I am currently at Peace College for the Women in Office Institute that the NC Center for Women in Public Service has been holding here for eight years.
I attend Salem College, the oldest women's college in the country, and it breaks my heart to see this happen to our sisters at Peace. Women's colleges are fantastic institutions, and I will never be able to thank Salem enough for the empowerment I have gained during my time there. We have to stand by the institutions that continue to educate women; we have to prove that these institutions are still extremely relevant and worth supporting.
Salem students and alumnae were assured yesterday that Salem will not follow in Peace's footsteps. I can only imagine how I would react if Salem made the decision to go co-ed, but I know it would not be a pretty sight and I know I would transfer in a heartbeat. For all the students thinking of transferring, like Ms. Lucy Stone, but feel they can't, Salem is still accepting transfer applications for the fall. Come join our sisterhood. We will not falter in the face of adversity, now or ever.
I am writing in response to your story, "Move to make Peace co-ed outrages
students," July 22. I am not associated with Peace College in any
way. But I am an educator, and thus find it scandalous that Peace College, as
are more and more colleges and universities, believes that "Adding more
students means enhancing the student experience for everyone and it will
certainly enhance our athletic, academic and extracurricular programs," in the
words of Peace trustee vice-chairwoman, Elizabeth Cherry.
It is telling that Peace's vision for the future foregrounds athletic and extracurricular
programs, which will undoubtedly lead to expensive hires by the college in the
areas of coaches, directors and administrators with a business approach to
education. It is also likely that any commitment by Peace in the areas of
academics will be staffed by the hiring of adjunct faculty with low pay, no
benefits, and little time for professional development, which naturally affects
academic quality. The result is that while Peace might increase student
enrollment by marketing the "Peace experience" (an elusive notion at best), the
individual and collaborative pursuit of disciplinary knowledge and
understanding will be compromised by the pursuit of games and fun activities.
When will educational leaders have the courage to reaffirm the purpose of higher
education, which is to cultivate past, existing and new forms of knowledge and
understanding for the higher good of humanity?
Brian Thomas, Ph.D.
I find it quiet funny how all the current and former students are outraged at the school going co-ed. I wonder just how many former students, and faculty were elated and feeling victorious when the Citadel (which had a much older and storied tradition) had to let a female attend.
At that time, I was completely infuriated that some girl wanted to be selfish and destroy that tradition. Now I feel elated and victorious that what goes around comes around. If we are not allowed to have all male schools, then neither should the women.
Next up on the chopping block should be Meredith, where my grandmother attended, graduated and was a school teacher for 30 years. To those who complained, you are now reaping what you sowed. Beware the men are coming!
News has been swirling around for months about the Peace College mess. We heard about the new president removing ranking professors and staff with unparelled swiftness, with the new hires having no experience at traditional women's colleges. Even the lovely chandeliers in Old Main were replaced with track lighting!
Further unsettling was the dismissal of the competent female Presbyterian chaplain in favor of a male Baptist clergyman who had the mistaken impression that he was first to be named both chaplain and religion professor - not surprising since the Alumnae Office was abolished as soon as the president set foot on campus. History be damned!
But we said nothing, trusting our friends on the Board of Trustees, believing - falsely it now seems - they were savvy business and community leaders. Now they have gone too far! Many colleges have gone co-ed and even decided to become universities (as if that name is a means to greatness). Strayer University, look out! we know of no other college making major changes in secrecy rather than following an extensive process of professional study and open debate.
By its recent actions, this small group of trustees has thumbed its collective nose at ALL Peace stakeholders, including loyal alumnae like us. Shame on you!
Mabel J. Dorsey, Class of 1937
Miriam J. Dorsey, Class of 1964
While I am deeply saddened by the decision for Peace College to become a coeducational institution, the greater problem is the way in which this decision was reached, with no input from the Peace community.
A decision that will change the very core of the institution was made behind closed doors. Over the past year, numerous members of the Peace community have asked whether becoming coeducational was a possibility. Every time, we were told that it was not on the table. Every time, we were lied to. That is completely unacceptable for an institution claiming integrity.
There is no reason why this fundamental change was not discussed openly. Why were there no student forums? Why was there no opportunity for the Peace community to see the data behind this decision, to discuss the alternatives, and to possibly come to this coeducational decision on our own?
When did Peace become a place that cared so little? When did Peace become a place that silenced discussion and debate?
I hope in the future the Board of Trustees recognizes that all Peace stakeholders are deserving of transparency and respect regarding decisions that influence the future of the institution.
2008 Peace Graduate
When I read the headline in the N&O this morning, I knew how olde Rip Van Winkle felt - I thought I had slept 50 years! It's NEWS that a college is going co-ed, and the students and alumni are outraged!?
Move into the 21st century, Peace College children and alumni! If some of the greatest and most historic educational institutions of our country made the transition 50 years ago and are still thriving, you certainly can do it too. (And some survived name changes, too).
Just think, you can now join prestigious halls-of-learning like all of our U.S. military academies, Notre Dame, Skidmore and Fordham University to name a very few. Perhaps even people outside of the Raleigh area may even recognize your new name now, too!
Pine Knoll Shores
The writer of the June 4 letter “Liberal reflex” states that he is not a hater. What he is, though, is ignorant and out of touch.
I don’t know why being a “liberal” is deemed as being “anti-Christian.” The act of marriage is a civil matter, not a religious one. Most people do have their ceremonies performed in a church, but the reality of marriage is a legal contract. With that contract comes many rights and benefits. Without those rights, gay and lesbian couples suffer.
Because we are not allowed to get married legally we have to have legal contracts drawn to protect our properties, estates, rights to be with our partners in times of medical emergencies, etc. In some cases these legal documents can be challenged by family members and taken away from us. Things that we have worked together for, that are ours and ours alone.
There are plenty of churches that would gladly marry me and my partner. That, once again, is not the issue. It’s the “legal” issue that concerns us. And, if what the letter-writer calls Christianity is his belief, then I want no part of it. But my “liberal” view of Christianity, I do intend to keep.
What a sad day for North Carolinians when an elected official such as House Speaker Thom Tillis chooses to cut educational spending under the guise of mandated cuts but has the audacity to hike pay as much as 27 percent for members of his staff. At issue is not the pay hike but the remarkable short-term thinking exhibited in many of our elected officials. For such a time as this, a 21st century global economy, opting not to prepare the next generation educationally – that is, giving them the necessary tools to compete in a highly competitive global economy – will have a devastating long-term impact not only on North Carolina but our great country, America.
Where are the forward-thinking elected officials?
Dorothea Gaulden, Ph.D.
Our national and local politicians have already demonstrated their ignorance by cutting education budgets across the country. Now the state leadership wants to extend the school year by a week. This, in and of itself, will do nothing. But what is even more “brilliant” is the reaction of our Wake County superintendent, Tony Tata. Tata suggests they start each day five minutes earlier and end each day five minutes later. I would love to hear Tata explain how that extra 10 minutes will mean a higher standard of education for our kids. Unbelievable.
What about dealing with the more fundamental issues facing U.S. public education? We have not made learning interesting, we have not changed our curriculum and our teaching methods to keep up with the learning styles and shorter attention spans of today’s students. What about creating more partnerships between area companies and secondary education? What about utilizing the vast and growing senior population as volunteers and academic discipline experts? What about teaching kids how to work in teams, how to communicate, how to creatively solve problems and how to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle, all things they will need to do as adults?
Why do all that when you can add 10 meaningless minutes to the school day? Where is true leadership when it's most needed?