April 4, 1962
In an all-campus meeting, President Sarah Gibson Blanding told the student body that premarital sex and excessive drinking would not be tolerated at Vassar. Declaring sexual promiscuity to be “indecent and immoral,” she said that disciplinary action would be taken against those who did not follow the standards of the college. The President advised those students who could not follow the rules to withdraw voluntarily from Vassar.
The speech inspired heated debate across the campus for some time. A poll of students found that 52% of the campus supported Blanding, 40% disagreed and the rest were undecided. However, 81 % of students agreed that social mores were personal issues that should only be of concern to the college when they brought its name into public disrepute. An editorial in The Miscellany News said, “The president’s statement was an articulation of a hitherto ambiguous position which accepts only one standard of personal behavior and which defines a universal moral code of ‘decent’ personal conduct.”
The students opposed to Blanding’s views felt that the college was reverting to an archaic invasion into students’ private lives by considering itself responsible for instilling in them a prescribed set of views on sexual and social activity, complaining that, “this college is the domain of tyranny.” The Miscellany News