a whirlwind of ideas
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75
given to regulations about life in the dormitories. In October 1969
the student government began vigorously to work toward the goal of
intervisitation, that is, toward receiving permission from the admin-
istration for women to visit, at least on a limited basis, in men’s
dormitory rooms. The suggestion now put forward by an ad hoc
committee on visitation, chaired by sophomore Bill DeWeese of
Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, was that the hours from twelve noon
until the closing of the women’s dormitories at night, on Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday, be acceptable times for “visiting.” One safe-
guard was included in the proposal: three-fourths of the students
in a hall or suite being visited would have to approve being “open.”
A student government poll showed that 94.5% of the student body
were in favor of the basic principle of visitation. Armed with this
widespread support, “no discussion and no debate” were necessary:
student government was unanimous in its vote. “It’s beautiful,”
said DeWeese. Conduct in the dormitories, he continued, is, after
all, “primarily a matter of student concern.”
Repercussions from the visitation proposal continued through-
out the academic year. At various levels of University authority the
response was negative. The Executive Committee of the faculty was
opposed. President Scales said, “The answer is no!” The main issue,
he pointed out, was one of “privacy in an increasingly congested
world.” Eventually, in the spring, the students’ request came before
the Board of Trustees, where it was resoundingly defeated by a vote
of thirty-five to one. The only Trustee in favor was Jim Cross, serv-
ing as the student Trustee.4
Some students, resentful that their request was turned down,
considered having a “visitation party” in defiance of the University’s
position, but the plan was suspended. About two hundred students,
however, did assemble for a silent vigil outside administrative of-
fices on the second floor of Reynolda Hall and remained for about
forty-five minutes, leaving when President Scales came out of his
office and said that he would continue to talk with them about the
issue. By the end of the year, as far as the students were concerned,
intervisitation remained a lively and provocative cause.
Even though higher officials in the administration and the Trust-
ees had the power to make decisions about visitation, much of the
burden of replying day by day to students’ annoyance and displea-
sure was borne by Dean of Men Mark Reece and Dean of Women
4
For the first time,
after Trustee action
in 1969, a student
was elected to the
Board. Cross, who
was also president
of the student body,
was a senior from
Burlington.
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