My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
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What with my being in a very woman-centered place three days a week, and this being Women's History Month, I figured I should make some relevant comments.

First, read Sister Joan Chittister's piece this week about women's "place" worldwide. She usually has some pretty interesting perspectives on contemporary situations.

The biggest topic on campus this week is Tulane's "takeover" of Newcomb. Newcomb was established back in 1886 as a "coordinate" college for women within Tulane. (Columbia followed their lead with Barnard and Harvard with Radcliffe.) For more than a century they had their own faculty and administration. Tulane accepted women in their Engineering, Business, and Architecture schools, but if a woman was majoring in an Arts and Science discipline she went to Newcomb. And the endowment money for Newcomb was kept separate from Tulane.

Just before I started at Tulane (grad school) in 1988 they began more of a melding of the schools. Faculty were no longer housed (officed?) in Newcomb buildings, but came to join the "Tulane" faculty in their office areas. My first couple of years there one professor in particular who had her office in Newcomb, but by the time I left she'd been moved to the other side of the campus with the "Tulane" history department.

Now Tulane is in deep doo-doo with Katrina expenses. They plan to almost eliminate their Engineering school. They also plan to join Newcomb completely with Tulane. As a sop to Newcomb, they will call the combo Newcomb-Tulane University. But the biggie is that they will finally (in their point of view) be able to tap into Newcomb's substantial endowment.

However, Newcomb will lose its identity as a prime women's liberal arts college. And guess what? Would you be surprised to learn that the deans are currently schedulaed to be all from Tulane--i.e. male?

To add to the conversations that I'm hearing around me is the set of archives that I've been processing. Today I was going through a couple of folders that had all sorts of Newcomb history--including the exact wording of the endowment. It's a good thing I'm not getting paid, because then I'd feel a certain sense of guilt about reading everything that looks interesting. But the Newcomb history stuff was extremely interesting.

It's nice to be around a bunch of people all day who (generally) talk about semi-serious subjects. And I like being around students--that's one of the attractions of teaching college level.

Tomorrow I go to a training workshop for literacy tutors. It's the first of two and will take up most of Saturday. It should be interesting and I will look forward to working with this program. It won't conflict with the Women's Center thing because the tutoring will be evenings, at the local library.

I had planned to talk about Spring Break today, but I got caught up in the Newcomb situation, and then there was the Chittister column.

New Orleans is getting hundreds of college kids on their spring break this year. They're coming here, living in dormitory tents or similar housing, and spending their days gutting houses. (Our church has about 15 camped out on the floor of the parsonage. This group is from Massachusetts.) They are doing a terrific job that has to be done. The secretary at Xavier lives by herself and is in no shpe to gut her own house. A college group will take care of that problem this week. Then she'll be able to get it back in liveable shape.

This is a marvelous way for kids to spend their spring break--doing a low-tech job that has to be done and helping New Orleans get its housing back.

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