Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Rather Dead than Coed

HSBurke's picture

Hey guys! 

I'm assuming (possibly incorrectly) that many of you have seen the recent article written by an ex-BMC student now attending Wesleyan about why she found Bryn Mawr to be a negative experience. She then goes on to extend her view to women's colleges in general. What was most interesting to me about the article, though, were the comments. Many Seven Sister students were immediately up in arms againt what Ms. Chu states in the article. If you had a chance to look at them, what do you think these comments say about the "class" of Bryn Mawr. Do you think this is something that has experienced a shift since BMC's beginnings? 


Also, to play devil's advocate: How does the bashing of Ms. Chu's opinions relate to what we discussed in terms of censoring and holding back opinions in fear of offending someone? Obviously the commenters did not, but is that what they expected from the author? After all, the purpose of an Opinion piece is to express the opinion of the author. What do you think about the fact that the piece is not longer available online? (Or else I would have posted it here..) 

Looking forward to hearing what you guys think!


kganihanova's picture

I think we were too harsh on

I think we were too harsh on Vicky Chu. Oppose her opinions all you want but bashing her character is downright mean. Everyone has a right to freedom of speech and she was exercising hers. The article was not the best decision she ever made but don't we all make mistakes. Hers was unfortunately public and BMC bashed her for it. What if you were in her shoes, how would you feel reading the comments?

S. Yaeger's picture

One intrepid BMC student

One intrepid BMC student managed to copy and paste Chu's entire article and email it to me.  If anyone would like me to forward it to them, I would be more than happy to do so.  You might be surprised, as I was, to find that the original article has a much different tone than I expected.  If you'd like a copy, please email me at

Anne Dalke's picture

"the pseudo-science of single sex schooling"

Since we're talking in class about gathering data and giving evidence to back up our claims, you all might be interested in giving a close-reading to the recent Science magazine article on The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Education. Particularly interesting in this regard is Jane McAuliffe's response to the report: that women's colleges "buck the trend" of women avoiding science, and the further reflections of one of my gender studies students....

Rae Hamilton's picture

Still Angry

Even though I didn't read the article, the apology got me upset. Personally, it is not what she said, its the fact she assumed people would care about her opinion. I don't know how Vicky Chu and I don't particularly care, I just want to know who asked for her opinion in the first place.

I think Ms. Chu was bashed in her article, because she made herself "bashable". Don't put up a potentially controversial article and let people have the chance to comment on it ANONYMOUSLY. From her article to some of her comments, it was all in bad taste. And even I must admit that both Chu and some of the commentators did an equally bad job in damaging Bryn Mawr's reputation. As we already know, we suppose to be partaking in a "classy education." This article and its comments didn't show our classiest side...

Hummingbird's picture

Thanks for bringing this up!

Thanks for bringing this up! I read the article and many of the comments last week with some friends and fellow BMC students and have been wanted a chance to discuss it further.

I'm not sure how the comments connect back to issues of class, exactly, but I do think in terms of censorship the article and comments on it are really great to look at. I'd agree that many of the students and alumni posting responses didn't censor their thoughts very much – if they censored them at all. I think this was simply a result of the general anonymity most of the commentators hid under. There was very little accountability to be found in responses to the article which I found disheartening. I think there's a fine line between censoring one's opinion to the detriment of honesty and saying exactly what's on one's mind at all times. I think the former is always bad, but sometimes the latter can be good – it gets people's feelings into the open and allows them to be addressed. However, I do think some measure of sensitivity should exist. I felt that comments which accused Ms. Chu of things unrelated to the content of her work (some comments suggested she was one of the students who was "taking a bus to other schools on the weekends to do unmentionable things") were uncalled for and immature. I also think the sweeping generalizations Ms. Chu made about BMC weren't fair and because they were based off a single experience, should have been more clearly labelled as not every student's women's college experience.

Her apology raises some really interesting topics though – including the way many women from women's colleges are viewed and whether or not that should garner any importance. I personally think that her stories outlining condescending behavior from students outside of BMC show exactly why women's colleges are still necessary.  Kady Ashcraft's response article in this week's College News (The Intimacy Issue) does a very good job of stating the necessity of women's colleges: "...think of Bryn Mawr not as an environment absent of men, but one forging new ground on female terms." She ends her response by saying: "Until men can understand that they are not the standard onto which I strive, ... until society can put as much emphasis on a girl being valedictorian as they do on her being homecoming queen, until I am earning dollar on dollar with any white man... there is a purpose for women to be learning and living at Bryn Mawr College." I think these kinds of responses are more appropriate than a lot of the commentary found on Ms. Chu's article, while remaining uncensored and opinionated.

Anne Dalke's picture


To feed Freckles' good queries about censorship....
if you're coming late into this controversy, you can find Vicky Chu's apology @
and a commentary
by a Wellesley student w/ lots of extended quotation from the original piece @