Wesleyan v. Wellesley: “Rather Dead than Coed?”
Editors' Note: The Argus editorial staff would like to apologize for the publication of the opinion piece titled “Wesleyan v. Wellesley: ‘Rather Dead than Coed?’” on Tuesday, Oct. 11. We failed to uphold our duty to ensure that articles, op-eds or otherwise, do not unfairly target individuals or groups. Many of the author's assertions in this piece were unfounded, and we apologize to those who were hurt or offended by them.
The article has been taken down from the Argus website and replaced by a statement from the author.
Author response posted 10/19 2:05 p.m.
I would first like to say that, like any opinion piece published in The Argus, “Wesleyan v. Wellesley: ‘Rather Dead than Coed?’” does not reflect the views of the general student body at Wesleyan or the newspaper's staff. I apologize to the University for causing unnecessary animosity between liberal arts institutions.
I sincerely regret the generalizations I made in this piece and apologize to students and alumni of women's colleges who do not share these experiences. My intention for the article was to showcase some of the stereotypes I encountered as a student during my first two years at Bryn Mawr and to explain why a women's college was not right for me.
Additionally, Wellesley is mentioned in the title of the article because the two schools are often confused with each other due to their similarity in nomenclature. However, I did not intend to extend this comparison to the broader experiences of attending a single-sex and co-ed education. I did not aim to incite a debate over which school is “better,” nor did I intend to attack any specific institution.
While I should not have generalized beyond my own experiences, these assertions were based on incidents that I witnessed during my time at Bryn Mawr.
The bigger issue for me was how men viewed Bryn Mawr women as a result of our single-sex experience. What initially appeared to be quirks that were not necessarily representative of the majority of Bryn Mawr students nevertheless become a starting point for Haverford and Swarthmore students to ridicule us. We were looked down upon for our lower liberal arts college ranking and mocked for wanting to study at their institutions. At Bryn Mawr, my fellow hallmates were harangued by a female Swarthmore student at a party (“You don’t go here, do you? Oh, let me guess—Bryn Mawr!”). I was told by another male student that he intended to take a class at Bryn Mawr “because it was an easy A.” It was through degrading experiences like these that were imposed on Bryn Mawr as a result of reinforced stereotypes that I came to believe the self-segregation of women’s colleges had backfired.
The majority of commenters on this article are alumni and students and women's colleges who adamantly assert that no such incidents occur at their institutions. Perhaps I was one of an unfortunate few at Bryn Mawr to witness events like this on a regular basis. However, many of my classmates at the time told me they also felt marginalized by the experience of attending an all-girls school, and I know many who transferred as well.
I do not dispute anyone’s satisfaction or happiness with her single-sex college experience. If my description contradicts your women’s college experience, I can only say I am envious. I intended to highlight a side of the women’s college experience that is less often portrayed. These negative stereotypes do exist and continue to be perpetuated and I condemn them as much as any commenter.
I came to Wesleyan because it was a good fit for me. I remain confident that I would have received a similarly exceptional education had I graduated from Bryn Mawr; the only change is that I am finally satisfied with my college experience.
I am glad this issue has brought about a public discussion, and have learned a lot from this experience as well. Again, I apologize for the generalizations made in my original piece, but I continue to stand by my opinion about same-sex education and invite readers to critique my arguments, not my personal character.