This memorandum (Document SS, 54), sent out on April 21, 1992, to members of the campus community, informed the community that the Governing Boards and the Student Affairs Committee decided to eliminate single-sex fraternities on campus. The memorandum emphasizes that then president Robert H. Edwards, along with John Magee, then Chairman of the Executive Committee, agree with and support the Governing Board and Student Affairs Committee’s position.
The Student Affairs Committee believed single sex social institutions harmed the college. One concern was that parents might not want to send their children to a school that supported organizations that discriminate based on gender. Despite the important social role that greek letter societies had played on campus, the Committee felt that, because the discriminatory societies dominated the social scene, they limited the students’ freedom to make social choices.
The resolution voted upon by the Student Affairs Committee recommended that organizations that discriminated on the basis of gender should be prohibited. It is important to note that this document was issued in 1992, twenty years after the implementation of coeducation at Bowdoin. In another five years, in 1997, the college would eliminate fraternities altogether.