Dr. Nell Eurich, dean of faculty, resigned at the request of President Simpson, effective February 1. Announcing her resignation at a meeting of the faculty, Dean Eurich explained that, in a letter calling for her resignation, the president had praised her “highly distinguished service,” and that thus, “as he explained, the grounds for his request are general differences between us.” “Certainly,” she continued, “there are, and have been, real differences between us on educational issues and methods of administration. I believe that such differences of opinion in intellectual institutions should be welcomed and examined carefully, in order to reach the best collective judgment on important issues.” The New York Times
After leaving Vassar Dr. Eurich served as professor of English and vice president for academic affairs at Manhattanville College, as special advisor to the chairman of the International Council for Educational Development in New York City and as a member of the Carnegie Council for Policy Studies on Higher Education. She was also a trustee of the Carnegie Foundation.
Professor Herbert Marshall from the Center for Soviet and East European Studies in the Performing Arts at Southern Illinois University lectured on "Sergei Eisenstein, His Theory and Practice." Marshall was a student of the Russian cinematographer at the Moscow Institute of Cinematography in the 1930s, and his edition of the Collected Works of Sergei M. Eisenstein was published in 1971.
New York Times columnist Lawrence Van Gelder quoted a Vassar senior in a exposé on drug use on college and university campuses in the northeast. The student was cited as saying “There is a huge break between sophomores and juniors. It’s like a totally new generation. They have probably tried more before they got here than we have in four years of college.”
Traditional Irish harpist Gráinne Yeats performed in conjunction with her husband, Senator Michael Butler Yeats. Yeats, the son of Irish poet William Butler Yeats, spoke about his father’s life and work.Mrs. Yeats performed at Vassar again in 1974, and she and Senator Yeats returned to the college in April 1989 for a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the poet's death.
William Butler Yeats spoke at Vassar in December 1903 and again in May 1920.
Dr. Charles E. Shaffner, professor of civil engineering and vice president for administration at the Polytechnic Insititute of Brooklyn, submitted a draft of a report, “An ‘Engineered’ Engineering Education for the Mid-Hudson Region,” to president Alan Simpson. Supported by a grant from IBM, Schaffner was a consultant to the college on the feasibility of establishing a graduate institute in engineering and technology.
The college announced that William Clay Ford, director and vice president of the Ford Motor Company, had donated $1 million to the capital fund drive announced in September of 1969, bringing the total raised to $7 million. Mr. Ford’s wife, Martha Firestone Ford, was a member of the Class of 1946, and his daughter, Martha, was a member of the Class of 1970.
Eve Cary, the first woman to serve as staff counsel to the New York Civil Liberties Union, lectured on "Women's Liberation and Civil Liberties." Cary entered the world of law and justice in 1967 when she worked with the NYCLU on the Police Practices Project, a ground-breaking sociological study of the New York Police Department. Cary was moved to become more involved in the legal system and attended the New York University School of Law, of which she was a student when she spoke at Vassar in 1970.
Cary went on to be a key litigator in the Supreme Court case Reed v. Reed (1971), which determined that discrimination against women violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause. She later returned to the NYCLU as the organization’s first female staff counsel. Cary also advocated for students’ and prisoners’ rights and worked as a professor at the Brooklyn Law School until her death in 2009.
The New York Times reported that twelve colleges, including Vassar, had agreed to participate in the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center in Waterford, CT. The joint effort, called the Twelve College Exchange, brought together students from Amherst, Bowdoin, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Trinity, Vassar, Wesleyan, Wellesley, Wheaton and Williams for intensive study of drama. Additionally, a $300,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation aided the project.
John Varey, professor of Spanish and vice principal of Westfield College, University of London, lectured on "A New Approach to Spanish Romanticism: Popular Entertainments and the Dissemination of Romantic Themes." A leading authority on the Spanish Golden Age, Varey was the 1963 founder and longtime editor of Tamesis Books, a leading British imprint in studies of Spanish and Latin American literature and culture.
The internationally acclaimed Taiwanese Foo Hsing Opera Academy's operatic and acrobatic troupe performed "The Legend of the White Snake," an ancient Chinese tale. Jointly sponsored by the East Asian studies program and the Mid-Hudson Chinese Community Association, the program was presented by a troupe of 42 young singers and dancers, including Foo Jung Wang, one of the most promising young opera stars in the Republic of China.
The All-College Events Committee presented a week-long program focusing on the challenges and problems facing the nation, entitled "The Week America Died." On the program’s first day, Sunday April 12th, students participated in an interactive multi-media event in Main Circle; they hung items, symbolizing the problems facing America, from a sculpture designed and constructed by student Albert Wulff '71. On Monday, following a lecture by Dr. Robert Nixon, head of the counseling service, entitled "Exploitive Man, Ecological Man: Homo Sapiens in Transition," members of the biology department conducted discussions in Josselyn House and Jewett House. Tuesday's topic was the changing values and authority in contemporary society: after a film screening, College Chaplain Fred Wood spoke in Chicago Hall on "The Death and Rebirth of Morality." Discussion sessions led by members of the religion and philosophy departments were conducted in Strong House and Cushing House following the lecture.
One of the week’s highlights was Wednesday's Barbara Bailey Brown Lecture, "Politics and Foreign Policy," given in the Chapel by Nicholas Katzenbach, US Attorney General during the Kennedy administration and current general counsel to IBM. Katzenbach addressed the troubling aspects of contemporary American government and politics. The Barbara Bailey Brown Fund, established in 1966 in memory of their Barbara Bailey '32 by her classmates, supported programs and lectures fostering international understanding. Discussions following Katzenbach’s address were led by Professors Lawrence Wittner of the history department and David Novack from economics.
On Thursday April 16, the program focused on groups facing oppression in contemporary America. George Wiley, chairman of the National Welfare Organization, gave a lecture, followed by several group discussions: Amy McCarthy '71 led a discussion on the "Struggles of Blacks," Dr. Helen Van Alstine from the health service and Dorothy Levens from the education department facilitated a discussion on the "Struggles of the American Indian," and Lita Lepie '70 and Carla Duke '71 directed the discussion "Struggles of Women."
On Friday, April 17th, a lecture entitled ,"Sex and Violence in the Mass Media" was given by Vassar psychologist William Krossner Jr., who spoke on the effects of "mass media on man and his responses to it." Saturday's activities centered on a showing of Jean-Luc Godard's 1968 documentary about Western counter-culture, Sympathy for the Devil and Sunday's concluding exercise was "a participatory activity of cleaning up pollutants behind Avery [Hall] and around Sunset Lake." The Miscellany News
The college affirmed that in the fall of 1970 Kendrick House—formerly a residence for faculty and graduate students—would be the site of an African-American cultural center and would become a residence hall for interested upper-classmen. The move responded to one of the agreed-upon demands by black students who had occupied the central part of Main Building in October of 1969.
While it was expected that many of the college's African American students would elect to live in Kendrick, the college announcement affirmed, in keeping with its non-discriminatory policy, that no student residence could be occupied solely by students of one race.
Historian Carl E. Schorske from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University gave the second C. Mildred Thompson Lecture of the academic year, "Vienna's Redevelopment and its Critics, 1860-1910." Schorske’s Fin de Siécle Vienna: Politics and Culture (1980) won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1981.
The Thompson lectureship, given by an anonymous donor, honored American historian C. Mildred Thompson '03, who taught in the history department from 1910 until 1923, when she became Vassar's dean, a position she held until her retirement in 1948. Dean Thompson died in 1975.
Writing in The New York Times, Marilyn Bender interviewed some of the first male transfer students at Vassar, Sarah Lawrence and Skidmore about their experiences at the formerly all-female colleges. "For me, it’s been getting out of the rut of the all-male college and finding new interests and being able to assert oneself in a way one never did before," said Paul Shepard, a Vassar transfer from Williams. "The necessity for dates sort of withers away," he added, "along with the need to get dressed up on weekends and get drunk. I don’t think that’s what college is about." Nancy Paull ’73 also cited social benefits to the presence of men on campus. She recalled the arduous weekend mixers at Yale that she attended before beginning to date a Dartmouth transfer and staying at Vassar for weekends. "It really depresses the girls who feel they have to keep trying," she pointed out.
John Duggan, professor of psychology and vice president for student affairs observed, "men and women being educated together can go a long way toward making men more appreciative of what a bright woman can do. Coeducation that’s really equal instead of having men superior should help set a new life style."
Admission figures for the Ivy League and Seven Sisters Colleges compiled by The New York Times indicated that applications to Vassar for admission to the Class of 1974—the first coeducational class of freshmen—were 69 ½ percent higher than those for the last all female class the previous year. Of 1,916 applications, 882 (46 percent) were accepted for a class of 616. By comparison, Wellesley, whose applications declined 14 percent, accepted 840 of 1,985 (42 percent) for a class of 475 and Smith—down 2 ½ percent—accepted 1,128 of 2378 (47 percent) for a class of 615. Radcliffe, whose applications were down 6 ½ percent, accepted 432 of its 2,548 applicants (17 percent) to fill a class of 320.
The Vassar admission office’s final figures varied somewhat from the original data, showing 1,931 (1,451 women and 451 men) applications and 986 acceptances (705 women and 281 men). The increase in applications overall was 71percent, including a 28 percent increase in women applicants. Sixty-eight percent of the admitted men enrolled in the class of 530, and 47 percent of the admitted women enrolled.
Median scholastic aptitude test (SAT) verbal scores for the Class of 1974 were 654, compared to 647 for the Class of 1973, and median SAT mathematical scores were 624 compared to 618.
Dr. Howard Levy, a member of the Health Policy Advisory Committee (Health/PAC) and the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), lectured on "Dissent in Military Service." An Army dermatologist in 1967, Levy was court-martialed for refusing to train Green Berets headed for Vietnam and imprisoned at hard labor for three years.
Responding to concerns voiced by students and faculty over a proposed graduate institute of engineering and technology at Vassar, the trustees appointed a joint ad hoc committee made up of trustees, administrators, students and members of the faculty to develop plans for such an institute that would reflect the college’s concerns about the effects of technology on human values. The committee’s chair was Constance Dimock Ellis ’38.
In March, consultant Charles E. Schnaffer submitted a report to the board of trustees titled "An 'Engineered' Engineering Education for the Mid-Hudson Region," and analyzed the feasibility of establishing a graduate institute of engineering and technology at Vassar.
The project became known on the campus as "VIT," the Vassar Institute of Technology, and in The New Vassar: 1964-1970, his report on those transitional years submitted to the Vassar community in December, 1970, President Simpson described his dilemma: "It was already apparent that a proposal, innocently embraced as a potential improvement of the educational resources of the region with benefits to all participants, would be attacked on ideological grounds as a sinister surrender to the industrial-military complex. A resolute minority of Vassar students, in a year dominated by the peace movement, set themselves the task of frustrating this project. Their perseverance in what I am obliged to regard as a bad cause has won my admiration for their resourcefulness if for little else."
President Simpson joined the presidents of 36 other colleges and universities, including Princeton, Columbia, NYU, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Bryn Mawr, Amherst and Middlebury, in signing a letter to President Nixon condemning the “illegitimate” American invasion of Cambodia. Warning of “severe and widespread apprehensions on our campuses,” the letter implored the President to “consider the incalculable dangers of an unprecedented alienation of America’s youth and to take immediate action to demonstrate unequivocally your determination to end the war quickly.”
The letter requested a meeting with the President. The New York Times
At the age of 89, Henry Nobel MacCracken, Vassar’s 5th president, who served 1914-1946, died in Poughkeepsie after a long illness. Placing him at the time of his death "among the foremost liberal educators of his time," The New York Times quoted MacCracken's long-held view that "women's colleges have been more fortunate than those for men because they started from scratch."
A memorial service for Dr. MacCracken was held in the Chapel on May 16.
At Commencement, homemade paper peace symbols adorned the caps of most of the graduates of the Class of 1970, including Vassar’s first ten male graduates, all transfer students. Twenty members of the class declined to participate in Commencement in protest to the war, but the class voted 159 to 99 against making a peace statement at Commencement. The principal speaker, feminist activist and journalist Gloria Steinem focused her address, “Living the Revolution,” on imagining the future, when liberated women no longer accepted the myths of women’s secondary roles in society.
In the first modern instance of a student speaking from the commencement podium, the class president, Mary van Dusen Savage ’70, spoke out against the war to students, faculty, trustees and guests, then asked for a moment of silence in memory of students, soldiers and civilians “killed on both sides.” The New York Times
The ad hoc committee of trustees, administrators, members of the faculty and students, working since May under the chairmanship of Constance Dimock Ellis ‘38 on the proposed cooperative graduate institute on engineering and technology, submitted a modified report to the board of trustees. Called “The Vassar Proposal for a Graduate Center of Science, Technology and Human Affairs,” the report called for a graduate center composed of four divisions: Human Values, Science and Technology; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Engineering and Industrial Administration and Technology Systems and Information Science.
President Simpson described the proposed center’s design in The New Vassar: 1964-1970, Report of the President, issued to the college community in December: “Division No 1—the bearer of the humanistic message—was to have a pervasive influence over the whole center…In its organization the center would be a division of Vassar College, with its own faculty, reporting through its dean to the president and trustees of Vassar College. Syracuse and Union would participate in the instruction and administration of the center, and award degrees in their appropriate fields, until such time as the center could stand alone.”
The board of trustees discussed the proposal at their meetings on October 10-14. Resistance from faculty and students led to the its abandonment in December, 1970.
In a referendum, 87.9 percent of the students who voted—87.9 percent of the student body—were against the proposed Graduate Center of Science, Technology and Human Affairs or, as it was known on the campus, the "Vassar Institute of Technology," or "VIT." The proposal was approved by 11.3 percent of the students voting and eight-tenths percent abstained. An amended version of the proposal was approved by the faculty on October 14, after extensive discussion, by a vote of 72 to 66. The Miscellany News
With its issue for November 20, The Miscellany News suspended publication for the semester, citing a lack of support and declining student interest. "When the best printing arrangement," the editorial board said, "which our monetary situation allows necessitates that we write the paper Tuesday night so that it can appear Friday afternoon; when the editorial board changes every week; when there are maybe three people who can be relied on to turn in well-written articles on time; when the administration refuses to provide full and accurate channels of information; when printing and proofreading errors reach the magnitude of last week's page one signature mix-up, it is time to seriously evaluate the newspaper and its purpose."
The Miscellany News resumed publication with the issue for February 12, 1971.
Vassar held the Martin H. Crego Conference on "Does Economics Provide Any Meaningful Answers to Today's Problems?" The Crego lecture, part of the Crego Endowment established in 1956 by Jean Crego ’32 in honor of her father, was an annual lecture in the general field of economics under the auspices of the economics department.
Dr. Irving Lavin, architectural historian at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, lectured on "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa: Bernini's Creation of Heaven in the Chapel St. Teresa in Santa Monica, Vittoria, Rome." Lavin’s Bernini and the Crossing of St. Peter’s (1968), which established him as a leading theorist about the work of the 17th century Italian painter, sculptor and architect, was followed by Bernini and the Unity of the Visual Arts (1981).
A doctoral student of former Vassar professor Richard Krautheimer at NYU, Dr. Lavin lectured in art history at Vassar from 1959 until 1962.
Educational consultant Linda McClean '64 was featured in an article by Thomas A Johnson, "Activism and Racial Consciousness are Growing Among Blacks," in The New York Times. Noting that whites "have the luxury of choosing their issues—of choosing whether they will work in civil liberties, against the war in Vietnam or against pollution or for women’s liberation…Blackness in America makes the choice for black people," she said. "It is not an abstract issue but a for-real issue. Born black in America, you are born with the issue most important to your day-to-day existence for the rest of your life."