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A Better Place to Live
 

Mount Holyoke women host male guests in a residence hall in 1968. Courtesy MHC Archives
 

Demonstration at Mount Holyoke, urging that the administration reform social regulations on campus, including junior keys, liquor and parietals. Courtesy MHC Archives
 

The College Inn was acquired by Mount Holyoke in 1962 and was granted a liquor license in 1972. Donna Albino web site: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~dalbino/
 
 
 

The 1960s were a decade of change at Mount Holyoke. During these years, outdated rules were relaxed or abolished, due to pressure from politically and socially active campus organizations. New groups emerged on campus with the purpose of making Mount Holyoke a liberally tolerant institution. Clearly, the students made progress, for in 1969 student Holly Fox exclaimed, "We can now sit on a boys' laps in our rooms, a drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other."

 

A Long Way to Freedom: In the early 1960s, Mount Holyoke students still had to comply with numerous regulations that restricted their freedom, both on and off campus. Although some students found the social restraints tolerable, there was definitely room for improvement, especially in the residence halls. Student reactions to the strict campus regulations sparked a wide range of complaints and suggestions from the students, who asked for more social freedom. Many students felt that the Mount Holyoke adminstration acted like a parent, which students felt was uncalled for.


Students were angry about curfews, which were in place for both the weekdays and the weekend. Some students suggested that dorm keys be issued to seniors on either a permanent or part-time basis. They argued that the seniors should be responsible for ensuring the safety of the dorm residents, and that the dorms would be closed during the night for the safety of those within, without stopping dwellers from coming in at any time. Other students thought that girls twenty-one and over should be allowed to practice their legal rights, including drinking and smoking, in the dorm. They thought it was insulting for seniors to have the same restrictions as first years.
Students also argued that all students should be able to have a car on campus, not only those who maintained a certain grade point average.

Although student opinion revolving around college regulations had been voiced in previous years, it was not until 1968 that radical change began to occur. In 1968, Mount Holyoke formed a Rules Committee, which prepared and proposed the "Ideal Rule Statement." This proposal was supported by the student body, who, through the Student Board, prepared a "Case for Participation," which was presented to the Board of Trustees. The "Case for Participation" expressed students desire to reform both the academic and social spheres, including parietals (regulations that stated the visiting privileges of male guests in campus dormitories) and the consumption of alcohol in the dorms. The process ended up in an unprecedented meeting between students and trustees (the first meeting of this kind n the history of the College). After this meeting, the trustees formed a committee to study the matter and further consider the issues. On December 15th, the trustees presented a new proposal for parietals. They stated that male visitors were welcome in the dorm from 8 a.m to midnight, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m to midnight on Sundays). Each dorm had the opportunity to determine its own hours within the stated framework and the majority approved the maximum hours set by the Board of Trustees. Additionally, Mount Holyoke had no sign-in procedure for male guests as did several other women's colleges. Students were responsible for following the newly instated regulations on their own. Responsibility was key to avoiding problems within the new system, which ranked as one of the of the most liberal on the east coast.

Some drinks to lift the spirit: The Mount Holyoke administration, although previously determined to keep Mount Holyoke a dry campus, slowly moved towards reconciliation. Students lobbied for a drinking house, however the cost was extreme at $30,000. In 1962 Mount Holyoke acquired the College Inn, a building across the street from campus. In 1972 the College Inn acquired a liquor license and immediately became a popular hang for Mount Holyoke students. During the 1960s, the Mount Holyoke administration granted students the right to consume alcoholic beverages in their dorm rooms. If students wished to serve alcohol at social gatherings on campus, they had to obtain permission from the Dean of Students.
 
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This page was created by Carina Galliano 'LF in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 - cagallia@mtholyoke.edu