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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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There was debate about whether the first class of women would be put in one or two colleges or distributed across all twelve. How do you think you would have come down on this issue before reading the book? How about afterwards?

Created: 06/24/21

Replies: 11

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

There was debate about whether the first class of women would be put in one or two colleges or distributed across all twelve. How do you think you would have come down on this issue before reading the book? How about afterwards?

There was quite a lot of debate about whether the first class of Yale women would be put in one or two colleges vs being equally distributed to all twelve. How do you think you would have come down on this issue before reading the book? How about afterwards?


Posted Jun. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 1091

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

Without understanding how isolated the women would feel as a result, I do think that I would have recommended spreading them among the various colleges, which was actually what the male student body demanded. It only became apparent that this was a mistake later.


Posted Jun. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

Given the small number of women in the first class at Yale, I was surprised by this decision. My primary concerns were safety and support. I realized while reading that this arrangement, spreading the women out, made it more difficult for them to "organize" and advocate for themselves. Separated, there were only one or two people focused on increasing the involvement of women in extra curricular activities (sports, marching band, journalism)-primarily because the women were so isolated from one another that they didn't know what was affecting the others in their class. The locks on the doors issue may have been addressed earlier on if the women had had an opportunity to meet and discuss their issues and concerns as a group of 250. There was little opportunity for them to share their experiences with one another regarding what was working and what wasn't. I think (I hope) there might have been fewer attacks on women if larger groups were walking together to their dorm rooms after an evening of studying at the library or returning from an evening class--

I think of the seating charts I used to make for my fifth graders. I learned quickly to spread my talkers around the room; never near one another if at all possible. This made MY school day easier. I can't help but wonder if the plan to split the women among the 12 colleges was more nefarious than it was presented to be. There were fewer women to interact with by dividing the 250 into 12. They didn't have an "audience" for their concerns (an audience who could be empathetic and supportive), and they were definitely isolated. This arrangement also served to remind them how "small" they really were.


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

Join Date: 06/06/21

Posts: 68

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

I think my experience at a university dominated by men was positive because they placed first generation women students in one dorm. In a major university, that one small dorm housed all undergraduate females, who weren't commuters. We made close friendships that continued throughout our time there. If we'd been spread out across the campus, it would have been isolating, lonely, and probably dangerous, as it was for the Yale women


Posted Jun. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Harley's Mom

Join Date: 02/21/19

Posts: 44

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

I believe I would have thought that assigning the women to different schools would work out well, not realizing how isolating it would be for these women and how hard it would be to make friends. In hindsight, assigning them to just a couple of colleges would have made them feel more supported and more easily develop friendships. Life at Yale was difficult enough without the added burden of isolation,


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

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 35

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

If they wanted to make the program fail -- the spread them thin strategy was inspired. There were so many issues that no one thought of until they popped up, showed a serious lapse in planning.


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

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 181

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

acstrine (above) stated my thoughts perfectly! The isolation must have felt awful. Like others stated, was it intentional to keep them down? Or was it a major mistake?


Posted Jul. 09, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marianned

Join Date: 07/02/15

Posts: 100

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

I didn’t agree with Yale’s housing decision from the very beginning. Dividing the women among twelve houses made them feel isolated. They also lacked the support they needed to make co-education at Yale successful from the get-go. I don’t think Kingman Brewster or the Yale Board of Trustees had any idea how those college women would be affected by their decision, nor did they care, in my opinion. They simply did not listen to the right people.


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

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 241

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

I think I would have been inclined to keep them together. This would have resulted in less isolation for the women and they may have had more opportunities to understand that they were not the only ones living with certain issues. Although, even the freshman women, who were in one building didn't seem to have a lot of contact with each other. But I got the impression that even in that building, they were separated due to the building layout. I think there would have been more solidarity among the women if they had been kept together because everywhere they went on campus, they were surrounded by men.


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

Join Date: 07/18/18

Posts: 40

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

I agree with the other readers that spreading the women out was a way to keep them isolated from the support they needed. College friendships are solidified by experiencing the every day as well as academic pursuits.


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

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 124

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

I can sort of understand why Yale's administration thought it would be a good idea to spread the women out, but this was a terrible decision. Considering the small numbers, the isolation was even more predictable. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way these women kept it together and outperformed their male counterparts. I wonder if they would have been even more successful if the housing situation had been handled better. Equally appalling was the lack of action from administration (or the slow crawl of any action) when issues were brought to their attention.


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

Join Date: 06/19/13

Posts: 21

RE: There was debate about whether the ...

I hope isolation wasn't the point but I wonder.... I have been watching Netflix's Dear White People which is set in a predominantly white ivy. All the black students are placed in one dorm; once they start protesting racist behavior there is an alumni push to integrate all dorms. A unified minority is a threat to the status quo.


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