Alumnae react to decision for all-women’s college to go coed

FILE: This undated photo is of a sign for St. Mary of the Woods College in western Indiana. (Photo provided by WTHITV)

ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS, Ind. (AP) — Nearly 200 graduates of the all-women’s Catholic St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in western Indiana participated in a meeting about the school’s decision to enroll its first male undergraduates this fall.

About 100 people attended in person and 99 watched a live stream of Thursday’s closed meeting that only was for alumnae. Members of the school’s administration, board of trustees and congregation of Catholic women also attended the meeting.

Dr. Rita Mankus, a 1982 graduate of the school, attended the meeting to get more information and feels it helped her better understand the school’s decision to go coed, she told the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star after the meeting, which she described as sometimes emotion but respectful.

“Most of the alums were concerned about it going coed, but I think the way the board and Dr. (Dottie) King presented themselves, I think they answered the questions sufficiently,” she said.

Mankus hopes coeducation ultimately will help the college grow, she said.

But other alumnae still disagree with the change, which was prompted at least partly by financial reasons, school officials have said.

Corianna Frederick, a 2015 graduate, doesn’t think she will support St. Mary-of-the-Woods College financially in the future, because women’s-only higher education was very important to her during her time at the school, she said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the same school,” Frederick said. “I still feel pretty upset by this decision. It’s kind of heartbreaking. I still feel like I’m mourning this loss.”

She also expressed frustration over a student-only meeting held last week about the decision for the school to go coed. Frederick acknowledges the school probably would’ve been forced into coeducation eventually, “but they can’t take back this poor implementation and lack of transparency,” she said.

A St. Mary-of-the-Woods College student forum organized by the student senate is expected to take place next week.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com

 

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