Women at the University of Virginia Women at UVa
Introduction
Virginia Gentlewomen
The First Students
Coordinate College
Graduate and Professional Schools
Women and University Life
breaking Tradition
Coeducation
Here to Stay, page 1
Here to Stay, page 2
Voices of Coeducation
beyond Coeducation
Timeline
Resources
Share Your Story


Coeducation

Here to Stay, part 1

At its February 1969 meeting, the Board of Visitors voted to lift all of the restrictions regarding the admission of women to the College. They agreed to admit qualified student wives and daughters of staff members during a transitional period from 1969 to 1970. University Provost Frank Hereford was given the task of preparing a plan for the gradual admission of women.

While Hereford was detailing his implementation plan in the spring of 1969, four women represented by American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and U.Va. alumnus John Lowe filed an official complaint against the University. The plaintiffs claimed that the University "severely discriminates against women in their admissions policies" and they appealed for a change to the policy to allow women to enter the College.

While the court did not force the University to coeducate (it had already resolved to do so), it did change the nature of the implementation of coeducation. Hereford's plan proposed gradually increasing the number of female students over the course of ten years and capping their enrollment at thirty-five percent of the student body in 1980.

The court mandated full coeducation within three years. The court also granted the plaintiffs a temporary injunction to study in the College in the Fall of 1969 rather than having to wait an additional year. Possibly deterred by a potentially hostile reception, only one of the four, Virginia Scott, enrolled at the University.

In compliance with the court's ruling, the University developed a two-year transition plan. It would admit 450 women to the College in September 1970, 550 women in 1971, and it would admit students without regard to sex in the Fall of 1972.

In September 1970, after 150 years of exclusion, the first class of undergraduate women entered the College of Arts and Sciences at U.Va.

Minutes of the Rector and Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia. 1969.
University of Virginia Special Collections

At their February 1969 meeting, the Board of Visitors passed a resolution approving the admission of women to the College for the Fall of 1970.

Legal brief for Civil Action No. 220-69-R: Jo Ann Kirstein, Virginia Anne Scott, …, plaintiffs v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, ..., defendants. 1969.
University of Virginia Special Collections

 

Letter, Jo Ann Kirstein to Director of Admissions. 12 February 1969.
University of Virginia Special Collections

 

Letter, Ernest Ern to Mrs. David M. Kirstein. 19 February 1969.
University of Virginia Special Collections

 

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