History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History
After a nearly 30-year absence from California Polytechnic State University, female students were readmitted to campus in the fall of 1956. Why did President McPhee only start to show interest in coeducation during the mid-1950s? Also, what was the process like to readmit women onto campus, both financially and logistically? Lastly, what was the perception of women by their male counterparts, faculty, and administration and how involved were they on campus? To help answer these questions and gain broader context for the time period, one can compare Cal Poly to other institutions across the United States. For example, in 1972, which was about 15 years after the re-integration of women at Cal Poly, Rutgers University made the decision to co-educate. In contrast to Cal Poly, however, Rutgers “coeds” appeared to face more opposition from male students. While each college may have looked vastly different from Cal Poly, the changing finances of universities in reaction to the G.I. bill, or the state’s need to turn out accredited teachers to teach classrooms full of Baby Boomers in Poly’s case, eventually led to the reintegration of female students. This paper will investigate the logistic process of readmitting students, the classes taken, the reactions of male students and administration, and the involvement of coeds.