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By John Prendergast

 

 

SIDEBAR:
“Their Homes Encircle the Globe”:

Penn’s International Students

 

 

With a few exceptions—largely involving condescending or carping comment about the presence of women on campus, or bragging over Penn’s geographic diversity (see sidebar)—the Gazette took scant notice of the non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual student population from its founding in 1902 up through the early 1960s.

Women led the way in coverage, with reports on the coming of co-education to Wharton—the last holdout among Penn’s schools—in 1954, and the magazine’s recognition that “The Co-Ed Is Here to Stay” in 1964. But the real turning point came—on campus as in the larger society—in the late 1960s, when the magazine began to publish extensive reports on student protests over the Vietnam War, civil rights, and the treatment of women and, later, sexual minorities—accompanied by horrified (and occasionally cheering) comment from alumni in the “Letters” section. Prominent among the stories were articles concerning the establishment of the Afro-American Studies Program and the W.E.B. DuBois College House in 1972; the founding of the Penn Women’s Center the following year; and, a decade later, a pioneering effort at the University to provide counseling for gay and lesbian students.

We decided to take a look at these events from the perspective of the present through conversations with three knowledgeable alumni: Wayne Glasker C’80 Gr’94, a DuBois College House resident throughout his undergraduate years and the author of a recent book tracing the history of black student activism at Penn; Carol Tracy CGS’76, the leader of the 1973 sit-in that led to the women’s center, later a director of the center, and currently director of the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia; and Robert Schoenberg SW’68 Gr’89, who for 20 years has directed what is now the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender, or LGBT, Center at Penn.

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