COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Students and alumnae of Columbia Women’s College are reacting to the news that the college will start welcoming men as early as next year.
The Columbia College Board of Trustees voted and announced the change to include men in the day program late last week. Men have been able to attend Columbia College for night classes and graduate programs since 1947, but the big change is the fact that men will be living on campus.
Students and alumnae say they weren’t given any warning and say they feel blindsided by the decision.
“We got suddenly told that boys were supposed to be allowed on campus,” Trinitee Baker, a junior at Columbia College said.
Several students say they're worried the atmosphere on campus and the school's extracurricular activities will change once men are part of the day to day learning experience.
"We’re so much more open because men don’t live here. They don’t come here. They don’t take the same classes as us. We’re able to speak what we mean, and we’re able to be in the forefront, said Baker.
School leaders say they will be preserving the women’s college by giving female students the choice to remain in all-female classes. There will be two tracks, the co-ed track or the women’s college track.
“I think the statement of going co-ed is misleading. We are going to admit men, but we are are not going co-ed in the sense that everything is going to be co-educational. We are still going to preserve the women’s college programs, and for those few students who still want a women’s college experience they will be able to have that,” Columbia College President Carol Moore said.
The college held two feedback sessions for faculty and staff today, and two more will be held at noon and 4 p.m. tomorrow for students to weigh in on the decision. School officials will be planning feedback sessions for alumnae later this year.
The college says it will use the next 18 months as a planning period, and the goal is to admit men in the fall of 2021.