Chatham University Faculty Statement

At the end of March, Chatham’s faculty (both undergraduate and graduate) developed, voted on and issued a Statement Regarding Consideration of Chatham College for Women Becoming a Co-educational College.

The following is the statement that was adopted by the Chatham University faculty:

As the faculty of Chatham University, we implement the academic mission of the institution in our classrooms and through our mentorship and guidance of students.  In making this statement, we contribute to the discussion in the Chatham community.

We are dedicated to the students and graduates of Chatham University and to the institution itself.  It is once again time for Chatham University to change, and we are carefully considering how best to educate our students.  We recognize that the proposal to become coeducational is based on the need to expand and enrich our undergraduate college in response to changing demographics and student interests in higher education.  We want our students to have a range of choices in their majors and courses, vibrant classrooms, and robust programs. Therefore, the faculty of Chatham University conclude that the next logical step is for the Board of Trustees to consider coeducation to help us achieve these goals.  We do not consider this option lightly nor do we consider it a panacea.

Regardless of the decision made by the Trustees, we remain committed to women’s empowerment and will work to ensure that women continue to be leaders, to have a strong voice in the classroom, and to learn in an environment that encourages women to realize their full potential. We also remain committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all people, irrespective of gender identity.  We will work with the University community to continue the transformation needed to ensure the quality of the educational experience at Chatham.  We look forward to having an integral role in future planning for the University, drawing on our collective expertise.

We ask the Board of Trustees at this time to explore every option, listen to all constituencies, and make a decision that will preserve and support undergraduate education at Chatham University.

  1. kathleen mcclelland says:

    I AM GLAD THAT THE FACULTY UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION AND HAVE COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY’S GOAL TO OPEN THE UNIVERSITY TO ALL STUDENTS, MALE OR FEMALE.

  2. Leah Hill Thompson '93 says:

    Thank you, Faculty, for addressing the important issue at hand: preserving the strong educational mission which is Chatham. You can’t keep that mission going without students, no matter what their sex or gender. I think we can trust the Faculty to continue to have classrooms where students are treated with equality, dignity, and respect, no matter who they are. It’s an insult to the Faculty to think that this won’t happen should Chatham go co-ed.

  3. Kelly says:

    “the faculty of Chatham University conclude that the next logical step is for the Board of Trustees to consider coeducation to help us achieve these goals.”

    This is NOT a statement of unconditional support for Chatham moving co-ed. It is a statement for the Board to examine carefully the option of coeducation in order to best meet the needs of the school.

    While I would prefer that the faculty come straight out and reject coeducation as a valid option, they are, in no less sense than Save Chatham and the Alumni Association Board have, asking for the Board to very carefully consider ALL possible solutions and provide information regarding that study. They are simply asking for due diligence, and, in my opinion, that is a glaring red flag that due diligence has not been completed thus far.

  4. R says:

    Each day and every posting brings us closer to the death of Chatham College for Women. It is a sad day indeed.

  5. Kelly says:

    Also, it couldn’t be a really strong endorsement from the faculty if you didn’t start singing it from the rooftops…

  6. Rosie Riveter says:

    Yet again, the attack on a beloved alma mater continues.

    The Board of Trustees have been drinking the Esther Barazzone kool aid for far too long. It now seems as though the faculty members have also been drinking the kool aid.

    What protection would the faculty members have had if they had voted against coeducational or even (gasp) passed a no confidence vote in our good friend, Dr. Barrazzone and her really good friends, the Board of Trustees. Furthermore, if these faculty members are so assured that this be the best course of action, where are their names?

    Why isn’t anyone willing to stand up and fight this? What plans have been made for the re-engagment of the Alumnae/Alumni after this decision? Oh, right…Chatham make plans…that’s a loaded statement.

  7. Emily Newport Woodward says:

    As we read yet another post from the Administration, penned by the same hand as all the others, I would love to know what else the faculty had to say about the educational issues in the undergraduate program that have hindered their abilities in a single-sex environment and certainly won’t disappear in a co-ed setting. I’ve been asking this question for almost 2 months now…… WHAT IS THE PLAN????? How does Chatham University intend to succeed well into the future? I can’t believe anyone with half a brain, let alone the folks who are dependent on Chatham for their livelihood believe that going co-ed solves the underlying problems.

  8. Sally Davoren says:

    Is this from the faculty of Chatham University, or the faculty of Chatham College for Women, if indeed there are any of the latter left? I’d love to see how the faculty vote broke down on this.

  9. Tricia Chicka says:

    I’m not sure I can buy an unsigned endorsement like this as indicative of the majority of the faculty’s view on the matter…

  10. Tillie says:

    For all the Chatham Alum supporting this decision to go co-ed, what was your reason for attending an all women’s college? Why didn’t you go somewhere co-ed? Please feel free to email and let me know… I’m serious.

    I mean all I see are people taking the word of the BOTs, that this is the BEST decision. How about we implement a new BOT and see if they are able to implement something that will keep Chatham thriving as an all women’s institution? If you’ve been having all these issues with funding, Esther, why not speak up earlier? What are you really hiding? Because all of this seems like some backdoor dealing that needs fast action otherwise it’ll fall through.

    The mismanagement of any organization, especially for personal gain, is disgusting. It’s just more painful when it hits closer to home.

  11. Lori King, class of 1999 says:

    I agree with some of the above comments. An anonymous statement probably not even written by faculty is not an endorsement. The alumnae can see through these obvious tactics. Every communication from the administration claims that they want what is best for the University while simultaneously ignoring any suggestions other than co-education full steam ahead. Watching this process is absolutely sickening.

  12. Peggy Johns Hoff says:

    By all means, put the school before the female students and myriad alumnae opinions. Apparently, opening a grad school, environmental college, becoming a University with three campuses is not enough to keep Chatham afloat. What happened to marketing and PR? A women’s college in a sea of less than 100 women’s colleges should be a plus not a minus. Find a better strategy, please! I could come up with some great advertising ideas!

  13. S. Kuritzky says:

    The trustee’s comments at last month’s Philadelphia Town Meeting at the Union League resonated with me, and I know 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 Trustee 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 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 blog 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

  14. Kathleen A Ferraro says:

    This seems very much after the fact. If faculty were supporting the proposal all along, this statement would have been front and center at the town halls. I suspect it was crafted in response to criticisms that the administration and board are marketing to us rather than trying to persuade us. I too want to know which faculty are involved and how many. Where are the names? What is the date on this statement? Either the admin and board think we’re really stupid or they are very bad at building their own case.

    I posted a version of this to Save Chatham, but want to make sure that it is seen by the audience for this page as well.

  15. Superb post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thank you!

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