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October 24, 1969

The annual meeting of the Seven College Conference was interrupted when 38 black students demonstrated in front of Alumnae House, protesting the administration’s failure to act on their recent demands. At the meeting of representatives from Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley, President Simpson affirmed that, despite Vassar’s coeducation decision, the college would remain a member of the group, which had met in one configuration or another since 1916. “The conference [sometimes known as the Seven Sisters],” Simpson said, “represents a fund of experience and concern. The times have changed, but we have not changed our basic commitment to education for women. In varying degrees all the colleges are interested in co-education.”

Earlier in October his suggestions that Vassar might drop out and that there might not be “a viable future for women’s education” provoked varied responses. Wellesley’s President Ruth M. Adams observed, “Over the years, it has seemed to me that our group has begun to diverge in function and constitution, and that it might be advisable to enlarge the conference or listen sympathetically to the notion of dissolving it.” David T. Truman, president of Mount Holyoke, took a slightly different position, saying “we would like to persuade the errant institution [Vassar] to stay with our association, or else we would add to the association, or if necessary do with a smaller number.” The New York Times, The Miscellany News

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