Parietals Then and Nowrnby Herb LondonrnAs a Columbia University undergraduate in 1956,1 residedrnin Hartley Hall, a stately building on the Morningsiderncampus. During my orientation week I was introduced to myrnfloor counselor who said in an unambiguous way that hijinksrnwould not be permitted on his watch. He highlighted one rulernwhich could never be disobeyed: women were not permitted inrnwhat was then an all-male dorm unless it was during designatedrnhours on the weekend. When visitation was allowed, womenrnhad to sign in and a book had to keep one’s dorm room doorrnopen. Closed doors were considered a violation of the dormitoryrndeportment code and subject to penalty. Of course a fewcleverrnstudents used matchbooks as a door wedge, but theyrnwere the exception.rnWhile there were those who balked at the rules and occasionallyrnadolescent men were rowdy—1 readily admit to infractionsrn—there was not any doubt about the university’s expectation.rnIn fact, the freshmen student guide said Columbia is arnplace where the “whole man” is developed—including mindrnand character. In those days character development was takenrnseriously.rnWhen I played on the basketball team, my coach, Lou Rossini,rninsisted that we wear ties and jackets when traveling to otherrnschools. On one occasion when we played against the Universityrnof Maine and temperatures plummeted to minus tenrndegrees on the streets of Bangor, I wore a turtleneck and a blazer.rnRossini, noticing my attire, said, “If you want to play at Columbiarnyou’ll follow a gentleman’s code of conduct. I expect allrnplayers to wear shirts and ties even if the temperature is 50 belowrnzero.” I got the message.rnColumbia was not alone in assuming the role of in loco parentis.rnIt was believed by administrators at the time that studentrndeportment was an essential part of the university experience.rnMany students resented these regulations, choosing to exerciserntheir freedom by renting apartments off-campus or joining fraternitiesrnand living in frat houses in the hope that the vigilancernof student regulations could not easily be maintained.rnAt the University of Pennsylvania, the student handbook ofrn1961 noted that it is a “privilege being a University of Pennsylvaniarnstudent” which “carries with it certain responsibilities.”rnWhen a student lives up to these responsibilities, “he bringsrncredit not only to himself, his family and his friends but also tornHerb London is ]ohn M. Olin Professor of Humanities at NewrnYork University.rnhis University. The converse is true when a student fails tornmeet these responsibilities.”rnIn every handbook I read during this period in the early 60’s,rnbefore the maelstrom of student discontent, the concept of enforcementrnwas predicated on self-discipline. Universities setrndown the regulations for responsible behavior and studentsrnwere expected to meet them. An emphasis was placed on order,rnpropriety, and decorum with specific censure of intoxicationrnand bad manners.rnDorm regulations were universally applied. Specified visitingrnhours for “escorted women” were posted, and in most instancesrnfraternity houses were obliged to adhere to similar rules.rnIf women were visiting men off-campus, it was expected theyrnwould receive permission from their parents.rnIt is instructive that social regulations for men and womenrnwere written separately. Women were asked to reflect on thernquestion of whether an individual act might adversely affectrn”the reputation of the university” and whether this act reflectsrnpooriy on all women students. It was customary for women’srnresidences to have their own governing body. The large majorityrnof cases in the eady 60’s dealt with the violation of drinkingrnregulations and an occasional problem with curfews which werernroutinely 11:00 P.M. for first-semester freshmen (a word now inrndisuse) and midnight for other students. If there was no evidencernof infractions, a curfew of 1:0G A.M. would be consideredrnfor the weekend.rnCasual attire was prohibited in all academic buildings, laboratories,rnlibraries, and administrative buildings. In one studentrndocument after another women were expected to be “ladylike”rnand men “gentlemanly.” Although rarely elaborated on, the intentionrnwas clear. Women were chaperoned at parties and menrnwere expected to be well-mannered, especially in the presencernof women.rnIn addition to academic violations such as cheating and plagiarism,rnwhich automatically resulted in expulsion, studentsrnculpable of flagrant violation of parietals would face suspension.rnOn one matter the university in the I960’s was confident:rnit had an unequivocal standard of correct student behavior.rnSic fugit. From 1972 to 1992,1 was a dean at New York University.rnDuring that period I not only observed an incrementalrnbut continual alteration in parietals at my home institutionrnand at other institutions across the country. While therernare several exceptions to my generalization, Grove City Collegern26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn