Can you imagine coming to college and being told you must return to your dorm by 7:30pm? lights out by 10:30pm? Report intended destinations to a chaperone and even need permission to leave the campus? 100 years ago, for the first women accepted to our then young institution, that’s how it was.
Old guidebooks on appropriate behavior and attire for women at this time, are on display at McKeldin Library from now until mid January 2017. These books, interestingly enough, warned that women who giggled in gangs or spoke of going on dates within the library, might be exiled from it for doing so. They also encouraged women to smile at male students so they might do better on quizzes.
Today, UMD is a different world, constantly encouraging us to explore beyond the campus, apply for internships in DC and sending out text alerts when undesired attention crosses the line to sexual harassment. This only happened because as students and educators, we refused to be small minded and quiet. Today I can go to the library in the middle of the night, wear my pajamas to class and set my personal boundaries where I want them. We spoke up again and again to achieve this. Thats why the history of our campus, country and identities within it, are important to reflect on.
Democracy Then and Now: Vote!