Orient Poll on Coeducation

At the beginning of the second semester of the first academic year of official coeducation at Bowdoin, the college newspaper ran a poll to find out what students and professors were thinking about the new student body at Bowdoin. The poll results (Document EN 25.1), published in the Orient on February 4, 1972, paint a mixed picture of coeducation in its first semester. Although the poll results included a number of outright sexist responses to coeducation and to Bowdoin women, the actual poll numbers show that for the most part, students and professors supported coeducation and that the issues they took with it could be remedied.

In response to criticisms that the article providing the poll results focused too much on negative comments, an article was published in the following week’s Orient issue, on February 11, 1972, giving several examples of positive comments among the poll results (Document EN 25.2). As the author states, these comments are “based upon the assumption that coeducation is desirable and feasible.”

Similarly, two student-written letters to the editor of the Orient also from February 11, 1972 (Document EN 25.3) suggest that coeducation is a worthwhile endeavor for Bowdoin. The letters provide thoughtful reflections not just on the poll, but also on the situation of coeducation at Bowdoin. If the poll is discouraging, these letters and the February 11 article help show that, in fact, coeducation did have support and that at least some students saw it as an important improvement on the College.

EN25.1 - Orient Poll on Coeducation

EN25.1 - Orient Poll on Coeducation

EN25.1b - Orient Poll on Coeducation

EN25.1b - Orient Poll on Coeducation

EN25.2 - Orient Poll on Coeducation

EN25.2 - Orient Poll on Coeducation

EN25.3 - Orient Poll on Coeducation

EN25.3 - Orient Poll on Coeducation

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