Support for the Protesters at Wells College

By
October 14, 2004

Awakening one of our own deepest fears, Wells College, a private
all-women’s school just like Mills, voted to go coed next year.

We stand by the women of Wells currently protesting this
decision.

Last Friday, protesting students were threatened with suspension
and thrown out of the administration building so the office could
close for fall break. Though welcome to remain on the front lawn,
night temperatures in this upstate New York town are dropping to
around 40 degrees and this has seriously affected the number of
students protesting.

Many students have said they will leave if men are admitted in
2005, and Mills has already received numerous phone calls from
interested students. Would we love to have those students here at
Mills? Of course. Would we prefer Wells continued to support their
women as they have for the past 136 years? Absolutely.

Like Mills in 1990, much of Wells’ decision to go coed was based
on enrollment figures. With an average of 400 students enrolled
(Wells is undergraduate only), they say they simply can’t meet
their financial needs.

As is, Wells’ tuition is significantly lower than Mills – their
total for tuition, room and board, and estimated personal expenses
still falls lower than Mills’ tuition fees alone. In fact, five
years ago they actually lowered tuition in an effort to stimulate
enrollment increases.

When Mills women succeeded in the 1990 strike they did it by
working together with the administration and alumni to reach an
agreeable solution-everyone sacrificed something to preserve this
important institution. We encourage the Wells community to do the
same thing: stay focused on an answer because it’s easy to get
distracted by the problem.

When Mills decided to go coed, it was at the end of the spring
semester, and even with students heading home for the summer, there
was enough protest and compromise to affect an outcome favorable to
the women of Mills. With Wells making their decision during the
school year, there may be more students around, but they may also
need more support since refusing to attend classes will be more of
an issue.

Show your support to our fellow women in need-if we let other,
smaller women’s colleges fade away, our own strength as a women’s
institution slips with it. Send a letter to the administration
telling them you support women’s education and why-tell them you’re
a Mills woman, and we’ll gladly welcome their women if they don’t
want to work to keep them. Write to: Wells College, 170 Main
Street, Aurora, NY, 13026, attn: President Ryerson.


Support for the Protesters at Wells College was published on October 14, 2004 in Editorial

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