The latest idea in campus housing is the bisexual dormitory. These happen to be cheap, since they use less space, but they are also politic, since they satisfy student demand for parietal freedom.
So far, experience with integrated housing has been limited. Stanford and the University of Rochester are among those that have tried it for a few years now. In both these cases, however, the actual integration is not thorough. At Stanford, men and women live in the same buildings but have separate entrances. The corridors are divided by swinging doors that can be locked. There are visitation rules. At Rochester, men and women live on separate floors of the same buildings. Visitation is open, but can be limited by a 75% vote of floor members. Both Stanford and Rochester have separate housing available also. At Rochester, only juniors and seniors may live in the integrated Towers. In Europe, many students live in groups in apartments near universities, or, in some cases, in university housing with men rooming next to women. The off-campus "communes" vary from sharing everything, including beds, to sharing only expenses. In university housing, the showers and toilets are segregated and there are rules against all-night visitation. However, in most cases, the universities still provide separate housing. The main difference between
Europe and America on this score is simply that European universities have never tried as much to act in loco parentis and so allow their students to live as they please.
The question of what effect integrated or separate housing has on women in particular is still open. There are various opinions. One psychiatrist, Dr. Ann Ulanov, believes that girls fear being "left out" more than boys do. They hurry into integrated situations as fast as possible, but then are never able to stand apart, and cannot develop as individuals. Women need help to grow independently, Dr. Ulanov thinks, and should be required to live in separate dormitories. Some women students agree with this, saying that they like, even depend on, chances for privacy, and perhaps this is why they have tolerated restrictions: most coeducational colleges have had stricter visitation rules for the women's houses than the men's, giving no better reason than conventional protectiveness, yet the women accepted it until only recently. David McClelland, another psychologist, also believes in separate housing, but from a different angle. He feels that women care more than men about "control of access" in their residences and should be given the chance to make formal visitation rules, a job they tend to like doing. He also believes women naturally like to make their living quarters hospitable, whereas men do not care, so that women should have nicer rooms, with
cooking facilities. Still another point of view supporting separate housing is that the younger students would not be able to cope with it. There would particularly be a problem in mixing freshmen boys with upperclass girls.
Against these points, some psychiatrists feel that integrated housing helps men and women to drop preconceptions about each other and develop real friendships. Women students say that this brings a healthier attitude toward sex. A girl who moved from the Yale graduate school to a Berlin university is quoted as saying, "It seems that people here are not so ready to possess you as a commodity . . . I find the New England situation quite dreadful . . . [There, men] view women as a weekend pleasure, an accessory. You meet men on weekends for a special, romantic time, not to live or work together." This woman would be interested to know that Yale's Kingman Brewster, speaking at a Radcliffe conference, said, "I think we have learned from Stanford, from the state universities, from the universities abroad, that at least the option of a great degree of integration in residential arrangements is more normal, less frenetic, more conducive to a more moral relationship between the sexes than is this self-conscious segregation." This is the same argument used to justify coeducation, of course, carried to its next degree. Gardner Patterson, who chaired Princeton's committee on coeducation, makes a slightly
different kind of justification.
In terms of being a model of what an indulgently free society is, [I think the university ought to lead.] And I say "indulgently free" because I think that if our main business is in the discovery of knowledge, as well as in the training of students to be capable of having convictions that are really their own, we have to stick with the notion of taking in stride the risks of more freedom than would be tolerated in almost any other form of institution.
As to the "risks," there is some evidence, though not statistically significant, that colleges experimenting with integrated housing have found more problems with sex in the separate units than in the integrated ones.
Robert Birney's report on the House Plan at Hampshire describes the houses as small models of communal living. Surely, if this plan is to be followed it would demand integrated houses. Men's and women's shared responsibilities are an essential part of any living arrangement pretending community.
It is interesting to compare the debate over separate and integrated housing for men and women with that over housing for Negroes and whites. A college that establishes separate Negro dormitories may violate Federal law; yet colleges freely establish separate women's dormitories. The analogy works in many ways. There are the same issues of habit, fellow-feeling, privacy, dignity, and choice. In the main, officials have strongly urged integration between Negroes and whites, although allowing some separatism.
Some opinion leaders, trying to escape the choice between uni- or bi-sexual dormitories, have advised having apartments instead. This puts the emphasis on smaller communal groupings and at least solves tactical questions of toilet facilities, but it does not meet the basic dilemma. And Hampshire's dormitory designs rule out apartments, although they might be considered for future residences.
Finally, in questions where two opposing sides have equally strong arguments, and where individuals are involved intimately, the only resolution is to satisfy both. To quote Gardner Patterson again: "We found that the critical things in residential arrangements now seems to be to provide a wide range of choice."
--Hampshire should begin with one residential unit for men, one for women, and one for both sexes. Since the entire basis of this report is that Hampshire should prepare its students to make choices, this recommendation is the only one that will serve. Although full integration would mean men living next door to women, this will not fit with Hampshire's building plan, so that floor-by-floor integration will have to suffice. The designs for other buildings in future years, however, could be different. Within both the separate and the integrated units,-students should be allowed to work out their own parietal rules. There should be no restriction on the age of students in the integrated unit.
Students should be given a choice, upon admission, between separate or integrated housing; since the choices probably will not match the number of places, reassignment can be arbitrary. After a year, students should be allowed to transfer as freely as possible within the space limitations. As the college grows and adds houses, there should be continued debate as to whether they will be integrated or separate.
--Hampshire should place women as well as men in charge of residential units. This report has already discussed the importance of having women at all levels in the college structure. The House Plan is included, especially since it aims to create a model society. Single women and married women, the latter with husbands who teach, or work nearby, or work at home: these should be the Mistresses of the houses to match the Masters. In one case, perhaps, Hampshire might want to have a single man and a single woman as co-heads of a house. Naturally, Hampshire cannot plan on a large scale for only 300 students in 1970. However, if this report's recommendations apply, there will. be three kinds of residential units. The head of at least one of. these should be a woman.
Student Committee on Coeducation
--The students should form their own Committee on Coeducation. It should be composed of house representatives. Eventually, perhaps, each house would have its own sub-committee on coeducation. This is a logical scheme, since presumably all student activities will center around the houses, and the coeducational house will be an ideal forum for discussing the aims of coeducation. The student committee would not be a social committee, although it might want to affect the entertainment program at some points. Its job would be to aid the application of coeducational aims to all aspects of Hampshire life. Thus, it would parallel the faculty Committee on Coeducation, and would do many of the same things, including attend to career counseling. The two committees would have some joint meetings and might want to make a few joint decisions, but it is important for each one to have autonomy so as to act freely with their different constituencies and to pull or push the other out of its status quo.
--Hampshire should provide some housing on campus for married students. This is a long-term recommendation. Hampshire has not designed housing for married students because it cannot afford that now. But in keeping with the recommendation for variety and
open discussion about sex roles, it should have its married students on campus when it is possible. In the interim, married students should belong to one residential unit and take full part in its activities.
1. Residential Integration
The Stanford experiment was described to me by an ex-administrator there who said it was generally thought to be successful. Rochester's plan is laid out in a February, 1969, mimeographed sheet about Anderson and Wilder Towers. There have been some rumors it was giving problems. Ralph Blumenthal, "A Berlin Commune Is A Big Happy Family (Sometimes)", The New York Times Sunday Magazine, December 1, 1968, pp. 52-53, 162-174, portrays student living conditions that apply quite generally in Western Europe. The ex-Yale student is quoted in Blumenthal's article on p. 174.
Brewster and Patterson on integrated housing are quoted from a mimeographed transcript of Radcliffe's March 1, 1969, conference in New York on "Women and the University," pp. 10 and 17 respectively. One of Radcliffe's main reasons for going coeducational with Harvard, it seems, was the student demand for integrated housing: almost everything else was integrated before the decision.
Dean Birney's report is Hampshire's Bulletin #2, "The House Plan at Hampshire."
The latest squabble between a college and the Federal Government on separate Negro housing was at Antioch, although there have been others.
Patterson on choice of housing is quoted from the Radcliffe transcript mentioned above, p. 15.
Most of the subjects that might fall under this heading have been mentioned in the section on residential plans. There are just a few recommendations remaining.
It would not add to the climate this report seeks to create if the men and women split into different groups on a college newspaper, radio or film club, chess team, or the like. Men dominate these activities on most coeducational campuses, and the exceptions are called "tokenist." of course, there are two unknowns about the Hampshire situation: how much students will go to the other four campuses in the Valley for these activities; and how many of them will be established within the houses rather than campus-wide. However, if there are campus-wide activities at Hampshire, there should be free competition between men and women for the leading positions, and as much discussion encouraged about the competitive role here as about the intellectual role in the classroom. Men's and women's enclaves may spring up and settle again on students' whim, but these should not be structured as the normal pattern.
--Hampshire should encourage joint participation in all its campus activities.
Hampshire's plans for athletics are not clear yet. Perhaps the college will have to go as far as building its own hockey rink; perhaps it can leave its athletic program altogether to the surrounding colleges.
--If Hampshire does establish an athletic program on its own campus, it should emphasize sports that men and women can play together.
--Hampshire should try to make sure that a significant number of women speakers come to the campus each year, whatever the event or subject. In cases where men are invited who have wives with expertise in any field, the wives also should be used in some way. This is the kind of oversight the two Committees on Coeducation could exercise. Although it may seem picayune, it is just this sort of attention in day-to-day matters that may culminate in a new atmosphere for coeducation at Hampshire.
There are a number of feminist groups that could bear hearing at Hampshire. Some are radical, such as the Women's Liberation Movement and the Women's International Terrorists Corps from Hell; some are more moderate, such as the National Organization for Women; and some have public sanction, such as each state's Commission on the Status of Women. They all welcome an audience.
--Hampshire should sponsor a program with presentations and debate among various feminist groups and perhaps academics interested in women's affairs.
The time when Hampshire can make special awards to students and friends seems only a day in a crystal ball. Yet even this now-fancied ceremony will necessitate some attention to sex. Will there be some separate awards for men and women or only ones for either? Existing coeducational colleges have both, since donors give both. For instance, there are Joseph Smith awards for the men with the greatest leadership qualities, Mary Jones awards for the women with the highest academic average, and XYZ awards for anyone who shows the most promise for a teaching career. Hampshire, however, is new, and could choose, if it wanted, to refuse donors on the basis of a particular policy. Perfect equity would suggest that all awards be available for either sex; yet women, particularly, could gain from special incentives in separate awards.
--Hampshire should have some separate and some joint prizes, awards, and honors. That is, the college should allow donors to establish three kinds of awards. It should discourage an imbalance among them. If donors should give only one kind, by chance, Hampshire should actively encourage gifts of the other kinds. The college also should discourage awards that tend to perpetuate sex-role stereotypes. For instance, there should not be awards for the most popular woman senior and the most brilliant male science student; rather, there should be awards for the
brightest woman and the brightest man, an award for any student who makes a unique proposal for Hampshire's educational policies, and so forth. All this is so uncertain, so dependent on outsiders, that no thorough advance scheme would make sense. However, some forewarning always makes the unpredictable feel more at home.
Hampshire is fortunate to have Smith, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and the University of Massachusetts for its sponsors, and they are lucky in their protege. Hopefully, cooperation will turn into integration as the years run. There are many ways in which the five can help each other, even quite a few relating only to the issues of this report. Several of the latter stand out in particular. These have to do with faculty hiring, counseling, the curriculum, and the library. All of these deserve allied attention quite quickly.
--Hampshire should keep
its neighbors informed about its actions related to this report's recommendations,
and should cooperate with them particularly in the areas of faculty hiring,
counseling, the curriculum, and the library.
[END OF CHAPTER 5, SECTIONS