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Columns

November 18, 2013

Local college students pushed for equality in the late 1960s

A modern day college student at any of our region’s institutions of higher learning might either get a chuckle or cast a jeer at some of the customs and rules of campus life in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. For instance, only female students had curfews until 1968 and college dormitories were strictly male or female until 1970. These customs began to change during those years at the State University College at Oneonta. 

“Curfew becomes a thing of the past for many SUCO co-eds tonight,” it was reported in The Oneonta Star of Tuesday, March 5, 1968.

“Under a plan devised by the Women’s Student Government Association, all women students either married or older than 21 will gain possession of a key to their dormitory, allowing them to come and go throughout the night.”

“Sophomores and juniors receive keys on a nightly basis. Once the co-ed decides to stay out past lock-up time — midnight Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights — she gives the resident assistant dean of her dormitory a sealed envelope containing her destination for contact in case of an emergency.”

“Frosh co-eds still must abide by stricter rules. They must be in dorms by 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, midnight on Sunday, and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. They get a single 2 a.m. night per month, choosing whatever night they wish as long as it is a Friday or Saturday.”

The State Times referred to this easing of restrictions as SUNY Oneonta’s “Great Experiment,” as the changes made could possibly revert to the old standards in the fall 1968 semester. There were rules to follow and penalties to pay if the rules were broken. Most of the rules were an honor system, but if one was unfortunate enough to lose a key, or had a key illegally duplicated, that meant the student was assessed $10 to have a door lock changed and replacement keys (75-150 per residence hall) at 50 cents each.

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