This document (Document SB, 10) is a report of the Study Committee on Underclass Campus Environment, presented in May of 1969. The committee consisted of members of the governing boards, faculty, alums and undergraduates. The document recommends the remodeling of fraternities, the growth of Bowdoin, and the admission of women undergraduates. Pages 26-50 of The Pierce Report are devoted to the positives of admitting women. The Committee saw no positive value in continuing the tradition of an entirely male campus.
The Pierce Report is thought to be the document or even the event that seriously began Bowdoin’s shift towards coeducation. It deems the admission of women “one of the most pressing needs of the College” for a number of reasons. Many comparable New England colleges were going coed at the time and the authors noted that “almost all of [its’] principal competitors will have admitted women” within five years. They feared that Bowdoin’s “ability to continue to attract male students of high quality” would be affected because male students would be more likely to apply to the more progressive coed colleges. The Pierce Report authors suggest that women would improve student-faculty relationships because of women’s “generally superior ability to handle social situations.” Whether or not this was true, the Pierce Report received a great deal of support from the campus.
On September 25, 1970, the Governing Board voted to implement the Pierce Report. This decision was a catalyst for many changes across the campus. Female dorms were created and along with them, the first women’s restrooms. Bowdoin has become what it is today in part because of The Pierce Report.
Report To the President and Trustees and to the Overseers of Bowdoin College (The Pierce Report) (sb-10) PDF