Research Log 1: Rules, Regulations, and Contradictions

My task was to go through the student handbooks and course catalogues or “bulletins” of the 1930’s. Although I only got through a few of them I learned a lot about student life and my strategy is to try to grasp the social pressures and expectations so I can bring a different perspective on the classroom experience to my group. My data is pretty evenly distributed between the handbooks and bulletins and I’ve woven the two together in my posts.

The first thing that interested me was the strange rules and the amount of rules. Some rules that were particularly intriguing were that students could not leave campus or their rooms (after lights out), and could not even spend the night in another girl’s dorm room without permission. They also could not cut class to get away for the weekend. If a student wanted to leave campus she must get it approved by the Dean of Women and her parents. Students were only allowed to go off campus for religious services and if they went in groups (upperclassmen in threes and lowerclassmen in fours). Automobiles were especially restricted; students could only ride in them if it was with a member of their immediate family.  Something that I found odd was that every student had to participate in The Bullet by submitting an article. I’m not sure how often students had to write articles but I thought that was an interesting concept.

Another thing that struck me was how some rules contradicted each other. One rule stated that students could not stand walk or sit with men but the handbook later states that students could stroll with dates on campus on Sunday afternoon. I’m not sure if campus was not considered “public” or if there was some other exception that made sense for the time. Another contradiction was that all of the classes (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) were granted certain privileges (for example seniors could miss breakfast whenever they wanted) but those privileges could be revoked if a student was to use them too frequently. I don’t understand the purpose of the privileges if you can’t use them whenever you see fit. I have learned to be thankful for the rights and privileges that I have (that I can use as frequently as I want) and I look forward to continuing my research to better mine, my group’s and the class’s understanding of women’s history at our school in this unique experience.

Works Cited

State Teachers College, Student Handbook, 1933-1934 vol.10

State Teachers College, Bulletin, 1930-1931 vol 17(Division of Purchase and Printing)

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