Overview of Post WW II Barnard

Overview of Barnard in the Post-War Period — 1945-1980

Two Distinct Phases:

I. 1945 – 1964 – “The Consensual/Placid  ‘50s”

The dividing line JFK assassination (11/63)?
LBJ doubling down in Vietnam
Civil rights in the streets of the South – Selma (19650
Feminine Mystique (1963) – Betty Friedan

II. 1965 – 1981 – ‘The Turbulent/Disruptive ‘60s and 70s”

I. 1945-1964
Administrative leadership
The end of the Virginia C. Gildersleeve deanship (1911-1947)
The deanship/presidency (1952 on) of Millicent C. McIntosh (1947-1962)
The first half of the brief presidency of Rosemary Park (1962-67)
At Barnard
Improved financial situation: fundraising effectiveness
Identifying handful of big trustee donors — Reid/Altschuls/Sulzbergers
Foundation support – Carnegie/Rockefeller/Ford/Mellon
But still a modest endowment; heavily reliant on tuition$$

Campus construction
Annex/Lehman/Reid/McIntosh/Altschul/Plimpton

Student Composition:
Continued heavy reliance on metropolitan public high schools
Substantial percentage of Jewish students; now many 3rd generation; MCM seen as welcoming
A few more African Americans; the first Puerto Rican students; trickle of Asians
Less emphasis on foreign students by MCM than VCG
Never more than half the student body living on campus; short of dorm space in late 1950s and again by mid-1960s
Substantial numbers of transfers from other Sisters à NYC
Many students engaged before graduation; married shortly thereafter
Job market still very restricted for career-minded women (BCers into law/medicine/academe)

Big Issues
Cold War competition with USSR; McCarthyism
Cold War; McCarthyism
Racial desegregation of the nation’s schools as per S/Court directive (1954)
Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies — NY the home of Liberal Republicans
Bay of Pigs (1961)
Tonkin Gulf Incident – 8/64
Campus Protests?
A few Fidelistas on campus/ some-disarmament activists (SANE)
Support of desegregation effort (picketing Woolworth stores in the north); NAACP
Some concern with HUAC investigating political affiliations ….
SDS formed at U. Michigan in 1961 – Tom Hayden
Nothing of a gender-focused sort??
First campus protests of note – May 1965 — at NROTC graduation ceremonies
1965 – Belated founding of an SDS chapter on campus

 

BC/CU relations –   Era of “benign neglect”?

CU administration [Grayson Kirk, 1953-1968, leaving BC pretty much to itself
MCM respected and given considerable latitude in shaping BC
Some faculty sharing
Some departments covering both sides of Broadway
BC a pretty free hand in hiring/tenuring faculty
BC limited access to CC courses; and vice versa – no exchange payments after 1962…
Less crossing over for extra-curriculars than since – Bulletin/Spectator

II. Turbulence/Disruption – 1965-1981

Administrative leadership
Last two years of Rosemary Park presidency (1965-67)
Presidency of Martha Peterson (1967-1975)
Presidency of Jacquelyn Mattfeld (1975-80)
Beginning of presidency of Ellen V. Futter (1981-1992)

1965
Teach Ins against Vietnam War; Selma March (March 7, 1965); CU as landlord on Upper Westside…
Rosemary Park starting to pack her bags?? Little interaction with students

1966-68
Escalation of campus protests by students (with some faculty support/participation)
University administrators lose their legitimacy in eyes of many protesting students
War/Race/Neighborhood — Still not much gender issues
BC far less a target then BIG CU – not a big landlord; not building a gym in MS Park; faculty not in defense research….

Spring 1968
SDS seeking to provoke an administrative crackdown; Kirk avoiding one with newly launched capital campaign
Building occupations – Wednesday through Monday – 5 buildings – 300 or so BCers in Hamilton, Avery, Fayerweather – Low? Mathematics??
Some there as tourists – 115 there for the police bust
Nearly all the women arrested were Barnard women — 6% to 10% of all BCers; some BCers openly opposed occupations and SDS leadership {‘Majority Coalition’]

Post-bust reaction to SDS leadership’s relegation of women members to backroom activities;
Replay of women in abolitionist ranks pre Civil War??
Columbia/BC women organize to force attention on women’s issues: CU Women’s Liberation
Faculty composition
Faculty wages
Student parietals

Linkages with beginnings of a call for gay rights – a separate meeting place/lounge
For more attention to now sizable number of blacks on campus – 8-10% by early 1970s
Calls on both institutions forr reforms/recognitions:

With both in financial straits – especially CU coming out of the 1960s
The decade of the 1970s given over to putting its financial house back in order while
dealing with at least three separate but overlapping interest groups;
Women
Blacks (and Hispanics)
Gays/Lesbians

a fourth – a contingent of CC loyalists insisting that CC needs to admit women – or fall out of the league of H/Y/P…. all now co-ed . Argue that CC “being held hostage” by the CU agreement with BC

a fifth – a contingent of CU graduate faculty who see the merger of the BC faculty into CU as making economic and qualitative sense for CU – pushing CU criteria for BC tenuring

A split in the BC trustees and faculty over to let these two calls be agreed to à the merger of BC into Columbia… New configuration of board resisting further amalgamation
Fire JAM despite her hardline toward CU in June 1980
Put in place one of their own, 30-year-old trustee Ellen V. Futter

January 1982
Columbia president Michael I. Sovern announces that CC will admit women in fall of 1983
BC Trustees agree to its doing so.
No merger – but will BC survive in this new world???
Last updated: March 9, 2015
ram31@columbia.edu

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