8. Into the Storm

November 2017 – Ch. 8 covers the presidencies of Martha Peterson and Jaquelyn Mattfled.
{Currently at about 10,000 words]

Chapter 8.
Into the Storm

  1.      Second Thoughts on Academe’s “Golden Age”
    2. Life with a Wounded Lion — Did Barnard Have a Dog in Columbia ’68?
    3. Good Martha Peterson!
    4. Trustees to the Fore
    5. Rebel and Maverick: Jacquelyn Mattfeld
    6. The Surge and Its Discontents
    7. Students in the Shadow of ‘68
    8. Faculty Under Stress
  2. Second Thoughts on Academe’s “Golden Age”

     The two decades after World War II have been  called American academe’s “golden age.” Coming off a war that the nation’s institutions of higher education had made notable contributions to its winning, public approbation for them was higher than it had ever been – or would be later. The GI Bill, enabling millions of returning veterans to attend college, was the first of many federal programs in support of higher education. These in turn prompted  private philanthropists, foundations and state legislatures to join in the underwriting of America’s universities and colleges, public and private. The number of these institutions grew from xxxx in 1945 to xxxx in 1965; the wealth committed to them from $  in 1945 to xxxx two decades later. Enrollments at the undergraduate level tripled from xxxxx in 1945 to xxxx in 1965, while graduate enrollments  surged from xxxx to xxxx. In 1945 American universities awarded 9000 PhDs; twenty years later they awarded 30,000.

While certainly a period of growth, enrichment and public approbation for America’s institutions of higher education, the benefits of this post-war bonanza were unevenly distributed across the academic landscape. Most of the institutional growth occurred at the university level, both at comprehensive universities and research universities,  public as well as private. Undergraduate liberal arts colleges, especially those free-standing private residential colleges, benefitted less from the era’s largesse.  In relative terms, where they had once outnumbered all other institutions of higher education and enrolled half of the nation’s undergraduates, by the 1960s they constituted only xx% of the institutions awarding college degrees and enrolled less than x% of the nation’s undergraduates.

Among colleges, single-sex liberal arts colleges fared less well overall than their co-educational peers.  And while both the exclusively men’s colleges and the exclusively women’s colleges faced competition for the best students from co-educational colleges, women’s colleges  had a harder time doing so. One reason was that women constituted a smaller proportion of the college-going population in the 1960s than they had on the eve of World War II.  Another was the relative devaluation of women’s higher education in the post-war period when college-going women appeared to be more focused on securing a husband than a degree.  Yet another indicator that the overall post-war prosperity being limited by gender was the declining share of academic positions going to women, even at some of the leading women’s colleges.

The relative plight of women’s colleges became obvious in the late 1960s when several  of the better known men’s colleges (e.g., Bowdoin, Amherst, Williams), as well as the undergraduate programs at Yale and Princeton, moved to admit women. By this time Radcliffe had already exchanged its coordinate status for full merger with Harvard College. And soon thereafter, the oldest of the Seven Sister women’s colleges, Vassar College, after earlier exploring merging with Yale, began admitting men. That left just five Sister colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley – all of which would remain women’s colleges, but only after some serious and protracted soul-searching.

Of the five remaining Sisters, Barnard might have been the least expected to remain single-sex.  It was the least endowed and most tuition-dependent, and thus  the least likely to survive an extended period of declining enrollments. Two aspects of its recruitment history also made its prospects in a buyer’s market for women’s higher education unpromising. The first was its historically heavy reliance upon  the white graduates of New York City public schools for its students (whereas her peers had a more geographically  dispersed and somewhat more racially more varied clientele). Beginning in the 1950s, New York City began shedding white residents, and would continue to do so throughout the rest of the 20th century.  Accompanying this loss of population was a widely perceived deterioration in the quality of the education offered in the City’s public high schools. Barnard also lacked a traditional  stream of legacies that might sustain acceptable levels of enrollments in downbeat times.

And then there was Barnard’s distinctive problem, one not confronting any of the other remaining Sisters: having to decide how to proceed in perilous times  while in the shadow of Columbia University, where  all-mens’ Columbia College was belatedly grappling with the implications of its Ivy peers’ unseemly rush to coeducation.


  1. Life with a Wounded Lion


Of all the major interwar American universities, Columbia had the toughest time sustaining its earlier standing in the post-war years. It had ceased to be the richest American university in the 1920s, falling behind Harvard, Yale and Princeton; by the 1930s it was no longer the largest producer of PhDs; and by the 1950s its continued placement among the four best  American universities was increasingly seen as questionable.

Recruiting and retaining faculty first became a problem in the 1950s, the decade Columbia’s provost Jacques Barzun  called in 1955, “the  era of the packed suitcase.” New York City was perceived by some  recruitment targets as expensive and not the ideal place to work and/or raise a family. For scientists,  Columbia’s already overbuilt campus offered little room for laboratory space.

The university’s leadership was also such as to question its capacity to compete with that of its traditional Ivy rivals and with Chicago and the University of California,  but also with new challengers such as MIT,  Stanford and Michigan. Many of these institutions  had presidents who seized on post-war developments as opportunities  to push them to the front of the pack. In contrast, Columbia experienced a several-year gap in effective leadership encompassing the last years of the Butler presidency and then the three-year interregnum between Butler’s retirement in 1945 and Dwight Eisenhower’s arrival on campus in 1948. Nor, once at Columbia, did Ike ever really take up the full responsibilities of the presidential office,  leaving fundraising and faculty development to others, while he remained on call for various military assignments and then presidential campaigning which had him away from campus more than in residence during his five-year presidency.

During Eisenhower’s presidency, Columbia had been  under the day-to-day direction of Provost Grayson Kirk, who succeeded Ike when he became president in January 1953. A competent and hardworking academic administrator,  Kirk was not forceful or imaginative enough to reset Columbia’s course,  but saw his responsibilities as more custodial than transformative.  He used federal research contracts and available foundation support to swell the university’s operating budget, but  which made Columbia increasingly reliant upon “soft money” – in 1964 federal research funds accounting for 45% of the university’s income .  Meanwhile,  the University’s endowment remained largely concentrated in Manhattan real estate, the returns on which were substantially below what universities with more of their endowments in the equities markets were earning.  When in 1965 the Columbia trustees belatedly recognized their exposure, they directed President Kirk to mount a capital campaign to raise $2 billion, then the largest campaign goal in the history of academic fundraising.


Ratings constituted another problemThe ratings


Graduate programs – reliance upon tuition-paying MA students; not competitive in recruitment of top college prospects

The surge of Departmental Rankings

The College
Undergraduates had a smaller and more marginal presence – both numerically and financially  — at Columbia than at any of the other Ivies — Princeton, Yale and Harvard – or at  Stanford
Early 1950s – virtual monopoly with respect to top NYC public high schoolers; new competition for Harvard, Yale and Princeton
Core Curriculum has limited appeal;
Not attracting science students in numbers – engineers separate and unequal
Scruffy campus – deteriorating neighborhood; limited on-campus housing
The safety  school of the Ivies….

In an era favoring coeducation, CC  not  without women in numbers and in close proximity  — but two separate curriculums, separate dining and residential arrangements, and few class situations that were coeducational

Tendency of some Columbians  to see some of the College’s problems due to its long – anomalous? — relationship with Barnard   — and while some saw the solution along the lines of Harvard – by merging its women’s component – others more focused on the college and to see its salvation not in closer relations with Barnard but in following the lead of its Ivy peers and open its own doors to women

Student disturbances commence in spring of  1965, reach their peak in the spring of 1968
and persist as a fact of campus life into 1971…
Earlier financial problems had been so exacerbated were now acknowledged and solving them became the University’s first priority.

From 1965 to the mid-1980s the respective futures of both Columbia University and Barnard College remained far from assured. But what was certain from the Barnard side was that it could not count on Columbia to do anything other than what was best for Columbia, leaving  Barnard  on its own lookout.

  1. Good Martha Peterson!
    Born 1916, outside Jamestown, Kansas, population xxxx, daughter of a wheat farmer;
    University of Kansas AB 1937
    Taught high school mathematics for several years
    University of Kansas, dean of women, 1952-57;
    University of Wisconsin, dean of women, 1957-67
    Earned PhD in educational psychology, 1959; Kansas
    Chosen Barnard’s 3rd president in fall of 1967 (age 51)
    Search committee looking for someone with academic experience on the student side and  who might relate to students, after a president who had not?

Seen as someone capable of dealing with students and experienced campus administrator;

Academic credentials modest; new to New York and to working with private-college trustees

Fall Semester 1967-68 –
MP arrives on campus to assume presidency
Wallace Jones elected chair of trustees

Early Spring of 1968
Spring – Junior (?) Linda LeClair suspended for lying about her off-campus living arrangements
Disparity between parietal rules for CC men and BC women
April 23  – Student march on Gym Site and occupation of Hamilton Hall
April 24 -26 – 4 more buildings occupied
April 29 – MP inauguration
April 30 – 700 students arrested  (115 Barnard) when police cleared 5 Columbia buildings
Semester ends messily

The stated issues by protesting students in the spring of 1968:

1. Columbia’s membership in the Institute for Defense Analysis  (IDA), a quasi-governmental entity where Defense Department officials and university officials discussed the allocation of military research funds among research universities; In 1968 Grayson Kirk was the chairman  of IDA and trustee William Burden a long-time  member;

2. Columbia’s intention to build a gym in Morningside Park, with provisions for community-access that
was viewed by many as racially insensitive; initial approval of the plan, including by City Hall and
Harlem officials, dated back more than a decade

3. Columbia’s disciplinary policies that put a handful of  SDS student leaders engaged in earlier protests
liable to expulsion because of prior protest actions; their exposure prompted a demand for
“amnesty” for all protesters
Barnard was not a member of IDA; no military research was  being conducted by its faculty; the proposed gym would not be open to Barnard students; Barnard’s disciplinary policies differed from those of Columbia and had not put any student at risk of expulsion at the time of the buildings occupations; no Barnard building was occupied or evacuated by police action. So where does Barnard get a part in Columbia ’68? And why were some  300 Barnard students among the building occupiers during the six days Columbia buildings were occupied? And why did 115 remain there to be arrested when the police arrived?
Some Barnard students were in the occupied buildings with boyfriends; some because that was where the partying/excitement  was; some were there to lend support to the demands being made by those protesting one or another of the University policies; some were there in keeping with their ideological principles, and in some cases, those  of their parents.


One charge students lodged against Columbia did apply to Barnard: the failure to follow up their decision in 1964 to actively  recruit black students with the hiring of more black faculty and the inclusion of more black-focused courses in the curriculum. This resulted in a  4th demand, though not listed as such and only belatedly added to the SDS agenda, except in so far as opposition to the construction of a gym in Morningside Park was viewed as part of a larger list of issues that black students had with Columbia. The occupation of Hamilton Hall was not an SDS-staged event or even a protest against the Vietnam War: it followed directly on a protest against the Morningside gym project and focused on  exclusively black demands.

Another consideration: For some Barnard black women joining the black Columbia College men occupying in Hamilton Hall did so as an expression of racial solidarity and a  statement that the complaints black Columbia  students had with Columbia black Barnard students had with Barnard.


The clearing of the buildings by New York’s Finest in the early morning of April 30 was attended by some violence, most of it occurring in the emptying of the last of the buildings,  Mathematics Hall, where many of the most militant protesters, students and non-students, offered more than total resistance. A subsequent charge by police into the crowd gathered on the South Lawn, which resulted in some injuries and much recrimination, was later deemed by a police investigation to have been gratuitous.

None of the 115 Barnard students arrested in the building  clearings was reported to have been injured or to require medical attention. They were taken from campus  — in what the author’s  ethnic loyalties  resist calling “paddy wagons” — and booked at various precinct courts throughout the City There they were charged with occupying private property and resisting arrest. Their release was facilitated in several instances by the presence of Barnard trustee Iola Haverstick and her  posting  bond for Barnard students as needed.

While cooperating with their more exercised Columbia counterparts, Barnard administrators declined to add to the pending criminal charges against Barnard students arrested with disciplinary charges of their own devising. Instead, College counsel moved to have the criminal charges dropped.  Barnard’s faculty, while divided over the issues that prompted some of their students to get themselves arrested, were uniformly  disposed to be forgiving of, if not secretly pleased with, their actions. The Barnard trustees concurred in this conciliatory response. Newly installed President Peterson’s actions in the days immediately following the police action demonstrated a coolness under fire that would have done a Marine colonel proud.

Not so across Broadway. These events struck Columbia in the 15th-year of the  presidency of Grayson Kirk, who had the year before reluctantly launched  the largest capital campaign in the history of American higher education.  Two  months after calling the police on campus, with the capital campaign in tatters, he resigned his presidency.  Responsibility for salvaging the situation had been  seized by a Faculty Executive Committee, brought into being the morning after the police action, headed by Columbia law professor Michael I. Sovern, then to acting president  Andrew W. Cordier, and then to William McGill, who became Columbia’s 16th president in 1970.


Fall 1968 – Plimpton Hall opened and dedicated
Change in residence regulations allowing off-campus residency with parental approval.
General relaxation of parietal rules in Barnard dormitories.
October 15 – Moratorium Day for protesting Vietnam War

May – last weeks of class and Commencement disrupted by Cambodia
incursion and Kent State killings
June – Henry Boorse retired as dean of faculty à LeRoy Breunig appointed
October 1970 board meeting – McGill questioned on his prediction of a merger by trustee Eleanor Elliott

Election Day holiday – to get out the vote

November 13/14 – McIntosh and Altschul opened and dedicated

Black students establish BOSS – Barnard Order of Soul Sisters; push for a voice in admissions; in room selection; call for more black faculty and more black-focused courses

Fall – Barnard Women’s Center opened

Columbia women laying into McGill for past hiring/salary gender-based discrimination
Barnard faculty active in movement —

MP in negotiations with Columbia about financial arrangements and greater
curricular cooperation/coordination; regarded highly by CU president McGill

June 24 – MP resignation to accept presidency of Beloit College; widely seen as being
pushed out by Elliott and a faculty contingent with the Board’s ear

  1. Trustees to the Fore
    The board – principal duties — selecting dean/president and raising money;
    Making decisions on/financing of  plant
    Response to McCarthyism….

    Persistence of intergenerational blood ties
    Helen Rogers Reid succeeded by Samuel Milbank  by  Wallace Jones in 1967
    Jones – prominent/connected  — mother had been a trustee; father had been CU professor/Admissions Director; Jones a CC/Law graduate
    Plimpton – had succeeded his father in 1936
    Robert Huguet —

Women trustees somewhat submerged??
Impact of women’s movement à Eleanor Elliott
Mosteller proposal – all committees to be chaired by women

Guys more disposed to be accommodating to CU?
October 1970 board meeting: EE to McGill

Joint Trustees Committee
Preparing BC for inevitable merger?
Peterson seen as in the Jones camp
Plimpton polling of department chairs – finds them amenable to merger
Elliott – Gets different read from her faculty contacts

Spring – Ellen V. Futter  ’71, had been the second (after Dorthy Urman ’70) student non-voting representative to board in her senior year; elected to board the following in response to call for student rep. having vote

October – William T. Golden elected to board
December – Eleanor Elliott  elected chair of board ;  replaces Wallace Jones
December – Helene Kaplan elected to board


November – New board chair Elliott suggests MP look for another position
showing her the gate??
MP in China; Arthur Altschul elected


to board

Although hard evidence is lacking, it was widely thought at the time that Mrs. Elliott made it an early order of business as chairman to indicate to President Peterson that she look for employment elsewhere.  This likely occurred in the spring of 1974.  Elliott had served as a social secretary to John Foster Dulles in the Eisenhower administration, was married to the advertising executive  John “Jock” Elliott, and had been Barnard’s  principal fundraiser since 1959. She was very much the sophisticated New Yorker but also a committed feminist. Some have suggested she viewed  the matronly Midwesterner Peterson unsuited to the task of fundraising among New York’s wealthy; still others  that she disapproved of  the president’s domestic circumstances, which by 1974 involved an open and possibly lesbian relationship with a frequent visitor from Wisconsin. Still others pointed to Peterson’s decision to absent herself from Barnard for three weeks in the fall of 1974 to tour China as part of an American Council of Education mission as turning the board chairman against her.

Finally, there was Peterson’s string of deficit budgets, which, while largely attributable to the inflationary times, had occurred on her watch. 4/16/75 board meeting – 5 straight years of deficit budgets – accumulated debt of $913,000  and a  shrinking endowment
“Mr. Jones spoke of the larger issue of survival and the maintenance of independence.”
Yet the principal charge against Peterson was that she  had been insufficiently attentive to Barnard’s needs in her dealings with Columbia and had become too close to the “Gang of Four” and its accommodationist strategy. As one board member later put it, she had been a party to very nearly “giving away the store.”

For her part, Peterson had after seven years likely tired of the Barnard job and of New York. In 1974 she was 68 years old and not in the best of health. She was thought to be uncomfortable among sophisticated New Yorkers, not excluding Barnard board members. Her newly elected position as president of the American Council of Education and her still close professional and personal ties with Midwest  academics  produced several job offers, among them the presidency of Beloit College, located within a few miles of her ailing mother.  In May 1975, President Peterson announced that she was resigning from Barnard to accept the Beloit presidency. There she served effectively as its first female president for six  years before retiring in 1981. She died in 2006.

Peterson’s quiet departure did not placate her many faculty admirers (the author among them) or prevent some of them from characterizing her decision as coerced and the result of an unrepresentative contingent of faculty encouraging the trustees to force her out. “She was fired,” one faculty member with friends on the board at the time later declared. Professor of Classics Helen Bacon protested  to Wallace Jones that trustees “in touch with a small and unrepresentative group of faculty and [were] mistaken what they heard from them for faculty opinion.” Rem Patterson statement:.

How to assess Peterson’s presidency: an effective day-to-day manager for  seven of the most tempestuous years in American higher education; no academic visionary and no public intellectual, but personally inclusive; listened to students; supportive of junior faculty; earned Columbia’s respect; experienced budgetary and student recruitment problems that she could not solve; caught in a trustee crossfire from which  she extricated herself by  going back home. Her friend philosophy professor Joe Brennan offered this epitaph a year after her departure: “Good Martha Peterson! She gave Barnard seven years of her generous life, but unlike Dorothy, her fellow Kansan, she did not find her Emerald City. Not in New York, anyway.”

Peterson’s departure
Caught  in Trustee division
Wallace Jones/Francis Plimpton/Robert Huguet – supportive of MP  — McGill, too
Plimpton polling of faculty on MP  — finds wide support—and for cooperating with CU
Eleanor Elliott/Blanche Graubard opposed to her – allies in English & History Department

Complaints with MP: deficit budgets; too cozy with CU; away from campus too much on national affairs; not attuned to NYC society; open lesbian relationship with another woman?
May 1975 – Faculty petition supportive of MP; critical of faculty who undercut MP
June 24 – Peterson accepts Beloit offer; MP serves as president, 1975-1981; then retired; died in 2006.

June 26 – Faculty Minute commending MP
MP an effective day-to-day crisis manager; no academic visionary; no intellectual; personally inclusive; listened to students; supportive of junior faculty (me and Catherine Stimpson); caught in trustee squeeze; budgetary problems that she didn’t overcome; grew tired of NYC; mother ill;  partner absent;
in her late 60s (68?) at her departure; yet a successful run at Beloit
The right person at the Barnard helm during the worst of the student-protest storm, when neither the faculty nor the trustees could have kept the ship from being swamped….
November 7 – EE to alumnae group:  not to merge; to undergo “creative retrenchment”

November 12 – Trustees name Jacquelyn Mattfeld Barnard’s next president


  1. Rebel and Maverick

    For the  job of finding Barnard’s fourth president fell,  Elliott turned to newly elected trustee  and  attorney Helene F. Kaplan, BC 1953. She chaired the search committee that included another newly elected trustee,  William Golden. Barnard faculty members included professor of sociology Bernard Barber and professor of Spanish Mirella Servodidio, while the Columbia representative was professor of history Henry Graff, whose two daughters were Barnard graduates.

    Committed to selecting a woman, a scholar and an experienced academic administrator, despite the assumed shallowness of the pool of those possessing all three qualifications, the committee anticipated a long search. That Peterson’s departure was widely perceived as a board firing or that the testy Barnard-Columbia discussions had been regularly reported by The New York Times did not make their task seem any the easier.  It would take a particular kind of academic to be attracted to the prospect of entering this particular lion’s den.

    To the committee’s surprise and relief, a candidate with all the stated qualifications turned up early in its preliminary canvassing.  Jacquelyn A. Mattfeld , besides meeting the gender test and being a musicologist with scholarly standing, was at the time of the search the newly appointed provost of Brown University, and as such, the highest placed women academic administrators among Ivy universities. Just three months into the search, the committee unanimously recommended her appointment to the Barnard trustees and the president of the University.    At its November 12th meeting, the trustees unanimously elected Mattfeld Barnard’s fourth president, to take up the office July 1, 1975.

    When Brown terminated her provostship on the announcement of her new post, Barnard board chairman Eleanor Elliott asked her to spend the six months before assuming the office of presidency familiarizing herself with the issues and introducing herself to the players. Elliott took the interim to  assure Barnard alumnae that there would be no merger and that the board and the president-elect were embarked on a program of “innovative retrenchment.’

Jacquelyn Anderson Mattfeld was born in 1925 in Baltimore, into one of that city’s older families but one on a decidedly downward trajectory. Her father’s financial circumstances limited her college selection to local schools.  An accomplished pianist as a teenager, she first attended  Peabody Conservatory and then Goucher College, from which she graduated in 1948. From there she went to Yale to take upgraduate studies in musicology and music history. While living in New Haven, she met and married a fellow musicologist, Victor Mattfeld. Despite her PhD in music history, she could not secure a TA position at Yale, they being  reserved for men, and instead earned an unsteady income for the next decade by giving private piano lessons. With two daughters and a husband intermittently employed and often away, she became a single mom before the term was coined.

Mattfeld’s career prospects brightened  in 1958 when she came within the supportive orbit of Mary Bunting, then president of Radcliffe College. Bunting brought her to Cambridge as Radcliffe’s associate director of financial aid. She moved to MIT in 1963  as its first female dean of student affairs and then to Sarah Lawrence College as provost and dean of the faculty. There her marriage ended. In 1971 she became associate provost and dean of academic affairs of Brown University.  Three years later, In 1974,  she became Brown’s provost. At about that same time she was offered the presidency of Swarthmore College, only to turn it down because she indicated at the time it would be “too comfortable.”  Reflecting on her career in 1973, that of a woman in a man’s academic world, she characterized herself to a reporter as less “militant” than younger women colleagues:

Don’t forget, I’m 47. I’ve been tempered in a far different fire than women who
have come in in the last few years riding the crest of the wave of hew rulings…
I’ve done all the dirty work. I’ve been the butt of all the things that used
to happen to women. That doesn’t mean I’m a martyr. I’m not.’

An autobiographical talk to women faculty, delivered five months in to her Barnard presidency to 75 women at the Barnard Women’s Center she entitled  ”The Life Story of a Maverick and a Rebel.” In it both her father,  an irregularly employed chemist, her husband, whom she at one point numbered him among the three children she provided for, and all her male Yale colleagues  at Yale all come up short, whereas the “Sisterhood” saw her through to better times.  The Spectator reporter covering the speech wrote that her remarks left many in the audience in tears.

President-elect Mattfeld became a Morningside presence during the five months between her selection in November and the start of her presidency in May. She was introduced to trustees  at their December 10, 1975 meeting. At that meeting the trustees mandated a cut of $650,000 over the next two years, when it was learned that a shortfall of 100 students left the 1975-76 budget $400,000 in the red. “We are operating at a very large deficit,”  ex-chairman Wallace Jones acknowledge, but opposed a mandated $650,00 cut in the current  budget proposed by William Golden. [Golden quote at that meeting]


Admissions picture: Nor, admissions director Helen McCann reported, were enrollments, down to 1900, likely to get better in 1976-77.00 next year.

Shortly thereafter Mattfeld began meeting with Columbia officials, first with President William McGill  in February and then with Vice President James Young, who headed up the Columbia team charged with putting Barnard-Columbia relations on a permanent basis. These early talks, both sides later agreed, did not go well.  Mattfeld, as she later reported in an open letter to the Barnard community,  felt that McGill was trying to get her to go beyond the charge she had from her trustees and to commit them to a merger of the Barnard faculty; McGill thought Mattfeld was trying to provoke him into a public fight. When Mattfeld proposed bringing in consultants under a Ford Foundation planning grant she had secured, they disagreed on the choice of consultants.


Mattfeld became a Morningside presence during the five months between her selection in November and the start of her presidency in May. She was introduced to trustees not on the search committee at its December 1975 meeting. Shortly thereafter she began meeting with Columbia officials, first President William McGill and then Vice President James Young, who headed  up the Columbia team charged with putting Barnard-Columbia relations on a permanent basis. These early talksdid not go well.  Mattfeld felt that McGill was trying to get her to go beyond the charge she had from her trustees and commit them to a merger of the Barnard faculty; McGill thought Mattfeld was trying to provoke him into a public fight. When Mattfeld proposed bringing in consultants under a Ford Foundation planning grant secured by her, McGill rejected her list of consultants, which included her mentor Mary Bunting.

Some of the animosity that Mattfeld generated at Columbia might be explained as coming from male academics still new to dealing with women as professional equals and not about to be out-negotiated by one of them from Barnard. Certainly Mattfeld and her defenders felt that was the source of her difficulties with McGill. But then there is the case of University provost William T. deBary, whose wife and three daughters were Barnard graduates and who disagreed with the Columbia view that Barnard should  either merge with Columbia or Columbia College should admit women. His take on Mattfeld:

She didn’t trust Columbia. Period. That’s it. She had been brought in by trustees
that didn’t trust Columbia, once McGill had begun to talk about taking over Barnard.
They got her in the search for somebody that would fight McGill, and they sure got
somebody who fought him.”
A week before  formally taking up the presidency from acting president Breunig in May, Mattfeld secured from her trustees the following charge: “To maintain Barnard’s autonomy and integrity while furthering the Barnard-Columbia relationship through institutional planning and cooperation.”  On August 30, in a 9-page open letter to the Barnard community, she acknowledged her strained relations with both McGill and Young, charging them with setting conditions not contemplated in the 1973  Agreement.

Nor did she ingratiate herself with Columbia by negotiating in the press.  On May 14, 1976, in a New York Times interview, under the headline, “Barnard, Columbia in a Merger Struggle,” she gave herself the role of underdog. “If push comes to shove, “ she told education editor Edward Fiske, “Columbia has the trump card. They can simply say that there will be no cross-registration.”  True enough, but hardly diplomatic.

A week before  taking up the presidency from acting president Leroy Breunig on May 17th , Mattfeld secured from her trustees the following charge: “To maintain Barnard’s autonomy and integrity while furthering the Barnard-Columbia relationship through institutional planning and cooperation.” This followed on Mattfeld’s description of her antagonists’ expressed attitude toward Barnard: “Authorities at Columbia can think of no valid reason for the continuance of Barnard’s independence… the mediocrity in the female contingent of the faculty.”

New trustee negotiating team installed: Kaplan/Golden/Furland:

Jones – emeritus in 1976

On August 30, in a 9-page open letter to the Barnard community, Mattfeld related her strained relations with both McGill and Young, charging them with setting conditions not contemplated in the 1973  Agreement.


Mattfeld was inaugurated as Barnard’s  fourth president on November 7, 1976 in a ceremony attended by 4000  in Riverside Church. Accompanying events were widely reported as “lavish,” with Chairman Elliott personally picking up the $35,000 tab.

Mattfeld was inaugurated as Barnard’s  fourth president on November xx, 1976 in a music-filled ceremony in Riverside Church. Accompanying events were widely reported as “lavish,” with Chairman Elliott personally picking up the $35,000 tab. Two weeks later the president used the occasion to speak at the  Women’s Center to reflect on her autobiography, which she called “The Life Story of a Maverick and a Rebel.”  Her unvarnished remarks about her personal and professional struggles had many in the audience in tears.

But already something seemed amiss. Later reports have some trustees (and their spouses) and members of the presidential search team having early second thoughts about their new president.  One  visited with “buyer’s remorse” was Mattfeld’s most enthusiastic sponsor on the board, Eleanor Elliott, who had personally checked with Mattfeld’s former employers, all of whom touted her administrative skills, only to later conclude that their positive assessments were an instance of “white collar welfare” whereby each employer “just passed her along.” In December1976, Elliott resigned the chairmanship after only three years, ostensibly because of her health. A friend described her condition as a nervous breakdown brought on by the possibility that she would have to fire a second Barnard president.  The incoming chairman Arthur Altschul was another early doubter who soon found himself unwilling to talk with Mattfeld without having Helene Kaplan in attendance.

Part of Mattefld’s  problem with Altschul  derived from the board chairman  concluding that she had tricked him into publicly aligning the board behind her call for  Barnard faculty salary parity with Columbia. He had agreed with the need to reduce the longstanding gap and, “in principle,” with the goal of parity, but she had him committing to doing so in three years. He explicitly repudiated any commitment to doing so in 1978, However at odds with her Columbia counterparts and with some trustees, Mattfeld had in taking up the cause of salary parity secured herself the enthusiastic support of much of her faculty.

Mattfeld, who had little prior experience with the financial end of running a college,  may  have been poorly served early on by the internal financial advice she received as president. Her first senior administrative appointment,  to fill the place of the retiring comptroller Forrest Abbott,  went to Harry Albers, retitled Vice President for Finance. In submitting the  proposed 1977-78 budget in October 1977, Albers informed the trustees  that the $350,000 in added tuition from an additional 120 students  had eliminated that year’s projected deficit. Four weeks later he had to amend the budget because it had failed  to include the $240,000 increase in financial aid that offset a portion of the tuition income, and when added to the expense side of the budget, put Barnard  again in the red.   Mattfeld and Albers were now not talking.  “He was loved,” a member of the board’s finance committee recalled him. “Not a good sign. He ran Barnard like a mom-and-pop store.” He left after eighteen months in the job, assuring his staff,  “The budget and my leaving are two separate matters.”

[In 1978, Mattfeld hired Jack McBride as Finance VP; left in February 1981 for CARE;
Maurice Arth hired in July ‘81]

Some have suggested Mattfeld  had a more general problem working with colleagues,  even those she hired. Hired and fired a director of development, after castigating her in front of foundation officials.

Doris Critz – VP for public affairs – Hired summer 1977hired, demoted, quitB

Particular problem with men??
Male spouses of two trustees among the first to react negatively to her.
McGill and Young
Her dean of the faculty a case in point. Would alternately berate him and increase his salary
CSO: JAM could not cross Broadway without feeling faint
JAM did not attend CU deans meetings – sent  her assistant  Joanne Blauer


Already something seemed amiss. Later reports have some trustees (and their spouses) and members of the presidential search team having second thoughts about their new president.  One so visited with “buyer’s remorse” was Mattfeld’s heretofore t enthusiastic sponsor, Eleanor Elliott, who had personally checked with all Mattfeld’s former employers,  only to later conclude that their positive assessments were an instance of “white collar welfare” whereby Brown “just passed her along.” In December, Elliott resigned the chairmanship after only three years, ostensibly because of her health. A friend later described the nervous breakdown as brought on by the possibility that she would have to fire a second Barnard president.  The incoming chairman Arthur Altschul was another early Mattfeld critic who soon found himself unwilling to meet with her without other trustees in attendance. Part of Mattefld’s  problem with Altschul likely derived from the board chairman  concluding that she had tricked him into publicly aligning the board behind her call for  Barnard faculty salary parity with Columbia. He had agreed with the need to reduce the longstanding gap and, “in principle,” with the goal of parity, but she had him committing to doing so in three years.

However quickly at odds with her Columbia counterparts and with some trustees, Mattfeld had in talking up the cause of salary parity secured herself the enthusiastic support of many faculty. Others appreciated her standing as a scholar and her administrative responsibilities at MIT and Brown, while still others saw her as an embattled feminist  going toe-to-toe with Columbia’s male chauvinists. And then there were some, at least one, who admired her calling faculty meetings to order by letting loose a whistle that could break crystal.  Of the major constituencies making up the Barnard community, the faculty remained throughout her star-crossed presidency her most consistent allies.

Nor were the reasons for such faculty support all narrowly self-interested. Mattfeld was more sophisticated and better attuned to the ways of eastern  private institutions than had been her predecessor. Whereas Peterson’s forte was seen to be dealing with students, Mattfeld seemed more sure-footed in taking on the financial problems she inherited. Indeed, she soon presented what she and her staffers believed might be the answer to them.

  1. The Mattfeld Surge Its Discontents

Barnard’s expenditures in the late 1950s and early 1960s consistently matched its income, despite the heavy reliance upon tuition (upwards of 70%) in doing so. Foundation support had helped, as did the sale of the property on Claremont Avenue back to the Rockefeller family to make way for the Interchurch Center (locally, if irreverently, referred to as “The God Box”). Rosemary Park’s four budgets all produced   modest surpluses. Between 1962 and 1971, the endowment doubled from $12 million to $25 million, which, though modest by comparison with peers where alumnae giving was a more ingrained part of the culture, provided some relief to the operating budget. Thus, the explanation later offered by trustee Elliott as to why in 1970 Columbia – then operating with annual deficits larger than Barnard’s annual budgets  — began to look to Barnard to help relieve some of its financially difficulties: “Because they were broke and we were in the black.”

But not for long. Of President Peterson’s  seven budgets, only the first was balanced; it was followed by six with ever-increasing deficits. They were covered by annual drawdowns on the quasi-endowment, which in turn reduced the amount of the endowment available for investment. Between 1971 and 1975 the endowment shrank from $25 million to $21 million. Meanwhile, faculty salaries fell further behind those of Columbia and many of its collegiate peers located in places where the cost of living was substantially less than that  of New York City.

Part of the financial difficulty the Peterson administration faced after 1970 was covering the cost of the newly negotiated annual payments to Columbia for its heretofore cost-free exchange of registrations and access of Barnard students and faculty to Columbia’s  libraries and athletic facilities.  The X-registration agreement, assuming the net flow would be from Barnard to Columbia, required Barnard to pay Columbia 10% of a Barnard’s student tuition whenever she crossed Broadway to take a course. First guesses made in 1971 as to the expected range of  Barnard annual payment: $300,000 to $400,000.

The library payment to cover continued Barnard access it was decided would be determined  by a comparison of Barnard’s annual expenditures for its own 100,000 volume library the average library expenditures of the other Sister colleges, all with much larger libraries, with most of the difference payable to Columbia. The negotiated first payment, due July 1, 1973,  was for $200,000, a number that could only be expected to rise every year thereafter.

The third  agreed-upon annual payment by Barnard to Columbia covered the general services overhead costs of operating Columbia, much like the “indirect costs”  Columbia charged federal agencies to cover “overhead.” Annual price tag:  $100,000. Thus, added to Barnard’s operating costs as a direct outcome of the college’s 1970-72 negotiations with the cash-strapped Columbia was some $600,000 to $700,000 per annum, which when added to the projected 1974-75 budget deficit of $500,000, the chair of the finance and budget committee Robert Houget had called  “unacceptable.”

These payments were expected to have only a modest impact on Columbia’s decade-long struggle to bring its finances into balance. It would  require the larger and sometimes coerced payments from  the University’s revenue-generating professional schools – P & S; the business school; the law school; SEAS – to the central administration to do so. Nor does it seem that it was Columbia’s priority in negotiating the Barnard payments to exact the last possible dollar from its neighbor. As one Columbia staff negotiator instructed the incoming provost Peter Kenen in 1970; “ the object of the negotiation is not optimum pricing of X-registration, but maximum pressure for academic merger.”

However small a role these payments figured in Columbia’s recovery plans, both their magnitude (as a share of the overall budget) and the every likelihood of their growing open-endedness , unquestionably contributed to the feeling among some Barnard’s trustees that the College’s days were numbered and that some endgame was in order. To their new president, they represented a challenge  for which she had a forceful and  –for a time —  effective response.

Once installed,  Mattfeld moved quickly to increase tuition income by enlarging  the size of entering classes. A new director – Christine Royer – installed in early 1977 introduced new promotional literature and more active recruiting that increased applications from under 1450 in 1977  to 2278 in 1980. With increased applicants, came increased admits, reaching with the entering class of 1978 an astronomical admit rate of 71%, before dropping back to just over 50% in 1980. Total enrollments grew from the steady-state levels of between 1900 and 2000 levels of the early 1970s to 2441 in 1980, a surge of 22% in just three years.

As early as the fall of 1977, the newly installed chief financial officer Harry Albers was ready to credit increased enrollments by 180 students had eliminated the projected  budget deficit for 1977-78 and that Barnard “is in a much healthier position than it has been for years.” Two months later it was made public than Albers had  omitted from his October calculation a $240,000 expense item for added costs due to increased enrollments that once included put balancing that year’s budget in doubt. By then Albers had left Barnard, one of the first of several casualties experienced among Mattfeld’s senior administrators.


Barnard Admission Statistics and Enrollments

Years Applicants Admits Enrolls Admit Rate Enrollments Annual
1975 1446 892 430 54% 2051
1976 1565 945 438 60% 2005 -46
1977 1546 1100 496 71% 2006 +1
1978 1816 1210 487 67% 2190 +184
1979 2132 1200 620 56% 2272 +82
1980 2278 1157 559 51% 2441 +169


The surge in enrollments without a corresponding  increase in on-campus housing meant that more and more Barnard applicants from the New York region who wanted to live on campus could not be assured as incoming first-year students a place in one of the College’s four campus dormitories. A large portion of those admitted  who went  elsewhere did so for this reason. Among enrolled students, it meant that some first-year commuters who expected campus housing in their sophomore year were told to wait until their junior or even senior year before getting a room on campus.

Turning some singles into doubles in Plimpton as well as 600 and 620 116th Street  in 1978  marginally supplemented the capacity of Barnard’s four dorms, but also at the cost of making  them less livable. Nor did efforts to lease  off-campus housing for upper class students alleviate the problem of too few beds for too many students wanting them. The lease of xx apartments in the Embassy Hotel on Broadway and 70th Street, for example,  had to be broken when the building’s owners were arrested for loan sharking. The lease of a floor in an apartment building on 110th St. was plagued by inadequate security that allowed several break-ins to occur and an attempted rape of a Barnard resident. What turned out to be the final blow to any chance of a n administration-student rapprochement occurred in April 1980, when it was announced that because the admissions office had booked too many incoming students with dormitory rooms, those that had been saved for commuting seniors  who had waited three years for a room on campus were out of luck.  This prompted a noontime sit-in  in McIntosh, led by the student government leadership, that ended only with administrators promising to seek out more off-campus housing for the incoming class and restore on-campus housing for those seniors promised it.

Little wonder that when two student leaders form the late 1970s were asked about their views on the much discussed prospect of merger, each recalled the political priorities of their day not merger but housing. This meant that should push come to shove between Mattfeld and the powers that be, even students who admired her stance with respect to Columbia and honored her hard-won feminism, could not be counted to come to her defense.

Mattfeld’s problems with securing housing for the increased number of students her financial strategy mandated were only exacerbated by the fiscally-focused trustees’ insistence that the costs of the College’s auxiliary services – the provision of room and board – be fully covered by the income  derived from auxiliary services. Annual increases in room and board charges prompted by the inflationary times were subject to additional charges to make them more income neutral. An attempt in November 1979 to increase the fees with an “energy surcharge” on both students living on campus ($150) and those commuting ($60) for the spring term, which, because Columbia did not do so, meant Barnard residents in  co-ed Plimpton dorms were expected to pay several hundred dollars more for their rooms than were their Columbia hall-mates was later rescinded but not before bill-paying parents expressed outrage at what some saw as a classic instance of “bait and switch.” The Barnard board later rescinded these charges, but not before the Barnard Rep Council charged the administration with “fiscal mismanagement.”

Still others, presumably trustees and certainly some faculty, expressed concerns about two other matters related to the enrollment surge. One was whether more students  really did increase College revenues by their additional tuition income generated or whether increased reliance upon funds on the expenditures side of the budget rendered the surge income neutral.  Put bluntly, these skeptics were asking whether the additional students were being bought?
And then there was the concern that increased enrollments without a parallel increase in faculty and courses being offered by Barnard faculty necessarily meant larger classes. To both the financial aid question and that of enlarged class size Mattfeld assigned the responsibility for rebutting to her new Vice President for Finance,  Jack McBride. He assured both trustees and faculty at its April 2, 1980 meeting that the increased tuition derived from the additional students, after the added financial aid was subtracted, netted the College xxx thousands in additional income. Again VP McBride: the enrollment increase was of “clear financial benefit.” Whatever their non-financial costs, the balanced budgets of the Mattfeld presidency were for real.

Mattfeld and McBride were equally categorical on the matter of class size. Both cited internal studies that showed the student/faculty classroom ratio had held steady at around 14.4 students per Barnard  classroom instructor throughout the surge and may have even declined a fraction. How could this be, they rhetorically asked? The answer: more and more Barnard students were taking classes at Columbia, thereby preventing Barnard classes from growing. This explanation, of course, while it temporarily put to rest the charge of overcrowded Barnard classrooms did little to assuage doubts about Barnard’s long-term viability by opening the administration to charges that the enrollment surge was both  enriching Columbia under the X-registration agreement and putting into play the question of the need for a Barnard faculty. Why not just send all the students enrolled at Barnard over to Columbia for their classes? Damned if she did; damned if she didn’t.

Meanwhile, Mattfeld kept the pressure on to make good on her goal – if not the trustees’ – to bring Barnard faculty salaries into parity with those at Columbia within three years. Funds were included in each of her budgets to accomplish precisely this and despite the runaway inflation of the late 1970s she made real progress.  The 1978-79 salary program brought Barnard’s assistant professors into parity with Columbia’s; the 1979-80 salary program was expected to do the same for Barnard’s associate professors. A sizable gap remained at the full-professor level, but even the most underpaid  senior faculty acknowledged her efforts to close it.

Other policy actions relating to senior faculty were less appreciated. At one point in 1978, when the trustees had effectively removed her from the ongoing discussions with Columbia, she informed faculty that they too should cease all communications with their Columbia counterparts. For the 30 or so Barnard faculty who taught graduate courses and were  voting members of their cognate department that directive posed an impossible challenge. So it was ignored.

Two staffers working closely with President Mattfeld in the spring of  1980 agreed in separate interviews with the author that her firing in mid-May 1980 came as a shock to her. One recalled her being “stunned” at being told by members of the executive committee of the trustees “to get out today.”. Another recalled her confusion when “no reasons were provided” for her dismissal.  Both the faculty representatives to the trustees, Peter Juvilier and Marcia Welles, were equally caught unawares. Nor were reasons subsequently forthcoming, either in the minutes of  Trustees’ meeting that followed the firing or in the several interviews of trustees “in the room” conducted by me and my colleague Rosalind Rosenberg.  What follows is necessarily conjecture.

Not that at the time or in interviews since was there any shortage of possible explanations . Four different ones from five different  interview sources possess some  plausibility. The first relates to Mattfeld’s efforts to secure faculty salary parity. This has it that in her efforts to increase the amount of money available for annual salary increases she increased it by adding Columbia’s annual payment for graduate instruction by Barnard faculty to be paid in the next fiscal year to the amount the Trustees allotted in the budget of the current fiscal year. Both the dean of the faculty, Charles S. Olton, and the budget officer, Helen Vanides were directed to do so but apparently the trustees were not informed of this arrangement.

They  inadvertently learned of it in early May 1980 when one member of the Finance Committee did a back-of-the-envelope calculation of what continuing faculty were informed  they would  receive in  pay raises as against the amounted allotted by the budget and determined that the salary increases were larger than the budget provided for. When questioned by members of the board, Olton confirmed the board member’s calculation and stated that this had been the practice in prior budgets as well, as directed by the president. Olton and a senior member of the faculty familiar with the practice jokingly called it “the loaves and fishes” strategy. Once informed of this practice, and concluding that it was intended to mislead the trustees by understating the magnitude of the salary increases,  Mattfeld was fired.  Olton escaped a similar fate only by producing a memo from him to his boss where he questioned her instructions as at variance with standard accounting practices. To the extent this was the smoking gun, it comports well with a view expressed later by some trustees of their president as both “unstable” and “manipulative.”
A second explanation, this coming exclusively from the Mattfeld camp, has her being fired because she had succeeded all too well in sustaining Barnard’s autonomy. To the consternation of board members who were ready and already planning to have Barnard merge with Columbia, she had made merger far from necessary by increasing enrollments, balancing the budget, rallying alumnae and securing the support of her faculty. One Mattfeld staffer has it that in the immediate aftermath of the firing  board members still favoring merger tried to undercut recent successes in recruiting by cutting the financial aid budget by 45%,  a move blocked only by the staffer’s impassioned objections and the prospect of a story to this effect appearing in the New York Times .   The cut was restored, the Times story never appeared,   and the staffer was fired.

A third proffered explanation  has it that some trustees objected to Mattfeld’s increasingly open lesbian relationship with an ex-colleague from Providence who was co-habiting the president’s apartment on Claremont Avenue. That some students and faculty were aware of this relationship attests to its visibility,  if not to it prompting Mattfeld’s firing  by the trustees.

The last substantive explanation implicates Columbia in the firing.  In the spring of 1979, President McGill, his protracted financial rescue of the University accomplished and he exhausted, informed his trustees of his intention to retire the following year. With their approval he then offered the job of University provost to the dean of the law school, Michael I. Sovern, personally assuring him that as provost he had had the inside track to become Columbia’s next president a year hence. The new provost and president-in-waiting made it an early order of business to reach out to Barnard’s president by inviting her to Columbia for an introductory meeting. They had at this point never met, in itself unusual because of the weekly meeting of all the Columbia deans convened by the University provost,  which Barnard presidents and deans had faithfully attended going back to the Gildersleeve deanship, and which Sovern was a regular attendee.  These Mattfeld chose not to attend, sending a succession of staffers in her stead, one of whom noted that Sovern, unlike some of the other deans, was unfailingly kind to her. Members of her administration later noted that “she could not cross Broadway without feeling faint.”


The meeting between the Barnard president and the Columbia president-to-be went badly. Rather than accept what was intended as a chance to meet alone and without an agenda, Mattfeld surprised Sovern by showing up  with her dean of the faculty in tow. Early into the meeting she objected to something Sovern  said,  declaring  the remark reflected “an opinion a man would have.” The meeting went downhill from there, although Mattfeld later described it as amicable.  As for Sovern, he might well have asked, “What’s her story” and relayed his misgivings about working with her to some of Barnard’s trustees, several of whom were personal friends and professional acquaintances. It would not have to have been said that the prospects for resolving the Barnard-Columbia impasses would be facilitated by Barnard seeking a new president for the message to make it across Broadway.

Whatever the explanation, and it may have been a combination of the above and still other considerations, Mattfeld was out after four years as Barnard’s fourth president. Hers was the shortest tenure of any administrative head of  the College. She remains the only one of its six past presidents not to have her portrait in Sulzberger Parlor. From New York she proceeded to a number of administrative posts in the West, while teaching about the theories and experiences of late life development. She retired in 2014 as Executive Director and Director of Public Programs of The C. G. Jung Center in Evanston, Illinois,  at age 89.



March 1977 – McGill no longer in contact with Mattfeld –
WJM on JAM — “trying to draw [me] into a public debate “
May 18, 1977 – Spectator – “BC-CU stalemate inspires trustees to try for accord.”
July 1977 – Charles S. Olton as Dean of Faculty – untenured outsider; American historian
October 1977 – Albers to leave as VP Finance following problem with budget – not dealing with JAM  (Other VP in-and-out Doris Critz, Development out  9/77)

Mattfeld dealing with deficits and persistent inflation/rising fuel costs by increasing enrollments; raising room rents (attempt to increase  rents mid-year in spring 1980) – leads to housing shortages, and parental pushback on room rents; shaky security at off-campus housing on 110th and 70th Streets
Student critics – Paula Franzese/Marcia Sells (student rep to trustees)
Mattfeld problems with black students and their call for separate housing; health service complaints
By spring 1980:
JAM on the outs with outgoing McGill; only dealings with incoming Sovern combative
Trustee dissatisfaction with her fiscal management – “manipulative and suspicious” – Helene Kaplan
Not talking with chair Altschul except with Kaplan present
The final straw? — Two sets of numbers on faculty increases budgeted for 1980-81??
Trustee number lower than one conveyed to faculty?
70 faculty still with her: For her salary efforts; also OK with those not wanting closer ties with CU

May 29, 1980 – Mattfeld resigns presidency – rumored that she was fired — no other job in the offing
Her statement: “all major goals accomplished” à balanced budget; raise faculty salaries; streamline administration; lauded by faculty for raised salaries

[Olton has her being fired back in February but allowed to stay on through spring semester. This not supported by other accounts, which date her firing to June, 1980)elsewhere confirmed. ]

Mattfeld leaves for California; no subsequent contact with Barnard
Trustees move quickly (4 weeks or so) to secure temporary replacement from within their ranks; no discussion with faculty over Ellen V. Futter’s selection; acceptable to incoming CU president Sovern, who had been her law professor in early 1970s.


[Michael Alexander has leading trustees (esp. Bill Golden) still open to merger in fall of 1980 with Golden angling for smaller, weaker class by cutting financial aid budget by 45% — Board  Oks Alexander’s insistence (under threat of NY Times story) to keep financial aid at sustaining level  but at cost of his job??]


  1. Students After the Fall

Student culture
Suddenly less subject to parietal oversight
Dorms more accommodating of heterosexual activity; greater access to birth control devices; abortion referrals;  somewhat more display/openness about lesbian relationships;  brief period of drug experimentation; some casualties

Commuters still in majority – some residence prospects as juniors
co-ed dorm arrangements with CC
Off campus residence sites – Experimental College; 110th St;

Transfers still a significant presence

Focus still on academic performance
Greater access to Columbia courses; more men in Barnard courses
Barnard/Columbia Course Guide
Shift from academic career plans to professional careers  (law/business school); continued pipeline to medical school
Not without their political agendas:
Racial justice
Women’s rights
Gay rights

Declining appeal of women’s colleges in face of previously male-only Ivies going co-ed?
Increasing concern about the livability and safety of NYC, its streets and parks
Into the 1970s, remains a school drawing 75% of its students from metropolitan NEast
Competition from NYU, SUNY campuses?
Affiliation with Columbia losing some of its

Still the college for the City’s academically ambitious daughters of its newest  residents, now as likely to be emigrants from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East as Eastern Europe. Still prepared to provide the financial assistance necessary for them to do so, though its capacity to do so in the inflationary 1970s was being sorely tested.


  1. Faculty Under Stress