Beginning college can be fun, new, and quite a scary experience- especially if you are a girl. Popular media portrays the college experience as a time to go wild, experience having ultimate freedom since living with your parents, drink excessively, and most of all PARTY!
If you are a young female who is entering college, then you probably have spoken to your parents and other adults who have offered advice and given you a list of strict guidelines to follow in order to ensure your safety. Have you ever questioned why the advice for girls are so austere, and is the exact opposite for boys. Young men are often told to relish in their new freedom, and it is even encouraged that they have as much sex as they like at college. It is exactly this ideal that adds to the rape culture found on college campuses, with the exception of one school Mary Baldwin University.
Parents of young women enrolled at Mary Baldwin University see the school as an exception to the rape culture found on co-ed campuses as it is a historically women’s institution. As of November 28, 2016 the announcement was made that the university would become co-ed, much to the surprise of both the students and their parents. This unprecedented decision moves away from the original vision of having a school where women can feel safe, be themselves, and thrive in a learning environment that is not dominated by males. It has been proven that males and females are socialized differently and the effects are prevalent in the classroom setting. Males are socialized to be outspoken and assertive in their statements, while on the other hand, females are taught to be quiet and end their statements as a question. Mary Baldwin has provided a way for women to learn and become strong speakers, and implored their students to continue with the same confidence upon graduating and entering the workforce. Having males in the classroom could prove to be a distraction and hinder their development as leaders.
MBU has a small population of underage students who are enrolled in the college through the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) and Early College Academy (ECA). Parents feel safe sending their children to the private liberal arts women’s college because there is not a male threat on campus. The shift to co-ed will affect the security parents feel when sending their young ones away.
How do you feel about Mary Baldwin’s shift away from the original vision, and the possible risk to both their residential and underage students?