18 March 1917 — New York Tribune
“Are Women People? by Alice Duer Miller”
“Sometimes it is hard to tell whether men want to be looked on as strong, dominant protectors of women, or as timid, bashful creatures who must be shielded from any contact with the weaker sex.
Recent arguments on the opening of the Columbia law school to women turn not on the advantages to women’s education, or the disadvantage to her modesty, but entirely on whether or not timid young men might be frightened away by the terrifying phenomenon of girls in the classroom.
A representative of the faculty is quoted as saying, ‘If the admission of women would tend to prevent, rightly or wrongly (the italics are ours), the enrollment of new men graduated from non-coeducational colleges who would be our best students, then it is for the best that the few women who might attend the law school if given an opportunity should not be allowed to do so. There is a trust imposed on Columbia authorities to keep the law school up to the highest possible standpoint.’
Or to amplify this statement a little:
The admission of women might tend to keep away certain men. This would not be the fault of the women, but due to timidity or prejudice on the part of the men.
Still the faculty sympathizes with those young men. It could not bear to see them shut out from educational opportunities even by their own prejudices.
Whereas, rightly or wrongly the faculty bears up pretty well under excluding young women from educational opportunities. It bears up particularly well owing to its conviction that by excluding women of unusual intellectual attainments, and catering to the more bigoted types of young men, it is keeping the law school up to the highest possible standards.
For a more candid statement of their position, we recommend the faculty to study the statement of the Harvard medical students who in 1850 petitioned against the admission of women on the ground that ‘whatever a woman should prove herself capable of an intellectual achievement, this latter would cease to constitute an honor for the men who had previously prized it.’
There, little man, don’t cry!
They’re terrible girls, it’s true,
And in church and school
And on office stool
They’re doing as well as you;
But this law school never will let them try,
There, little man, don’t cry!”