Letter from Alumnae Trustees

The following letter was e-mailed to CCW alumnae on Monday, March 24th with an active e-mail address on file with the Office of Alumni Affairs. A print copy is also being sent to all alumnae with active addresses.

Dear fellow alumnae,

We would like to take this opportunity to update you on what’s been happening at our Alma Mater. You learned in a recent letter from Dr. Barazzone that the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution at the February meeting that states:

The Chatham University Board of Trustees, having worked for more than two decades to assure enrollment growth and quality undergraduate education to women only, has nevertheless now felt it necessary to study other options to continue to assure academic quality and access. As a consequence, the Board is receptive to a proposal to make undergraduate education at Chatham University coeducational. The Board intends formally to consider a proposal on or before its June 2014 meeting.

Both the Board and the administration welcome input from the Chatham University community on this important issue.

Since that time, we have heard from many of you, and the reactions are a mix of sadness/excitement and disappointment/understanding. There have been many very good questions, lots of misinformation and consternation, and many supportive responses. We have held meetings for alumnae in Pittsburgh (3), NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Florida (2), Chicago, and Columbus. The meetings in Pittsburgh were webcast to allow alumnae across the country to hear the facts and to submit questions during the live forums. The Power Point presentation from the Pittsburgh meeting is on the University’s official blog for reference, and a video of Dr. Barazzone’s presentation will be linked soon so that anyone can watch at their convenience. We have met with faculty, students, and friends of Chatham. During this three month period, it is our goal to listen to alumnae, gather ideas, study options, and be prepared to act on the resolution.

A few things are essential to know.

  1. First and most importantly, there is NO thought of giving up our mission of educating women. All the things we know that are important to educating women and all the benefits we alumnae received as Chatham College for Women (CCW) students will not be lost. Any changes will wrap around this fundamental core value. But, the truth is, we have a product that is not in demand due in part to a diminishing pool of applicants, and we need to find a way to repackage ourselves to be current, wanted, and of the highest quality so it will be desirable. In short, we want to build a bigger and better Chatham. Many options are being considered, e.g., a residential women’s college based on the Douglas/Rutgers model, a Women’s Leadership Institute within Chatham University, joint study programs, an honors college, and enlarging our Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship and/or the Pennsylvania Center for Women in Politics at Chatham University.
  2. CCW is experiencing a severe downturn in enrollment. This is true for most small liberal arts colleges and especially for women-only institutions. This is not a new problem, and the Trustees and administration have worked for many years to find ways to shore up the revenue and educational offerings for CCW. To that end we have allocated millions of dollars to support CCW with revenues from our graduate programs, which are doing well. In fact, our graduate programs have been subsidizing CCW’s deficits for several years; this year, the subsidy will be $5 million, despite the attribution of all Annual Fund gifts to CCW’s budget.  Moreover, we have built athletic facilities in order to be more competitive and that has helped, as about 30% of current CCW students are athletes. We have added new buildings, new courses, new programs, etc. And yet, fewer and fewer young women—about 2% of high school graduates—say they are even willing to consider a women’s college. As enrollment goes, so go our finances; this drain on the overall financial health of Chatham University cannot continue long term. We feel that for 22 years we have explored all options and that now we are at a point where time is of the essence. We now need to find a way to have Chatham University and, in particular, undergraduate education at Chatham University survive and thrive while we are still able to make the changes necessary, and we cannot wait until we no longer have the resources to do so. We must diversify our prospective audience, in large part by bringing in the 98% of the women who say they are not interested in a women’s college, and while some might be persuaded, they are very expensive to recruit.
  3. All of higher education is facing severe difficulties, not just Chatham.  All colleges are drawing students from a shrinking demographic pool. As prices soar and the potential applicant pool shrinks, we need to find new ways to help students afford an education and to increase our market share from continuing education students, women, men, and returning adults. We intend to address these issues by ensuring that our students leave Chatham with applied skills and career options, as well as a background in the liberal arts.
  4. The gift of Eden Hall Campus and our Falk School of Sustainability are an important addition to our future. They are not, as has been suggested, a drain on our resources and the culprits that have hurt CCW. In fact, quite the opposite. They have helped to shore up CCW and to get the word out worldwide about the exciting activities at our institution.
  5. President Barazzone’s salary is unrelated to CCW’s deficits. The salary reporting has been greatly misunderstood and was the topic of a letter sent to alumnae last year to explain it in detail and to be transparent. In short, in 2006 the Board approved awarding Dr. Barazzone a deferred compensation retirement package to make up for inadequacies in retirement funding for her first 14 years as President. For tax reporting reasons, these and other funds were in effect double counted in 2011, as she became vested and the funds had been paid in over a period longer than six years, not all at once. Her base pay remained the same as in previous years and in no way would have warranted her inclusion in the list of highest paid presidents of 2011.
  6. Chatham University is not in danger of going bankrupt. We are strong and feel we need to make a change to support undergraduate education while we still have the funds to do so and not when we are so weak we cannot invest in good programing.
  7. We have tried to communicate, listen and be transparent. We have posted information and data about Chatham on the website. In addition to the town hall meetings, we have set up a feedback blog, written letters and emails, and taken and placed phone calls. We are serious about learning. We welcome ideas for building a better Chatham, but now we need to make the core decision of whether to include more women and men in our admissions pool by making the institution coeducational.
  8. We believe men will come to Chatham as undergraduates.  Why?  For the same reasons women do:  the excellent academic programs with attractive offerings geared for today’s world, including programs in sustainability and the health sciences, and a beautiful campus in a city repeatedly judged as one of the best in the country. We do not expect that men will ever represent 50% of our undergraduate student body.  What we do expect, however, is that by opening ourselves up to men and to the 98% of women who do not want to attend a women’s college, we will attract interest from and ultimately will enroll significantly larger numbers of women in addition to recruiting men.

We know that these decisions are difficult and change can be hard. We intend to enhance our strengths and build a more robust, sustainable Chatham.

Please visit Chatham University’s official blog for more information and to share your feedback: http://blogs.chatham.edu/chathamfeedback/. Know that your responses are being forwarded to the Board of Trustees for our review and consideration. If you wish to talk with us personally, contact the alumnae Office at Chatham and they will forward your responses to us. We will be in touch.

We are honored to serve you and Chatham as alumnae trustees and we extend our sincere thanks for your passion for and commitment to our University.

Sincerely,

Louise Royster Brown ’67
Jane Coulter Burger ’66
Annette Calgaro ’84
Marty Haase Carsen ’62
Terri Price Dean ’77
Cordelia Suran Jacobs ’60
Joanne Laipson, ’82
Brenda Marsh ’76
Jane Grisell Murphy ’68
Jennifer Potter ’66
Mary Templeton ’68
Bonnie Westbrook VanKirk ’81
Nancy Follett Waichler ’55

  1. Rachel Lenzi says:

    You have produced so much data and testimony with regards to why going co-educational is the best option for our institution.

    Can you introduce to the stakeholders to all of the young men who are clamoring to become undergraduate students at Chatham?

    Rachel Lenzi
    Class of 1998

  2. Sarah says:

    What exactly is going to change in the process at Chatham? How is going coed going to help us? Yes, it will open the school up to a group of applicants that weren’t considered before but how do you plan to recruit those students? If Chatham is having such a hard time recruiting in the small pond of women’s colleges, how do they plan to magically turn that around in the big wide ocean of small liberal arts coed institutions?

    I feel like we are getting the same information over and over again. We’re being told to trust that this administration and the board of trustees know what they are doing. To me it looks like they don’t have any idea how this is going to help Chatham. Men are going to come to Chatham for the same reason women do? Well, according to their own argument women AREN’T coming to Chatham.

    How do you plan to change that? And if you do have plans to change that, why can’t those changes be executed while Chatham is still a women’s college? What could one more year hurt at this point? One more year to increase enrollment with full alumnae involvement shouldn’t be too much to ask. Utilize the tools in your toolbox before giving up and burning the house down.

  3. Emily Newport Woodward says:

    First of all, I’d like to say “ditto” to the previous comments from Rachel and Sarah. Second, I just want to be sure that everyone at Chatham who will read this remembers that I have volunteered to be included in the “working groups/planning committee” (sorry I can’t quite remember the exact terminology Esther used at the town hall meeting). An offer I made in all seriousness and hope that it’s considered with the same level of sincerity.

    It’s clear that there will be a vote before there’s a plan – an odd way to make business decisions, but maybe running a University truly is completely different than any other business enterprise. And it’s pretty clear what the outcome of that vote will be. I’ve expressed before on paper and in person that while I don’t want to see CCW disappear, I do want to see my alma mater exceed and for my degree, 24 years old that it is, to still have some worth. So, my name is Emily Newport Woodward, class of 1990. My information is updated with the Alumni Affairs office, so there’s no excuse for me to not hear from someone about this matter.

  4. Lucia Melito says:

    Why didn’t you include the reactions of disagreement and outrage? Are you sure you are reading the blogs, going to the same meetings? I don’t trust your process at all or your words. Why are you ignoring that many are fed up with Esther and view coeducation as neither innovative nor the cure? Your letter sounds like a done deal. Thank you all for destroying the sanctity of a place where the 2% of American women (500,00) could go and the untold millions of young women around the globe, like Malala Yousafzais, could come in safety and peace to learn, grow and develop. Shame on all of you.

  5. Julie says:

    I agree with Rachel’s point, and ask how many students Chatham expects to admit for the fall if the decision is made in May? How many will sign up in that time? That’s approximately four months until opening convocation (08/24/2014).

    I understand Chatham admission is on a rolling basis, but that’s not the case with many other institutions. Many high school students will have already made up their mind.

    I think the administration of Chatham should also consider that current female students may want to transfer out if the college goes co-ed. I’ve had a brief look-around at the other Universities in Pittsburgh and almost all offer transfers on a rolling basis or a deadline of mid-late summer.

  6. Lynn Wakefield says:

    This is just one more attempt to force feed the Kool Aid to those of us too well educated to drink it voluntarily. There are no facts in your argument. You have failed to address the unforgivable issue that CCW has been neglected at best, systematically targeted at worst. Of course women don’t show an interest in attending; CCW’s very existence has become a closely guarded secret. Frankly, your obvious refusal to address this simple concept is incredibly insulting.
    Do you realize that you have argued against yourselves in this email? Chatham is not going bankrupt? Then you don’t have to do this! You are not giving up your mission to education women? What, so you will continue to admit them? Perhaps you will throw in some special tracks that give lip service to gender, but offer nothing comparable to what CCW currently offers.

  7. Peggy hoff says:

    I’d be echoing Rachel, Sarah & Emily but for sake of time. I will give my personal story to highlight the truth they speak.

    For my junior year, I transferred from Chatham to Pitt due to financial reasons. My father was “just” a school teacher with 4 daughters, and when my mom started a teacher’s aide job, they earned over the financial “need” limit.

    Soon I realized the extent of my mistake when the men at Pitt dominated the admissions office (one literally dribbled a basketball while the counselor filled out his schedule!), the classroom (many studied prove my experience), my apartment complex where Pitts’ football great Tony Dorset lived (free, of course) and the faculty’s time. Quiet-voiced “girls” are not heard or appreciated as much in a co-educational institution. I was lost. I returned to Chatham the next semester or never would have graduated. With financial aid, I could afford Chatham for not much more than my sisters’ Edinboro & Penn State educations; without it, our family sacrificed much for me to graduate from Chatham. I had no money for extras to enjoy Pittsburgh’s culture, even though I worked all 4 years.

    Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to send our daughter to Chatham, though she was an Honors College graduate at Grand Valley State University, where professors, not grad students, provide a stellar education on a beautiful campus. Since her brother was only a year behind, thankfully it cost less than $12k each annually. We sacrificed, even though our gross income was in the triple digits by then, which happened to be the cutoff of the federal education credit – the $1,000/yr/kid. Both siblings had jobs during college and unsubstantiated federal loans due with interest after graduation. Yes, they both worked and supplied about 1/4 of their bills, but we paid off their school loans after they graduated. It is not bad to work and learn to balance life, but fewer students in private institutions work than state schools, so it wasn’t as stigmatized as it was for me.

    Perhaps the problem is in the unjustifiable tuition costs. We couldn’t justify the additional cost of an 8-hr drive to Pittsburgh, either. However, I also received my MA elsewhere online because I could not justify the cost of a MA online from Chatham, even with the $1k alumna help. It would have been wonderful, but not workable in our budget, even though our son put himself through Michigan State Law School. Perhaps other middle class students and their families have the same concerns for financial aid and scholarship.

    Perhaps, volunteer recruiting needs to be stepped up with the alums. I have represented Chatham years ago, but have not been asked in over a decade! To my knowledge, Chatham is not represented in our town which sports a high level of PhD’s per capita and two nationally honored high schools.

    Allegheny U, our sibling school, is co-ed. Why would Chatham want to be more similar to other colleges rather than stand out? Single sex comradery in education tends to eliminate the shallowness of relationships, especially for young women at the brink of their careers. No coed college gives women more power of belonging, growing together, encouraging each other to be more together than apart, and to further that cause in society and our communities at large. Women learn to empower each other best when you remove gender & socially competitive issues. However, the strength learned of iron sharpening iron lives on in mothers, volunteers, offices, community groups, and board rooms far beyond the formation of these bonds at a small college for women.

    Please do not go coed. If need be, find a group of women who will find another way.

    Peggy Johns Hoff
    Chatham College, 1978
    BA in Psychology and Sociology

    MA Theological Studies, Liberty University, 2009

  8. Randi '82 says:

    Show me the market studies which illustrate how going coed will attract men. I think this vote must be delayed. I don’t believe you have had sufficient time to research all of the suggestions voiced by the Chatham community. If Chatham is not in danger of bankruptcy then for goodness sake the vote can be postponed for at least 6 months. If the vote is not delayed then we know you made the decision to go coed months ago and the past few weeks have been to appease the alum. You have been slowly going coed for years now opening up the campus for graduate students. You just want to pound the final nail into the Chatham College for Women coffin. It is just a shame considering how now more than ever we need an institution dedicated to the education of women. Women are being attacked from all sides these days, paid 70 cents for every dollar a man earns, unable to break through the glass ceilings of the corporate world on a regular basis, discriminated against just because of her gender. Shame on those in charge of Chatham!

  9. Nicole Hagan says:

    “We feel that for 22 years we have explored all options and that now we are at a point where time is of the essence. We now need to find a way to have Chatham University and, in particular, undergraduate education at Chatham University survive and thrive while we are still able to make the changes necessary, and we cannot wait until we no longer have the resources to do so.”

    I recognize the financial straights Chatham was in 22 years ago when Dr. Barazzone became president of then Chatham College and I appreciate her dedication during that time to keeping Chatham College a women’s college. However, it would seem to me that a woman who was able to work so diligently to “save Chatham” (irony at its best folks) from going coed when she was fresh to the College could so eagerly support the very transistion she opposed 22 years ago.

    Perhaps as Chatham College for Women faces this same challenge today, it is once again time for new leadership, not just at the highest rank, but with fresh leadership on the Board of Trustees as well. After decades of commitment to an institution, it is easy to become so invested in growing the University that the fundamental core is overlooked until it can no longer support itself. Dr. Barazzone has explained that the graduate programs have supported Chatham College for Women for quite some time – it seems to me that this is because the graduate programs, and now the School of Sustainability, have received the bulk of advertising efforts and have become the spotlight of the University while the College for Women is hidden in their shadows.

    Dr. Barazzone was able to come into Chatham 22 years ago with fresh eyes on a sad situation. She was able to identify a strategy to maintain the single-sex undergraduate instituion. If after 22 years, the 29 members of the Board of Trustees cannot identify one single other proposal at least worthy of consideration, then it is time for fresh eyes on a sad situation. It is my firm belief that new leadership would be receptive to alternative proposals and open discussions with all stakeholders in order to identify innovative, successful ways to keep Chatham College for Women a women’s college.

  10. Cheryl says:

    Everyone just calm down, don’t worry, Chatham is as good as gone. I had a dream about it last night. Chatham’s campus was huge and beautiful- 5x the size it is now, men and women were flirting on the lawn. A girl drops her hankie, and a man says, “oh let me get it!”…

    Yes, lets replace the board and the president, sure. Lets also TAKE BACK EDEN HALL FARM- which let’s remember, is 388 acres of land that was once a women’s retreat center and that was donated to an INSTITUTION OF LEARNING FOR WOMEN. Eden Hall would be better off as a non-profit farm run and led by women. At least it would be 1. Accessible and affordable to take part in. 2. Allow for actual education to take place and support sustainable and responsible use. 3. Actually be utilized and benefit women… But what the heck, women don’t need their own space anymore. Patriarchy is over! Women move over! The men need to come in and fix everything! And don’t worry, its not about money. Esther is really not getting paid that much people! No one in higher education is wasting your money. It really does cost $100,000 to learn! Money is not the issue, so don’t bring it up!!

  11. Eve Adams says:

    Unlike many of these other opinions here, I stand by Chatham’s decision to go co-ed as opening the undergraduate college to men can dynamically solve many of the problems that Chatham University faces.

    It is true that youth expect to find a partner while in college. When the school is co-ed, more women will be interested in attending because they will feel more secure in that they will likely find love in college. This is one of the single most important parts of a women’s life, and realistically how women choose a college.

    It is a fact that male students will graduate and make more money than women. With men attending Chatham, they can donate more to the school as alumni, reducing concerns about funding for better programs.

    Men have shown to be statistically to be more driven, stronger, and more independent then women so they will excel more in the workforce and give Chatham a stronger reputation overall.

    Men are listened to and respected. When male graduates speak highly about their alma matter, many will listen and remember Chatham. Chatham will finally be recognized as a superior education institution instead of being ignored and brushed off as just a ‘girl’s school’.

    Masculinity is associated with prestige, wealth, leadership, and success, that in the long run will better serve the sustainability of the school financially. One problem with all female colleges is that they allow for too much femininity which just breeds service, nurturing, talking, and sacraficing for others. As women also often have to support families and children, their inability to support Chatham’s financial needs as alum is what has made it difficult for Chatham to thrive as a prestigious institution.

    Finally, it is simply unfair to deny men the right to attend Chatham. Chatham is a great school with a breathtaking historic campus- men should not be discriminated against and denyed the right to attend. Feminism has long enough made men the enemy, and men should not have to endure this hatred any longer.

    Realistically, women’s colleges are fading away because they are simply not sustainable or realistic in today’s economy. I look foward to seeing Chatham University going co-ed and I know this decision will finally put Chatham on the map and get noticed in the world of higher education. I am confident that by allowing men to attend, this school will notice a quick increase in enrollment and interest by men and women!

  12. Sandy Kuritzky says:

    Thank you all for your posts, but especially to Randi ’82 for her direct question re: market research, Nicole for her articulate, and Cheryl for her tongue-in-cheek posts.

    To Nicole’s point, follows is a portion of remarks I posted on Sunday. Joseph DiStephano’s column in the Sunday (3/23/14) edition of the Philadelphia “Inquirer” discussed board term limits.
    ———-
    Coincidentally, this morning’s Philadelphia “Inquirer” included a column by Joseph DiStefano that discussed the pending Penn State Board elections. In his column, Mr. DiStefano quoted Joel Myers, the “only alumni trustee seeking reelection”. Mr. DiStefano asked “(i)f Penn State needed fixing, wasn’t Myers part of the problem? ‘I’ve always been a reformer,’ he told me. ‘I pushed for changes in the right direction in 2003. They were not adopted.’ Why wasn’t he more effective? Too much confidence in the boss: ‘Graham Spanier was considered one of the top two or three university presidents’ by his peers. ‘But he probably had more authority than he should have’”.

    Mr. DiStefano “asked alumni trustee Ira Lubert, a Philadelphia investor” …why he’s not running again. ‘It’s time for new blood on the Penn State board – on any board’, he told me. ‘That’s why I got off, after 10 years’”.

  13. Nicole Hagan says:

    Eve,

    I don’t honestly care whether you support or oppose the transition of the undergraduate program to coed. But I have to say that your view of Chatham women is truly a disservice to Chatham alumnae. And the points that you raise are exactly why there is a critical need for women’s colleges even today.

    Women (and men for that matter) should not be choosing their institute of higher education based on their chance to “find love in college.” Women should be encouraged to attend college or university to further their education and to be able to provide for themselves, without a partner. I’m not even going to go into the fact that not every female at Chatham or elsewhere is looking for a husband, either because they don’t want or need one or because of their sexual orientation.

    To suggest that we should let men attend Chatham so they can go out into the world and continue to expand the wage gap based on gender just in order to donate is downright disgusting. You would honestly prefer continued inequality for women in the workplace in order to up donations? Where are the statistics that support your claim that male alumni will donate more than female alumnae?

    Women at Chatham are most certainly not in an environment where there is “too much feminitity” – Chatham is not a prep school and we are not caught up in the plot lines of Mona Lisa Smile here. Chatham women are encouraged to stand up, speak out, find their voices, and develop confidence to allow them to succeed in a world dominated by masculinity. Again, where are the statistics that suggest women who have families and children donate less to their alma mater?

    I’m not sure if you are an alumna of Chatham or not, but as a woman I would expect you to support women, not suggest that they are the weaker sex.

    Nicole Hagan
    Class of 2007

  14. Sandy Kuritzky says:

    Nicole,
    Back in the “dark ages” (1969) I was asked by a cousin-by-marriage’s father if I was going to college for my M-R-S. I responded I was going for an education.

    My predecessors and peers, as well as women who have subsequently followed, invested a lot of “blood, sweat, and tears” to attain the societal and economic advances we have experienced to date. I can truly say – to paraphrase the old Virginia Slims ad. tag line – “we’ve come a long way, baby”. Unfortunately, like the journey of 100 miles, collectively, we have many more miles to travel.

    As you wrote in your posting, “Chatham women are encouraged to stand up, speak out, find their voices, and develop confidence to allow them to succeed in a world dominated by masculinity.” A single-sex college may not be important to everyone, but I sincerely believe it is an option that should remain for those who believe they will benefit from it – as I did.

    Sandy Kuritzky, ’73

  15. Rachel Lenzi says:

    Eve,

    This is what strikes me about your post and disillusions me the most:

    “It is true that youth expect to find a partner while in college. When the school is co-ed, more women will be interested in attending because they will feel more secure in that they will likely find love in college. This is one of the single most important parts of a women’s life, and realistically how women choose a college.”

    I didn’t realize until now that in order for Chatham to be successful, it needed to add an MRS. program. What are we teaching young women – that in order to be validated as a college student and as an individual, they need to find a man while they’re in college?

    Statistically, both men and women are marrying well after college. More women are choosing career pursuits instead of setting up a home and starting a family right after earning a degree at 21 or 22. Divorce and separation also factor into the decision to delay marriage. Even the U.S. Census has shown that statistically, men and women are waiting until they’re at least 4-5 years out of college to get married.

    Even the year I graduated (1998), I’d venture to say that, at most, two of my classmates got married right after graduation.

    Your statement about women going to school to find a man doesn’t hold a lot of water.

  16. Emily Newport Woodward says:

    Nicole
    Thank you for your thoughtful response to Eve Adams post. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve said, but wouldn’t have been able to find words for “polite company” – I must have missed all those classes on “femininity”. I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion and I welcome the opportunity to hear from more ALUMNAE who support this decision, but Wow!!
    Emily Newport Woodward
    Class of 1990

  17. Rachel Lunsford says:

    On an emotionally level, I did go to Chatham College to find love. But it wasn’t love of a partner, it was love for myself. I didn’t know it was called love then. I didn’t even know what I would discover. But it was me, the real, genuine, authentic me. And I’m brilliant, smart, funny, and yes, even beautiful on my own.

    That said, this is the most asinine argument pulled straight from 1950s propaganda as why women should be dutiful housewives. Your argument is bad and you should feel bad. I completely agree with what Nicole wrote in reply to you.

    Rachel Lunsford
    Class of 2007

  18. Lori King, class of 1999 says:

    Sorry, “Eve Adams,” but I know not a single person who chose their educational path based on marriage prospects. I know that I certainly did not think about potential spouses when I decided to attend Chatham or my grad program at IUP or applied for my current job. I was looking for educational and other opportunities for myself, only. I highly doubt that you are an alumna. If I am wrong, then you completely missed out on what being on a women’s only campus is for, which has nothing whatsoever to do with finding a spouse.

  19. Sheila Confer says:

    “This is one of the single most important parts of a women’s life, and realistically how women choose a college.”

    This stunningly ignorant and archaic statement saved me the time of reading the rest of your post. So thank you for that.

  20. Lucia Melito says:

    You obviously don’t know much about Chatham’s mission and history, but you make an even greater case for the the Board to keep Chatham a woman’s college. Did you read this Esther, et. al? Great progress, huh? I rest my case.

  21. Tricia Chicka says:

    Hmm, This is so outrageously archaic and unhelpful that I just can’t help but think you are some sort of troll and not a real person. I hope so at least.

  22. Alumna of '11 says:

    Someone is either trolling the page or stuck in the 19th century.

  23. Kate M. says:

    Who is “Eve Adams?” She’s not in the alumnae directory. She’s nowhere on the internet. Not found on Spokeo and other searches. I (as well as many others) do not believe “she” exists.

    If she does live and breathe she’s stuck in the 1950s. Someone should go back in time and welcome her to this new and exciting 21st Century. Also, a actually reading a feminist studies book might be helpful, since this individual apparently thinks feminism = man-hating.

    Men haven’t been “denied the privilege” of going to Chatham. They can get their graduate and doctoral degrees on our lovely campus, as they have been doing for some time now. (Besides, we don’t really want to get into a discussion about male privilege, now do we?)

  24. Casey Schall says:

    The qualities you speak of re: men (being more driven, strong, etc.) are a direct effect of preferential treatment throughout their educational experience (boys are more likely to be called on/ recognized in class). By creating a school for women, you give women a place to take leadership roles, and learn to excel in the classroom.

    As a graduate of a coed university, I can say from experience that women in the classroom are less likely to be engaged in school. As the husband of a Chatham graduate, I can tell you that the quality of Chatham College’s education has gone down considerably over the last few years. Instead of becoming coed like almost every college out there, Chatham should focus on providing a better education for the many women who want the best education they can get, and not just an MRS.

  25. Peggy hoff says:

    My husband of 34 years laughed when I read your post outloud; he thought you were just being sarcastic!

  26. Peggy hoff says:

    I too went to Chatham because I didn’t love myself or other types of women very much – the flighty cheerleader-types, the watch-the-boys-play sort, the boy-crazy sort (that would be myself), the elementary teacher-nurse-child care provider, the rip-your-eyes-out femme fatale, or the act-dumb brain. My mother questioned why I wanted to go to an all-women’s college. I told her I did not want the distraction of men while I studied. The not-so secret is men throng to Chatham – local boys, Pitt law students, Duquesne guys, CMU engineers, Steelers, etc. However, at Chatham, despite the mistakes I made thinking a man would solve my problems, I came to realize I was a capable, multifaceted, intelligent woman. I learned to love and admire strong women, and to forgive myself and all types of women for the stupid things we all have done to attract men. Sisterhood is important for all women throughout our lives. Chatham is one of the few non-parochial places to learn that.

  27. Peggy hoff says:

    Funny how Chatham is missing on the Net Price for colleges site. http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/features/net-price-calculator

  28. x says:

    Chatham is not listed at this link because US News and World Reports is listing the top 300 National Universities at this page. Chatham is categorized as a Regional University by USNWR.

  29. Hi there, I log on to your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

  30. JoAnn Abraham says:

    This all makes me so sad. And I really have the feeling that this is a done deal. But I’m sticking in my two cents anyway.

    Chatham offered me (and everyone else) the opportunity so shine in an academic environment as a woman, and to have the benefit of the social life offered in and around Pittsburgh. I did not marry anyone I met in college. But I never lacked for social interaction.

    As a marketer, it’s really obvious that the target audience has not been correctly identified, and the story to sell the product has never been emotionally pitched. I never intended to go to a woman’s college. I didn’t live in Pennsylvania or Ohio. I’m like almost everyone else. I wanted an education. All girls? Why? What could that possibly offer? What difference could that make?

    I wanted to go to Carnegie Mellon. But my guidance counselor suggested that I look at Chatham, as long as I was in the area. (target audience: the people who guide the decision-making) I made my choice while driving up Woodland Rd. (emotional pitch: bucolic setting just outside great city)

    So how much has been invested in arranging tours for guidance counselors within a 75 mile radius? How may videos have been sent to them and to high and middle school principals across the country? How many have been sent to the thousands of individual independent college counselors? I know it’s harder to identify this cohort, but just poll the current students. Ask them for the names of the people who guided their college application process.

    Please.

  31. Kathe Hoover Hill says:

    I’m sorry this thread was hijacked because this is an important conversation. I agree with the alumnae posting above who, as I do, value the unique experience we had attending Chatham. I have read the letter from 13 dedicated Chatham alumnae and activists, two of whom were in my class. This letter clearly points out the reasons for the change being considered. If the undergraduate college is unsustainable, and I believe it is, it makes no sense to me to have “Chatham University” consisting entirely of graduate and auxiliary programs.

    I work in higher education and my everyday reading shows that most institutions are under enormous financial pressure. I would recommend everyone to read Clayton Christensen’s article in the Nov. 1, 2013 New York Times in which he claims that “a host of struggling colleges and universities — the bottom 25 percent of every tier, we predict — will disappear or merge in the next 10 to 15 years.” That is a shocking statistic. I don’t want Chatham to disappear. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/education/edlife/online-education-as-an-agent-of-transformation.html?smid=pl-share

    If the Chatham campus becomes co-ed, I do think something will be lost. However, I trust the women who signed this letter to work for the good of Chatham as they have been doing for many years. And I’m convinced that change is required.

    Kathe Hoover Hill
    Chatham College ’66
    MLS Rutgers U.

  32. Sandy Kuritzky says:

    As I have spent time on this issue, I’ve discovered resources publicly available on the internet that have helped to better educate me. As I read, I become more convinced of the need to delay the vote to disband Chatham College for Women and become a coeducational undergraduate facility. There are tools available which may enable the Trustees to agree to continue our 145 year tradition.

    1. Catalyst is a non-profit organization working to advance women. Check out their website and see “The Ripple Effect: What’s Good for Women is Good for the World”. (New York: Catalyst, March 3, 2014) for global statistics regarding “the importance of educated women to benefit families, communities, workplaces, economies, and societies at large”. Deborah Gillis, the President and CEO of Catalyst wrote it is “essential for women to be as educated, as capable of earning money, and as in control of their physical lives as men – not just because it’s fair, but because empowering women raises everybody’s standard of living”.

    2. The Womens College Coalition includes Chatham. Their website includes a 100+ slide power point presentation to the National Association for College Admissions Counseling 2012 meeting in Denver entitled “How to Get Your Girls to Consider Women’s Colleges: Connecting the Dots to Find the Right Fit”. It was presented by women from the Coalition, Bryn Mawr, and St. Mary’s College (IN). I believe the authors successfully made their argument and presented a road map to convince prospective women students “it is all about her”.

    The Womens College Coalition website also includes a 1997 foot-noted article presented by ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) of the US Department of Education titled “Women’s Colleges in the United States: History, Issues, and Challenges”. Its 3 authors identified issues that warranted further investigation and frequently appeared as they conducted their research . The issues included:
    – “What happened to women’s colleges that closed or became
    coeducational?…
    – What can other institutions learn from those women’s colleges that have
    survived, in terms of such issues as marketing, enrollment management, and
    program development?”

    I recommend ALL of Chatham’s constituents – its Board of Trustees, Administration, Alumnae, Faculty and Staff, and Students continue to educate themselves regarding this important topic BEFORE any irrevocable decision is reached. After all, we cannot “unring” the Chapel Bells.

    Sandy Kuritzky, ’73

  33. Peggy Johns Hoff '78 says:

    Perhaps Chatham has never had students and alumnae who have skills as videographers, nor photographers, nor writers, nor interviewers, nor producers, nor actors to put something together for the website and send to guidance counselors or students who apply.

  34. Cheryl says:

    Hi Sandy! Thanks for liking my posts. :)

    I was hoping to add some humor to this mess. I have felt very hopeless about Chatham’s future and your response has given me a glimmer of hope. Its a great question that should really be the focus of these conversations- how does an institituion of learning, in today’s world/economy/social climate/etc successfully create an outstanding women’s education facility? Interestingly enough…there are women who are scholars, academics, writers, lawyers, accountants, professors, artists, healers, scientists, revolutionaries, transmen, business owners, consultants, designers, mothers, grandmothers, community leaders and more that span over 100 years of living that reality who happen to also be alumni of Chatham! Like Sandy and many others here who have been brainstorming real solutions to this problem, I would love to see the board asking themselves- what are smart, productive, and respectful models of working with and organizing the women who believe in women’s education- who are more than willing to help successfully reshape Chatham?

    I work at the Environmental Charter school (ECS)- a K-8 school in Pittsburgh whose staff and teachers are able to tackle difficult hurdles much like this almost everyday. ECS is creating a revolutionary education model unlike any other in Pittsburgh and its great to see children actually enjoy school, grow and become great leaders with respect for themselves, others, and the environment just from their elementary school experience. Despite a low Pittsburgh Public School budget and many setbacks from the board of educaiton and other naysayers, ECS is greatly successful with a 500+ student waiting list and plans to open another elementary school and highschool in the next 2 years. At ECS, they dont act out of concern for money or fear of failure, they welcome change and they are always asking, ‘How can we be better?!’. At ECS they use innovative models for getting input from all stakeholders of the school- teachers, staff, parents, and community leaders and they are able to use that information and put it into action quickly and effectively to design a school unlike any other I have seen.

    I believe that the best solutions to heal any problem are unique to the individual- and the necessary solutions to heal the wounded Chatham should come from the women themselves. Not statistics in the New York Times or whatever. What Chatham really needs to do right now, is strive to create and do something unlike any other. ECS does it and Chatham can do it. If you need to- talk to those at ECS about what models they use for successfully utilizing the input of their stakeholders to shape their school- another progressive education institution in your own city that Chatham can learn alot from!

    My only fear is that real change will only come from a radical shift in business as usual at Chatham (and in higher education) and I don’t fully believe that the board or Dr. Barrazonne will be willing to make those drastic changes. Hopefully with brilliant women leading the way, and their input being taken seriously they will….

    But then again, as I have said before, I also believe that the world is rapidly changing, and if Chatham wants to float for now, then quickly sink with the rest of them later. So be it. The reall awesome women will just go somewhere else.

  35. Nadine Banks says:

    Dear alumnae trustees,
    This communication is to let you know that I do not support Chatham’s proposed resolution to go co-ed. I have decided that this issue has taken enough of my time. Please remove my name from the mailing and emailing lists.

    Whatever your decision, will not change my experiences while at Chatham…I will always be a Chatham alumna. I will be another member of the silent alumnae group.

    Nadine

  36. Janet S Prescott says:

    I agree that a vote for complete coeducation should be delayed. After retiring from a 20 plus year career as an industrial psychologist, I would like to say that women’s colleges are no longer needed. Sadly, the opposite is true. Research has been done that suggests graduates of women’s colleges make more money than graduates of coed institutions when controlled for SATs, class rank and socioeconomic status. I understand there have been enrollment problems, but what marketing studies have been done that show going co-ed will increase enrollment? I fear Chatham will join a larger group of private coed institutions competing for the same students. There must be other avenues to explore such as satellite campuses in parts of the country that offer no women’s college education.
    Jan Simpson Prescott, 1965

  37. Beth Ruddiman, Ph.D., ''77 says:

    I encourage each trustee to look in to her heart and determine whether attending Chatham as a women’s college helped make her the successful person she is today. If the answer is yes, then how, in good conscience, could today’s girls be denied the same opportunity for education and success?

  38. Jennifer Haney says:

    I am a Chatham grad of 2003. I do understand the need for money and opening Chatham undergrad to males would bring in more money. However, I wish to deeply implore the college to not do so. For me, Chatham was a wonderful place, a small college where everyone knew everyone. The community spirit there is so great that practically no one could hide from it. It is about women, independent, caring, intelligent world ready woman. In my class rooms there was never any drama, no distractions and we certainly didnt care about our clothes or make up. There was no pressure beyond learning and succeeding. Adding men into this mix adds competition, embarrassment, distraction and will erode the sense of comradery and unity. As woman we can over come anything, together and Chatham University is the corner stone of this strength. Please do not let money destroy that.

  39. Jennifer Haney says:

    Your comments brought tears to my eyes. You are SO right. Chatham is not just another university, it is a safe growing and learning experience. Sisterhood will save the world.

  40. Emily Weiland says:

    Wow, what an eye opener Eve Adam’s post was. Let’s invite men because they make more money so will donate more; are more respected so their positive opinions of Chatham will be listened to; men are more driven and ambitious. Welcome to the future of Chatham. Sad. Goodbye Chatham.

  41. Lisa Sabol '82 says:

    Hmmm, I think Eve Adams is a troll trying to get everyone spun up. The name sounds fake, like a play on Adam and Eve or some weird reference to the first woman or original sin.

  42. Sandy Kuritzky says:

    The trustee’s comments at last month’s Philadelphia Town Meeting at the Union League resonated with me, and I know you both trustees who spoke invested a great deal of time, energy, and thought into your individual decisions to propose Chatham change to a coeducational undergraduate institution.

    As Terri Dean said last month, I have considered this issue with my heart, but I have reached a different conclusion with my business head. Members of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Alumni Ass’n have sent a letter to the alumni members of the Board, with the hope it will consider our request; we ask the Board of Trustees to delay the decision to go coed for a year, to enable our entire community to come together in an effort to begin to solve some of the challenges facing the University’s undergraduate enrollment.

    As you may have heard, it was announced this afternoon that Carlow is investing $15.7mil in its “first major construction in more than a decade”. Their new Institute for Women’s Leadership and Empowerment will “increase the capacity of women to become skilled change agents and social entrepreneurs within communities regional to global”. The attached article by Bill Schackner of the Post-Gazette cites a 9% enrollment of male undergraduates and a 14% enrollment of male graduate students. (The quotes in this email are from his article.)

    President Mellon of Carlow identified a “strong need to address the social and health disparities of women and the role women’s leadership and voice can have for our community and the world”. CCW has provided its World Ready Women with the “capacity…to become skilled change agents and social entrepreneurs within communities regional to global” for 145 years. We respectfully ask that the alumni Board representatives reconsider its position and grant the 1 year postponement for this vote.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Sandy Kuritzky, ’73

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  45. Peggy Hoff says:

    IPad drop not off-topic. It’s kinda what our CCW sister/trustees have done with our college to get people to look at Chatham in its new state!!!! Great PR bit! Too bad it’s irreparable!

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  48. Pam Fabish Allison says:

    I graduated from Chatham in 1974. I have yet to see any data that shows how many men are expected to enroll in Chatham College if the decision is made to go co-ed. Have prospective male students been surveyed on their interest in attending Chatham College? Without studies showing this data, I can’t see how a vote can be taken on this matter. If efforts are going to be made to recruit men to apply/attend Chatham, why not put those efforts into recruiting more women? Please consider a delay on this vote until some hard data is obtained.

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