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Thursday, May 29, 2008

U of Michigan Attitudes Towards Women

In a year when Hillary Clinton became a very serious candidate for president, it is worth remembering some old quotes, which reflect attitudes that have not entirely disappeared:


The 1837 [state of Michigan] statute that reconstituted the University in Ann Arbor had said "the university shall be open to all persons who possess the requisite literary and moral qualifications." But a regents' committee cited the British legal authority Blackstone to the effect that women were not persons in the eyes of the law.

Then-President Henry Tappan confided to a friend that "after [the admission of women] no advancement is possible... The standard of education [would] be accommodated to the wants of girls who finish their education at 16-20, very properly, in order to get married, at the very age when young men begin their education." Women seeking equal rights would "fail to become men—they will be something mongrel, hermaphroditic," while men would be "demasculated…. When we attempt to disturb God's order we produce monstrosities."

The current president of UM is a woman, Dr. Mary Sue Coleman.

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