The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News March 3, 2006

This Week in Oberlin History

Curfews were no fun, right? In fact, one of the appeals of going away to college is freedom from those kinds of restrictions. But this week in 1966, senior girls were fighting to be free of a curfew — called “Women’s Hours.” They were fighting and they were losing.

The picture is a winning entry from a YMCA photography contest. It’s by Andrew Eskind, then a college sophomore.

Oberlin in History
March 1966

A petition has been circulating in the women’s dormitories since Friday urging Women’s Board to reconsider its decision not to abolish senior women’s hours. Emalee Godsey, who wrote the petition, reported that there has been “great response” to it.

“The petition was sent out,” Miss Godsey stated, “because of the close seven-to-five vote in the Board meeting Feb. 9, and because of the overwhelming support of the poll for the abolition of senior women’s hours.”

The proposal was rejected, according to Mrs. Joseph Reichard, acting dean of women, chiefly because of considerations for the girls’ safety. Eliminating hours would, in Mrs. Reichard’s opinion, change the relationship of the College to the students and their parents.

The petition argues that senior women are treated as adults in the classroom but are not allowed to run their own lives outside of it. It also suggests that a workable “mechanicalistic” way of insuring the safety of the girls was not thoroughly investigated.

“The petition raises several legalistic considerations,” commented College senior Leslie Mammen, president of the women’s board. The vote was taken not on the mechanics, she added, but on the ideology of eliminating women’s hours.

“However, those arguing against abolishing senior women’s hours did so from material reasons. This is ducking the issue,” she affirmed.

The question of women’s hours was not dismissed with the vote on the proposal. Mrs. Reichard stated then that there would be further consideration of making the hours more flexible for senior women.

“Several of us on Women’s Board find making hours more flexible senseless,” Miss Mammen continued. “If this were done (in effect) there would not be any rule at all.”


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