February 27, 2008

Feburary 27, 1918: The Flat Hat

To again quote from Laura Parrish's M.A. thesis When Mary Entered with Her Brother William: Women Students at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945:

The Flat Hat, the student newspaper and chief forum of student opinion at the College of William and Mary, did not comment on the Strode Bill until after it had passed the Senate. On February 27, the paper discussed the effects of coeducation in negative terms. It saw the necessary enlargement of the physical plant and of the faculty as being of questionable value and as a step that would not "help our tradition in the least." The article, or editorial as it may have been, suggested making another college coeducational or upgrading one of the women's normal schools. It concluded with the hopes that if coeducation became a reality, the students would "make the best of it," and "that our environment--socially and in every other way [would] be benefited by coeducation."

The Strode bill had passed the Virginia Senate by a vote of 19 to 13. The necessary physical plant improvements at the College included expanding certain departments (more faculty) and adding more dormitories and in the short-term completing the remodeling of existing dorms to accommodate "such a new addition to our student body." The Flat Hat's editors seem to have accepted the eventuality of coeducation at their College by this date.

For additional information about the first women students at the College of William and Mary see: When Mary Entered with her Brother William: Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945 by Laura F. Parrish; "The Petticoat Invasion": Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945; The Martha Barksdale Papers; and the Women at the College of William and Mary page on the Special Collections Research Center Wiki.

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