Protests Over MBU Co-Ed Decision

Dec 5, 2016

The dining hall at Mary Baldwin University was the site of a mini protest over the weekend by alumnae and students who are upset by the University's decision to allow men to live on campus beginning next fall.
Credit Jessie Knadler

Mary Baldwin revealed last week that the University will begin enrolling men into a residential undergraduate program that will allow male students to live on the traditional women’s campus. The news sparked outrage among some alumnae and students. WMRA's Jessie Knadler has the story.

Waning interest in single sex education and dwindling enrollment has compelled Mary Baldwin to diversify in recent years by becoming more of a professional school and admitting more men into its graduate programs. Now they just announced they’re launching a new coed unit on the residential campus, historically reserved for women. The move, says Shae Rosa, class of ’09, suggests the 175-year old women’s institution is more or less coed.

SHAE ROSA: I feel like these simplistic explanations of a coed program not affecting the residential college for women are demeaning to my intelligence and education I received here.

Bryanne Peterson started going to Mary Baldwin at the age of 13 as part of the University’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (or PEG).  It allows young teenage girls to pursue undergraduate degrees. If men are allowed to live on campus, she says the PEG program will likely die.

BRYANNE PETERSON: As the mother of a potentially gifted child, when she’s 13, I want her focus to be growing her academic mind and not worry about the lack of social awareness she has when she’s in class with a 22 year old male.

University Vice President Crista Cabe says that the new coed unit, called University College, will be separate from the women’s college.

CRISTA CABE:  It’s designed to bring financial strength to the institution, to grow enrollment and to ensure that the overall enterprise can be sustained.