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WVU Women in 1969

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
August 13th, 2019

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

As classes are set to resume in just a few weeks and celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing have just ended, it seems appropriate to look at what life would have been like on the WVU campus back in 1969.  The collections at the West Virginia and Regional History Center include a wealth of University Archives that document the history of WVU.  The West Virginia University Office of Student Life, Publications collection (A&M 5192) contains a number of pamphlets, programs, and handbooks that provide a glimpse into campus life. 

One item, a pamphlet entitled, West Virginia University Coed 1969-70, published by the Associated Women Students organization (AWS) provides insight into the lives of women at WVU fifty years ago.  It presents information about AWS, other women’s organizations on campus, and “coediquette,” the rules and guidelines for women at WVU.

Sketched face of a woman, with text "West Virginia University Coed 1969-70"
Cover of the West Virginia University Coed 1969-70

AWS served as the women’s governing body on the campus and all women students were members. It was comprised of a Judiciary Council that set rules for women living on campus and an Activities Council that planned events and programs for women students. 

Headshot of Judy Scott, with letter about getting involved in AWS.
Letter from 1969-70 AWS President Judy Scott, page 3, West Virginia University Coed 1969-70.

The AWS calendar of events for 1969-1970 included Parent’s Weekend, a Glamour Style Show, a Sex Symposium, the annual AWS Campaign and Election, and Women’s Week.  The description for the Sex Symposium notes, “Sex is a very controversial subject in our times, so this week should contain something of interest to everyone…It should prove to be a stimulating experience in which you will be able to find out the answers to questions you may have.” Women’s Week offered a chance to “take a break from studying and enjoy being a girl” with different events each day.

Interior group portrait of six college age women
A group portrait of the AWS Activities Council in 1969. Image from West Virginia History OnView.

The “Coediquette” section of the pamphlet provides details about hours for freshman and upperclass women, other information concerning all women students, and University rules and standards for women. Freshman women had restricted hours for entering or leaving residence halls. Upperclass women were able to set their own hours.  The publication states that “hours are new this year, allowing coeds more freedom and bringing our campus up to date.

Page of text titled "Coediquette" with information about hours first year women could leave and return to their dorms, "grace minutes" for lateness, and travel procedures.
“Coediquette,” hours for freshman women, page 16, West Virginia University Coed 1969-70

Under Dating Standards, women students were reminded, “women are responsible for the conduct of their dates and guests while they are in the residence hall.” University Standards directed that “a freshman girl may take a part-time job only with the consent of the Associate Dean of Student Educational Services.” The pamphlet also outlined the AWS Judiciary System and defined punishments such as a warning, restriction, and campus.  A “campus” confined a woman to her room for an amount of time determined by the Judicial Board depending on the severity of the infraction.

Portrait of five college aged women seated at a circular table
A group portrait of the AWS Court in 1969.  Image from West Virginia History OnView.

To see the entire West Virginia University Coed 1969-70 pamphlet or to explore more of The West Virginia University Office of Student Life, Publications collection (A&M 5192), please visit the West Virginia & Regional History Center.

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