The column I want to write – well, suffice it to say I’m still so ticked off about the incident that I don’t know if I can get through an entire blog without using very dirty words and having a heart attack. But I’ll try, if you’ll forgive me a lapse or two. Hey, Simon used the F-bomb (in context, of course) last week and Jeff used shit in his title…
How unladylike, to swear. I know my mother cringes every time I pop off with a charming epithet, whether she’s hearing it live or reading it on the page. Hubby has gotten used to my mouth, even adopted a few of my favorites into his repertoire.
Get me really wound up and I’ll throw unique combination of words into the naughty mix. Bat-shit is my all time favorite. Now that we have the fact that I curse like a sailor out of the way, I’ll get to the real topic.
I attended a small school in Virginia called Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. That’s right, gentle readers. This foul mouthed besom went to a nice little school where they educate girls, try to class them up and send them out into the real world with an edge of sophistication and intelligence. And it’s been working, just like that, for 115 years. Pardon me.
Okay, JT, deep breaths.
That’s right. After 115 years of proudly educating in a single-sex environment, these **^*)@% idiots decide it’s time to get progressive, work for a Global Honors program, and admit men.
Now, I could bore you with the details. Things like 90% of the students were against this action. 89% of the alumni were against this action. The monetary toll alone will result in the school having to raise tuition to, are you ready? $25,700+ per year, per student, to cover the costs that result in alumni, like myself, who pulled all their funding from the school after the vote.
Wills have been rewritten. Millions and millions of dollars in endowments revoked. They lost 5 million bucks the first day alone. All because they decided to let a few paltry boys cross the threshold into our hallowed halls? DAMN STRAIGHT!
See, R-MWC was an educational institution like no other in the country. To start with, our dorms are part of the classroom buildings. My sophomore through senior years, I lived in Main (with a brief sojourn to West Hall, which is adjacent to Main as a wing off the building), and for class, I rolled out of bed, threw the hair in a ponytail, and went to class two flights of stairs below in my boxers, sweatshirt and pearls. Half the time I didn’t need shoes, much less clothing, to get my education.
We didn’t have sororities, we had secret societies. The big difference? You didn’t get to lobby to join. If you fit the secret group’s particular mold, they came to you.
We had traditions galore — Odds and Evens, Daisy Chain, Pumpkin Parade, Ring Night, SDD.
We had professors who treated us as equals, who were just as likely to hold class in their backyard with a bottle of wine to accompany the lesson as they were to teach in the classroom.
We had an honor code that was unparalleled in the university system today. And it worked, believe me.
Our motto – Vita Abunditor – The Life More Abundant – was precisely what we as students, as women, were looking for.
Another strange thing Macon had that no other school had was the ability to make a woman realize her potential. The single sex environment provoked learning. We had no competition, no distractions. We were there to learn, and learn we did. Weekends were for parties and boys. Weekdays were for school. Grand, strange concept, I know, but it worked.
So are you already seeing a couple of major problems with going co-ed? One the name of the college has to change. Randolph-Macon Woman’s College can’t be shortened to Randolph Macon, because there is already a Randolph Macon (co-ed) in Virginia. Boom – the identity of the school is GONE, right there.
Then you have the little issue of living space. I guess they will make the dorms co-ed too, which will really be interesting. Either that or they’ll have to keep the girls in Main and the boys in a separate building created solely for that purpose.
I’m beginning to rant, and I apologize. Here’s the bottom line. When I went away to school my freshman year, I went to a co-ed school. I didn’t do so well. When I was looking for a school to transfer into, Macon opened their arms to me, didn’t care that my transcript was a joke. They saw my potential. They rewarded my loyalty with an education that is truly unsurpassed. They gave me myself back, taught me new pride in my abilities, and showed me not just that I mattered, but why I mattered.
I’m sitting here typing this with tears in my eyes. In one fell swoop, 25 strangers who don’t know me, don’t know this institution, and don’t understand the ramifications of their actions have erased 3 years of my identity. My alma mater no longer exists.
In the future, when I’m asked what college I did my undergrad at, I’ll have to say the school I attended closed in 2006. And that breaks my heart. It’s not just a matter of changing the name, of allowing boys to cruise the halls. It demeans and erases 115 years of history, of the desire to be different. We chose to attend Macon, chose to be educated among the finest international coalition of female students the world had to offer.
And it’s gone.