Shall Women Now Be Excluded From Adelbert College of Western Reserve University

Shall Women Now Be Excluded From Adelbert College of Western Reserve University

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Excerpt from Shall Women Now Be Excluded From Adelbert College of Western Reserve University: An Argument Presented to the Board of Trustees, Nov; 7th, 1884

The question for decision is not the original question, whether women shall be admitted to the privileges of this College. That question was decided long ago. They are admitted. The doors have been open to them for twelve years. It is not the abstract question, whether the education offered here is the best for women or is good for women. It is not the theoretical question, whether the education of women ought to be identical with that of men. Much might be said on both these questions, pro and con, but it would all be aside from the point now before us. These are ever lasting questions always before the debating clubs. It is equally de batable whether the education offered here is the best for men. Many people now maintain that the college course, as we have it here, is neither best, nor good for men. Probably every member of this Board would declare that in some respect or other. And in some degree or other, this course is not first best, perhaps that it is not second rate; and some members have openly declared that it isnot good enough to allow them to send their sons to the College. But the comparative goodness of the course of study and instruction for men or women is not the subject now to be debated and decided.

This College (and all others) offers a certain course, or certain courses, of study to the public. We are like a merchant offering goods for sale. He offers what he has and what he thinks some people will wish to buy. He caters to the market in his own line to the best of his ability. Those who like his goods or think they cannot do better, can take them at the prices named. He cannot compel a purchaser. Just so with our courses of study. We do not compel man or woman to take them. We only offer them. They do as they please. If women do not like them or find them adapted to their needs, the College will not be crowded by numbers of women.

The question before us is simply this: Shall the privileges of education in this College, such as they are, which have been offered to women for twelve years, henceforth be refused to them? Or, in other words: Shall women now be turned out from this College? The women are here, here because they wish to be; not because it was Hobson's choice, this or nothing. It is no more true on the part of the women and their parents, than it IS on the part of. The men and their parents, that they would have gone elsewhere if they could, or that it was only a sad necessity which brought them to a College where men were admitted. It is no more true of the men now in College or of those who have been here since 1873, than it was of those who were here from 1826 to 1873, that it was an unpleasant necessity which brought them to this College or kept them in it. From 1826 to 1873, the period before women were admitted, only 44 per cent of those who entered this College graduated. From 1873 to 1884, the period in which women have been admitted, 57 per cent of those who entered have graduated. These figures show how untrue it is to say that the presence of women drives away men to graduate elsewhere. It has had precisely the opposite effect.

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