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Yale Needs Women


How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant
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Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman were right to consider a student's toughness when selecting Yale's first women undergrads? As a high school senior, would you have met this standard?

Created: 06/24/21

Replies: 15

Posted Jun. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2732

Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman were right to consider a student's toughness when selecting Yale's first women undergrads? As a high school senior, would you have met this standard?

After screening for academic strength, Sam Chauncey and Elga Wasserman looked for toughness when selecting Yale's first women undergraduates. "There was no point in taking a timid woman and putting her in this environment," said Chauncey, "because it could crush you." Do you think they were right to consider a student's toughness? As a high school senior, would you have met this standard?


Posted Jun. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickys

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 55

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Yes, I do think it was the right decision to include a toughness factor for the first classes of women otherwise I think many women would have dropped out. There were a number of factors that made it difficult for the women.


Posted Jun. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
smallino

Join Date: 06/06/21

Posts: 21

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Yes, I thought that an interesting criteria but it makes sense. I wasn’t that tough. I was naive and sheltered in 1968 when I graduated. I might have been tougher a few years later.


Posted Jun. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
labbelee

Join Date: 04/29/11

Posts: 26

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

I totally agree with their decision. As a graduating senior I would not had the gumption or the willingness to face going to where I was not wanted.


Posted Jun. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RuthEh

Join Date: 07/31/17

Posts: 55

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Yes, both academically and personality wise. Men and boys can be brutal to females, especially their peers. If this program were to succeed, women had to have very thick skin to tolerate this. Even today there are men problems in academia, went through it for 10 years while obtaining my education.


Posted Jul. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolynd

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 35

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Toughness was absolutely critical. Since male students wanted Yale to go co-ed to have more Barbie Dolls on campus -- I believe they did a great job in picking women that could go the distance. I would have been a lousy candldate.


Posted Jul. 03, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elizabethh

Join Date: 06/25/11

Posts: 22

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

I think they were absolutely right in considering a student’s toughness to integrate this all male school. They had so many obstacles to face they had to be tough. As a high school senior myself I had no idea what I wanted so Yale would not have been for me.


Posted Jul. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 109

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Yes, considering their "toughness" was essential for those women. He knew there would be so many obstacles for them to overcome. Without the grit, they wouldn't have survived.


Posted Jul. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 314

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

It speaks volumes that Chauncey and Wasserman even had to do this. Funny how it is seemingly always women (or minorities) who have to compensate for men who behave badly. With more planning, Yale could have created instruction in many areas like they did with the Sarrel's sex clinic instead of stating "Pressure should not be put on [student] activities if they were not eager to admit women to their number." Maybe the men could have attended classes on how to behave as gentleman or to practice acceptance. Geesh even the Golden Rule! Why do we continue to treat men like babies? We expect so little of them, and they rarely disappoint! If Yale specifically looked for toughness in the females they admitted, what does that say about the male "leaders" they were educating?


Posted Jul. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
smallino

Join Date: 06/06/21

Posts: 21

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Its interesting now that you raised that point, why do we have to modify our behavior to adapt to their bad behavior! Also dress. But the white guys were in strong control at this time, and we either conformed to their standards, or we didn't make progress.


Posted Jul. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 314

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

I completely understand what you are saying about conforming to get along and get ahead. I think in many ways we still do. Women even adopt the men’s argument about dress… “I don’t want to blame the victim but why did she wear such a short skirt?” When you look at our history, those who didn’t conform were harassed, beaten, had belongings burned, and were even killed!


Posted Jul. 17, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 114

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Yes, because the women had obstacles to overcome, even if they didn't realize it until they got to Yale. I would be tough enough now that I am older, but not sure I would have been tough enough when I was that young.


Posted Jul. 18, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marks

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 52

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

I asked myself this same question when I was reading the book! I think they were smart to do so. They clearly had some sense of how difficult/different the Yale experience would be for these women, and they wanted to do what they could to make sure those who were admitted had the grit to survive. When I read about just how tough they were, how they juggled so many things (jobs, clubs, sports, etc.) and then dealt with everything else, words like "respect" and "admiration" just weren't enough.


Posted Jul. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elizabethl

Join Date: 06/19/13

Posts: 17

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Definitely! It is already hard enough to leave home for college. Add in isolation and predatory behavior and a thick hide and mental toughness is a must.


Posted Jul. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tarablythe

Join Date: 01/14/21

Posts: 5

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

Even being in a completely generation than these women, I never would have been that strong coming out of high school. Even now in my mid-30s, I'm not sure I would be that tough today! I think it was the right decision to make at the time though - they needed to be strong enough to withstand whatever they would face at Yale as the first women. They needed to prove it was possible for other women to be able to follow them.


Posted Jul. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marianned

Join Date: 07/02/15

Posts: 91

RE: Do you think Chauncey and Wasserman ...

It is unfortunate, but yes, Chauncey and Wasserman were right to take the female students’ toughness into consideration. Those women were going to face all sorts of obstacles, no matter how much support they were given, and they weren’t given much. Compare that to the male students, who had always had a tacit support system from faculty, administration, and, most important of all, the Board of Trustees.


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