Enrollment quota

Male to Female Ratio at Dickinson

October 24, 2003

As reported by Jerilyn Covert in the October 24, 2003 Dickinsonian,
Dickinson College faced a low male to female ratio in the early years
of the 21st century and sought ways of bridging the gap without changing
admissions standards.

"Historical" in " Women at Dickinson College" - by Josephine Brunyate Meredith

circa 1935

The introductory part of her report is entitled "Historical." In it she briefly accounts for the reasons women had not been admitted into Dickinson College up until 1884 and outlines the various developments that arose from that year on. Developments addressed include: additions to faculty and trends in enrollment.

Trustees deemed admission of women prior to 1884 inadvisable due to the saturation of recitation rooms, but co-education for Dickinson had been discussed for some time before housing conditions allowed women to
be admitted.

Progress Report: Commission on the Status of Women at Dickinson College

May 4, 1973

This Progress Reports includes changes and plans to change College policy regarding female students. Most notably is the mention of the 1973 Spring semester and the success of the movements to "rescind the 'sex quota,' by action of the Board of Trustees, so that henceforth Dickinson College will strive for an approximate ratio of 1:1 in admissions of male and female students; and to omit singing at College functions the last verse of the Alma Mater, with its references to 'men' and 'sons.'"

Restrictions on Percentage of Women Students Removed (For the Present Emergency)

December 9, 1950

In a report to the Board of Trustees, President William W. Edel recommended the removal of the restrictions in existence at the college on the percentage of women students allowed to enroll. His report on faculty reductions suggests that college enrollment had declined significantly and that the college's finances were in danger. The Board of Trustees, however, approved the recommendation with the stipulation that the "present restrictions on the percentage of women students be removed for the present emergency" [emphasis added].

Response to Prettyman's Call for More Women

December 9, 1944

In response to President Prettyman's call for coeducation "in the true sense of the term," the Board of Trustees did not take any action. They considered the recommendation to change the ratio of male and female students but chose to do nothing because "action had already been taken sufficient to cover the case." The minutes do not explain to which action this statement refers.

More Women at Dickinson College, More Money in the Coffers

December 9, 1944

President Cornelius William Prettyman argues in a letter to the Board of Trustees that Dickinson College should become "a coeducational college in the true sense of the term." He points out that 163 of the 253 students at the college were women and that, in the future, this number would only continue to grow. He adds that women "are entering college in ever greater numbers." Thus, he recommends that Dickinson College educate both male and female students in equal numbers and wishes to enforce a 50-50 ratio of female to male students.

Let the Board Decide

December 9, 1944

On December 9, 1944, an Executive Committee meeting for the Board of Trustees voted to pass on President Boyd Lee Spahr's recommendations on the admission of women to Dickinson College to the entire Board of Trustees. They do not specify exactly which recommendation they adopted.

Changes in the Quota for Women Students?

May 27, 1944

President Fred Pierce Corson reported to the Board of Trustees that the college would have a full enrollment of female students. However, he cautioned that increasing the number of women students would also increase costs for the college due to the need for new facilities and other additions. The college would lose money in the process unless it changed the quota policy for women. There is no indication in the minutes that this suggestion was accepted by the Board.

"We Must Now Refuse Admission to Both Men and Women," 1923

June 4, 1923

On June 4, 1923, the Board of Trustees discussed the number of applicants they received. As opposed to further limiting the number of women at Dickinson College, the Trustees decided to stick by their quota and instead limit the number of both men and women admitted to the school.