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Dec. 3, 2004 12 p.m.
Wells College is one of the smallest institutions for higher learning in the U.S. It's also one of just a few dozen left whose students are all female.
That may soon change.
The Wells College Board of Trustees recently decided to admit men for the first time since the school was founded in central New York in 1868, and many of the young ladies who enrolled at Wells aren't happy about boys moving in.
There was a six-day 60's style sit-in at the school's administration building after the decision was announced, attracting more than half of the 390 or so students, and a protest march through the tiny town of Aurora to fight the move to co-ed, which is scheduled to begin next fall.
When the demonstrations failed to change the minds of the folks in charge, a couple of students actually filed a lawsuit, alleging breach of contract, among other things, seeking to prevent the school from admitting men until after this year's incoming class graduates in 2008.
The school says it needs men to survive, since only 3 percent of girls nationwide sign up for a same-sex education, and enrollment at Wells has been dropping for years. The school's president told me she “would be very very worried about the future of Wells” if men aren't allowed.
But some of the students told me they're leaving if the lawsuit fails and claimed so will many of their classmates. They believe the number of transfers will be so large it will defeat the purpose of the co-ed decision.
A court hearing on the lawsuit is set for December 16th.
And if you're wondering why some of the girls here feel boys would be so bad, watch our story!
[Click the video tab in the upper right to watch Leventhal's reports.]
I applaud the efforts of these students at Wells College. It is only fair that the college allow them to graduate from the women's college they applied to and are enrolled in. The students are only asking that the decision to admit men be deferred until they graduate.
Jan (Washington DC)
Glad to see that my alma mater has made your "Rambles."
Thanks for the story about Wells College finally entering the 20th century (albeit a few years too late) and their decision to allow men.
This is a victory for men everywhere. We don't want more than our share and we certainly do not want to be patronized. As well, we do not see this as an "us-against-them" thing; we really want to get along peacefully and be considered equals. We have been put down and treated as second-class citizens for far too long. All we want is what we rightfully deserve.
Dave (Tucson, AZ)
There is something about this whole thing that smacks of hypocrite. You know as well as I do that if the situation were reversed and there was a college that only admitted men these same women would be out there making a big stink until women were admitted. All you'd hear would be charges of chauvinism and sex discrimination. It seems these so-called feminists want it both ways. Well, I am so sorry but that's not the way it works in this country. If it's wrong for one gender then it's wrong for the other.
— John (Rockford, IL)
Well's women hypocrisy! Women want to get into men's colleges and go to court to break their way in. But now they go to court to keep the men out. Feminist Double Standard!