Colby isn’t “their private club”

Colby Bicentennial Seal 1864-1913

Jan. 9, 1929

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Waterville, Maine
Jan. 9, 1929.

Dear [President] Johnson:
Florence DunnYou may be interested in this clipping, which is taken from the Waterville Sentinel of yesterday. [As] I read the words over, the more unfriendly in spirit they seem. The College has made use of the women for over fifty years; it has accepted their tuition and their loyalty and has taught them to love its traditions. They have received Colby diplomas and have borne the Colby name. Do the men think they own the College? It is true that they have managed to secure a very large representation of alumni on the Board of Trustees. That fact, however, gives them no moral right to settle the future destiny of Colby women without consulting the women themselves and giving them some voice in the decision. There is no argument for direct alumni representation on the Board that does not apply to alumnae representation. The present situation is just about as absurd and unjust as it possibly could be. When I say this, I’m not speaking for myself alone-I know what other women think.
Women at Hedman Hall 1945
If there are a few alumni who need constant reassurance that they will not be outnumbered, they’d better pray for grace. They need it. The College isn’t their private club. They must know in their hearts that they are narrow and selfish.
If all this sounds oratorical and opinionated, I’m sorry. For a good many years I did keep silent and often advised others to do so. Now that I’m older, I’m perhaps not so patient. Gentle silence doesn’t seem wholly adequate in all situations. It’s all very well to talk about “gradual disintegration,” but when you are the one that is being gradually disintegrated, you feel that you’d like to say a few words before the parting hymn. You will understand, I think.
Very sincerely yours,
Florence Dunn [1896, dean and trustee]