Student deferments
Tue, 4 Mar 1997 23:27:32 -0500

From: Maggie Jaffe <>
Subject: Re: Student deferments, or love me I'm a Liberal

Dear Sixties People:

I have a very distinct memory of being in an English class in college, I
assume it was 1969, although it might have been '68. Anyway, we were about
to discuss our readings when a student raised his hand and asked if we
could spend a little time discussing the war in Vietnam. The professor
apologized, like a well-meaning liberal should, but said that we had to
cover the material on the syllabus. Our disappointment was palpable.
"Lessons learned" at home & abroad.


From: "rachel barrett martin" <>

Responding to the message of Sun, 2 Mar 1997 17:14:22 -0800 (PST)
from Tom Condit <tomcondit@IGC.APC.ORG>:

> There was also a considerable degree of discriminatory treatment of woman
> students as a byproduct of this. Many instructors felt that since good
> grades were literally a matter of life-and-death for male students, women
> should accept being moved into the lower ranks as a matter of political
> necessity.
In research for my undergraduate thesis, I encountered the dilemma of grade
inflation to "protect" deferments, but because Williams was still mostly
male at the time (some 60 women exchange students from Seven Sisters etc.
entered in the fall of 1969), I never heard much from my oral history
informants (faculty and alums) about the gendered burden on women. Do you,
Tom, or anybody else know more about this occurrence? I know Sara Evans
mentions Barrie Thorne's "Guys Say Yes to Women Who Say No" paper (later an
essay in a Michigan history/soc. journal), but I don't know of specific
work on academic consequences. Thanks...

Rachel Barrett Martin
Department of History/Program in Composition
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

From: Tom Condit <>

Dear Rachel Martin:

Thanks for your response to my message on this topic. It draws my attention
to the fact that I don't really know much at all about the question of
gender discrimination in grading, but am merely repeating rumors I've heard.

Leon Trotsky noted in the preface to his _History of the Russian Revolution_
that he was relying upon written sources rather than his own recollections
in order to reduce the subjectivity of the work. I think all that many of us
on this list can do is give people pointers toward what written sources to
look for (and hope that they exist).