In reading the essays in response to the 50th anniversary of undergraduate coeducation (feature, Sept. 11), I was pleased to see a paragraph on the “invigorating” experiences with taking chemistry cited by Lisa Dorota Tebbe ’73. However, I was disappointed when she cited the downsides, including the lack of a women’s restroom in Frick Lab. That surprised me, since all of the secretaries, both in the main and departmental offices, were women. In addition, two female grad students in chemistry entered the Graduate School in 1963. Unfortunately, they left after one year for a variety of reasons.
As a co-educated male all through K-12 and college in Minneapolis, I was disappointed with what I saw for males-only education, both in and outside of the classroom at Princeton. My wife and I were married after my junior year in college, so when I was a teaching assistant and a pair of high heels could be heard walking past the lab on the terra-cotta floor, all 12 of my students swung their heads staring outside the door, and I did too. I went home that night and told my wife about my reaction, and said when we have kids they will be co-educated. She heartily agreed, and our two kids were.
Let me apologize to Ms. Tebbe for the boorish, misogynistic behavior of her chemistry TAs. Let me assure all that not all of us chemistry TAs were like that, and had I (or some of my friends) been her TA, she would not have had bad experiences.