History Department


History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History


Andrew Morris


In its earliest years as a university, Cal Poly had significant participation from women as well as men, not only as far as enrollment is concerned but also in regard to extracurricular activities. Although the ratio of men to women was very high, women played a role at the school nonetheless. However, the tragedy that was the Great Depression forced many schools, including Poly, to cut much of their budgets. The most significant change manifested through the economic downturn was the banning of women from enrollment by Governor C.C. Young in 1930. Many years later, in 1956, women were once again allowed to enroll at Cal Poly. However, after nearly 27 years of an all-male student body dominating the university, transitioning women back into the school was a tremendous challenge in a number of ways: What were the expectations of both men and women going through this transition? How was the curriculum transformed in response to the return of women? What were the major opposing viewpoints concerning women being readmitted? These are some of the questions I will answer in my paper.