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Women’s Colleges

September 22, 2006

The New York Times ran a story yesterday on women’s colleges, and on how “more” of them have to open their doors to men. The article focused on the recently changed status of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

The problem with this article, especially its headline, is that it is inaccurate. While it is true that the few remaining women’s colleges in America do feel pressure to open their doors to men, it is ~not~ happening on an increasing scale. It’s been going on since the 1970s. Beginning in the late 1960s, all small, single-sex colleges began to experience decreasing enrollments. Why? Baby Boomers simply expressed more interest in co-educational colleges.

So, while those women at Randolph-Macon do perhaps deserve our sympathy, their plight is not a new one. It’s not even necessarily a recent trend. The institutions cited in the piece – Regis, Douglass, H. Sophie Newcomb, and Wells Colleges – are just some of the last holdouts from the closings that began in the 1970s. – TL

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