"Let no one say, and
say it to your shame
C. S. Lewis
It is clear that separate colleges for men and women no longer seem as useful as coeducational ones. Recently, a good many of the "Ivy League" men's and women's colleges have announced plans to admit students of the other sex. Directly opposed to this integrative trend in education, however, are sex-role differences between men and women. The well-documented, common-sense facts are that most of the working world is a man's world and that women have to spend a significant portion of their lives raising children. These facts certainly have an effect on college life, in one way or another. If they are not recognized by both men and women during college, then there is waste at both ends; if they are recognized, they can be put to some purposeful educational use. The virtue of separate colleges, of course, was that they provided for the latter. Their slow passing now is in no way solving the educational issue of how to deal with sex-role differences, but, instead, is making it more dramatic. Various colleges have realized this. Hampshire is one.
And Hampshire has commissioned this report to recommend some appropriate actions.
Now, this report has a certain character.
It is not at all original. It depends on The Making of a College for certifying bold change. It depends on other papers by the Hampshire staff for some of its special plans. Most of all, it depends on the work of many, many writers, researchers, and educators who have studied women's affairs for its matter. In places, it runs the risk of being a very thin covering indeed for the masses of research, ideas, and information underlying it. The references show that. There is almost no new data here, partly because there was not the time or resources to gather it, even more because others have gathered so much, and mostly because data is not the issue. There are almost no new arguments here, for the subject is as well traveled by now as a major turnpike. There are almost no new ideas here, for they could only come from new information and inference.
Instead, its virtue is thoroughness. It starts at the beginning with a general philosophy of coeducation, then organizes a mass of background material on the differences between men and women, and finally uses these to justify definite, practical recommendations for all aspects of Hampshire College.
Its vice is it's length -- for words, nowadays, should be treated as luxuries.
Its mood is militant. There is discretion and realism, too, but no one, after all, thinks that changing coeducation, like changing any other part of our educational system, is easy to do. If the recommendations go any farther than a conference table, they are bound to be controversial.
Of course, this report
is only one part of all there is to do. The author has been gathering raw
material to match her words here, and will continue to lend her support
as usefully as possible.
[END OF PREFACE]