with Malone to monitor down quite a few of the other women pupils by emailing the faculties that experienced participated in the exchange.

Fowkes claimed that class adoptions have served as a way to connect with some trade pupils she may not have satisfied when at the University, as there were being couple of pursuits that promoted a sense of unity within the cohort of women of all ages. 

“It has seriously been a address to satisfy these other women who have absent on to do excellent items,” Fowkes reported.

In accordance to Aylward, in the past five several years, extra than 30 ladies have reconnected with the Higher education through adoptions by their respective graduating classes.

“Those girls are personally liable for Dartmouth getting to be co-academic,” Aylward reported. “If as a team they had not contributed the way they contributed, that would have been the finish of coeducation … They had been real pioneers. They bought a whole lot of arrows in the back, but they actually changed the position.”