IN THE early 1960's the average Andover student was reasonably content with his lot. If asked what was wrong with the School, he was apt to reply, "the food." He attended daily chapel, and church on Sunday (attendance being taken in both instances), with resignation if not enthusiasm. He had an allowance of cuts that enabled him to miss a few of these exercises, and if he was careful, he might be able to take a nap during church. When he got up in the morning, he put on a coat and tie without thinking about it very much. The only hassle over student dress was the question whether blue jeans could be worn as trousers. It was pointed out that scholarship boys would profit greatly from the legalizing of jeans, which were much less expensive than woollen trousers, but the Faculty refused to yield on the point. Sam the barber in the basement of the Andover Inn was doing a thriving business and turning out neatly coiffured students, some of whom had crew cuts. All the courses were year-long, at which attendance was taken each day, and an elaborate system of recording absence from class had been developed, presumably to ensure regular attendance. In the evenings, except on Saturdays, he was expected to be in his dormitory, the library, or some other authorized place after eight o'clock.
An undergraduate Student Council met regularly with the Headmaster, but although students could make suggestions and assist at various School functions, they had no real power. Occasionally someone would complain about this in the Phillipian, but for the most part the undergraduates were content with the system. If membership on the Student Council meant little more than recognition of positions of leadership, maybe that was the way it should be.
Outside the School there was little to disturb this relatively peaceful scene. The country was prosperous, and overseas there was little cause of alarm. To be sure, everyone was galvanized by the Bay of Pigs episode and the Cuban missile crisis. The latter was made all the more meaningful by the presence on the campus at that time of a group of visiting Russians, who, during the crisis, held meetings in the middle of the vista so as to avoid possible wire taps. But these crises passed; Viet Nam, except for the insiders, was still a cloud no bigger than a man's head. Blessed with the new buildings that the Andover Program had provided, the students could, presumably, look forward to a peaceful and productive time during their stay on Andover Hill.
Ten years later a great deal had changed. Perhaps "revolution" is too strong a word, but Phillips Academy neverthless underwent more basic changes during this decade than in all its previous history. Daily chapel had been abolished, and attendance at church on Sunday was on a voluntary basis; as a result, only a handful of undergraduates showed up. The requirements for coats and ties was gone, and many student costumes were bizarre, to say the least. The hair style of the undergraduates had changed markedly also, with various types of long hair-do's predominating. There were pigtails, braids, Afros, and some that resembled bird nests. Many wore long sideburns, full beards, and moustaches as well. Instead of taking only year-long courses, the student now had available a smorgasbord of term-contained courses so that he might, during his Senior year, take as many as fifteen different courses. The cut system had been abolished, and attendance was no longer taken in class. Each student was simply expected to attend all his classes. The hour at which he must be in his dormitory had been extended to ten o'clock and on some occasions to eleven; up until that time he was free to go where he wanted on campus---A so-called "cluster" system had been developed in an attempt to decentralize the nonacademic life of the School, with each cluster having autonomy in the administration of discipline. Students sat on all important Faculty committees and often attended Faculty meetings as well. Events in the world outside were of urgent concern to many of the undergraduate body, particularly the war in Vietnam and the draft. The problem of the blacks in America was brought home to the students by the presence on the campus of a much larger number of blacks than ever before in the history of the School. The environment, the plight of the cities, and many other contemporary concerns were now discussed seriously. The most important change of all, of course, was the fact that the School had gone coeducational. For the first time in its history, girls were actively participating in all phases of school life. It is hard to believe that this Phillips Academy bore any relationship to that of ten years before.
Any attempt to explain these momentous changes must focus on two important forces: first, the work of the Steering Committee, established by Headmaster John Kemper in 1965; and second, the influence of student protest movements, with their demands for change that would make their education more "relevant." These two forces were by no means independent of each other; some of the recommendations of the Steering Committee met demands that the students were making, while student pressure on occasion helped to achieve programs that the Steering Committee were advocating. Despite this interrelationship, it will be convenient to treat the two forces separately.
The Steering Committee was appointed by the Headmaster in June 1965 "to consider the current effectiveness of the policies and practices of the Academy and to make recommendations for its development in the future." The eight-man committee, under the chairmanship of Simeon Hyde, Jr., of the English Department, believed that "its function was to be the stimulation and coordination of a wide range of planning activities rather than the formulation of detailed plans in every area where a need for change or development was seen. It was left to the Committee to determine the areas in which it wished to make specific recommendations and the areas which appeared to require investigation by additional, properly representative committees."(1) Behind all the Committee's work was the belief, as stated by Chairman Hyde, that "American culture was changing rapidly."(2) If American culture was changing rapidly, it behooved Phillips Academy to adapt itself to that change if it wished to maintain its position of leadership among American secondary school institutions. The Committee believed that in the past, Phillips Academy had approached change in too deliberate and conservative a manner. The aim usually was to get a majority, if not a consensus, of the Faculty to subscribe to a new program that would replace an old one. The Committee was convinced that there must be a spirit of "optimistic venture"(3) in approaching new conditions, that frankly experimental programs should be undertaken alongside older, more traditional ones. Or, as the Committee put it, an established institution's "opportunity to poise experiment against experience is the basis of its peculiar strength.''(4)
With this by way of general background, the Committee stated that Phillips Academy's basic aim should be to provide "a broadly human education'' for boys of high intelligence who planned to go on to college and a career. The word "human" should be stressed here, for the Committee believed strongly that in the past the Academy had placed too much emphasis on purely academic areas and that there was great need to fashion programs that would develop the emotional, social, and spiritual side of the adolescent. To use the jargon of the time, they wanted less emphasis on "cognitive" courses and more on "affective" courses. If the student were to learn values while at School, the Committee believed that he must be offered three things: an active religious program that would present values; a Faculty that would, in their lives, represent these values; and, the creation of situations that would require the students to make value judgments for themselves.(5) When it came to Instruction, the Committee limited itself to a few broad statements. It believed that in the past, Phillips Academy had placed too much emphasis on rote learning, and hoped that in the future principles and concepts could be stressed more than mere facts. But they realized that no single innovation could change this situation and hoped rather for a series of experimental programs that might blaze trails for others to follow. Nor did they believe that Andover should conduct the experiments in a vacuum; they hoped that the School would pioneer programs in cooperation with other schools, both public and private.(6) At the close of their first summer of deliberation, the Committee, it was realized, would need help with specific aspects of School life, and as a result four subcommittees were formed: one on the Composition of the Student Body, under Frank M. Eccles; one on the Demands made upon the Student, under John B. Hawes; one on the Counseling of Students, under Dean G. G. Benedict; and one on New Media and Methods of Education, under Dean Alan R. Blackmer and, later, Edmond E. Hammond, Jr. Thus the Committee completed its first summer of work with its general goals determined, four working subcommittees ready to go into action, and a vast amount of educational material gained from reading and from specially invited leaders in the field of education.
The Steering Committee spent the next summer in further discussion of subcommittee reports and other material and the following year began to issue its findings in a series of separate reports. One of the first was a statement on the Composition of the student body. The Committee believed that the Academy's Admissions Office was placing too much emphasis on test scores in determining who could come to the School. There were many promising students with considerable talents in a variety of areas who did not test well, and as a result, in many cases, the School was failing to admit some potentially admirable citizens. As the report stated it:
Phillips Academy should value positive moral qualities as much as intellect. It should value social competence-that is, an interest in others and the ability to work with them---as much as creative imagination and originality of mind. It should recognize that academic brilliance and common sense, or good judgment, do not necessarily coincide. It should value generosity of spirit and social concern and should seek boys who seem to have the capacity for constructive influence and leadership. It should also value physical hardiness, skill, stamina, and courage.(7)
In addition to encouraging the admission to Phillips Academy of low-testers who had promise in other fields, the Committee urged that the School step up its program, already begun, of bringing to Andover boys of varying backgrounds. The report spoke of drawing students "from diverse social, economic, cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds in order to draw upon the diverse strengths of the nation's population and to maintain a school community which represents and contributes to the openness of our democratic society."(8) In this recommendation the Committee was trying to broaden and make more effective a basic principle of Phillips Academy that had existed since the School's founding. At the time the Committee met, various proposals had been made to convert Andover into a Junior college, teaching from the tenth through the fourteenth grade. There had also been talk of abolishing the Junior or ninth grade, so that more boys could have an Andover experience. The Committee refused to buy any of these suggestions. The members believed that it was better to strengthen the Junior program than to abolish it, and they recommended establishment of a Junior complex, centered on Williams Hall, with its own dining facilities and enough dormitories and houses to accommodate the whole Junior Class. If this were done, it would be possible to develop programs especially designed for younger boys and to make the transition from home to a big impersonal school more gradual and thus less traumatic. In like manner, the Committee recommended that a Senior complex be established in the new dormitories around Rabbit Pond, again with special rules and regulations appropriate to Seniors. In both the Junior and the Senior complexes it was hoped that the housemasters in charge would be able to assume a large part of the administrative work and handle all but the most serious disciplinary cases. The Committee hoped that similar complexes might be developed for the two middle classes, though this presented more difficulties because there was no natural grouping of dormitories to give such complexes physical unity.(9)
Finally, the Committee wanted Andover students to have more contact with girls. They applauded the steps that had been taken to have more social events, more extracurricular activities, and a few classes where girls participated with Academy students. But the School had not gone far enough. "The heart of our recommendation is that Phillips Academy encourage creative cooperation with one or more of our neighboring girls' schools to develop various kinds of co-educational enterprises ranging from social activities to joint instruction." This was coordinate education rather than coeducation proper, but it was moving purposefully in the direction of the latter.(10) Were all these recommendations on the composition of student body to be carried out, Phillips Academy would become a very different place from what it had been.
Mention has been made of the Committee's proposals for the housing of students---a Junior Complex with separate dining facilities, a Senior complex of the new dormitories around Rabbit Pond, and one or more Middler complexes. Such arrangements implied substantial decentralization of administrative responsibility for the students in their nonacademic activities and would relieve the present pressure on the Dean of Students, the Discipline Committee, and other central offices. The Committee also made new recommendations for the school work program. Until this time, work around the School---in offices, in the Commons, and on the grounds---had been done only by scholarship boys. The Committee believed that since the previous double standard for these boys had been abolished, as far as admission to the School was concerned, it was only logical to erase the distinction in this area as well. They therefore recommended that the work program be distributed among all members of the School. The Committee was disturbed as well by eating conditions in the Commons, where noise and confusion reigned and very little gracious living was possible. They realized that the only effective solution to the problem would involve substantial remodeling of the building, and they realized that such remodeling might not be possible in the immediate future. But they did suggest that the serving and disposal areas could be vastly improved without great cost.
Improved living arrangements could contribute greatly to student welfare, but there would always be boys who needed special help. The Committee recommended that the system of counseling boys be overhauled and made more effective. The key figure in such a system would be the housemaster, but his effectiveness was often limited by the number of other responsibilities he had and by his ignorance of modern counseling methods. The Committee recommended that housemasters with large counseling responsibilities be relieved of some of their other work and be encouraged to attend summer conferences on counseling so as to improve their expertise. In addition, the Committee believed that a strong professional counseling service should be established to backstop the housemasters.
The Committee took a conservative position on the Schools religious program, recommending that the existing provision for Wednesday and Sunday chapel be maintained. They believed that the students were still too young to make wise decisions in this area and if exposed to religious services might well profit from the experience. That section of the report, which is unlike most of the rest in that it does not propose innovative changes, may well have been included out of deference to Headmaster John Kemper, who had made it clear that he believed the religious program to be of vital importance to the welfare of the School.
As for discipline, the Committee sought to change the system of automatic penalties that had prevailed in the past. Such a system made no allowance for individual situations and often acted unfairly on individual boys. What the Committee wanted was a flexible system, whereby the housemaster, who knew the boy best, could deal with disciplinary cases on an individual basis. As an example of this change in procedure, it was recommended that Demerits be abolished, because they were too rigid and impersonal, and "Comments" be substituted for them. According to this procedure a member of the Faculty who believed a boy should be reported for some infraction of a rule would write a comment on the case, which would be referred to the boy's housemaster. In like manner they proposed that the old "Posting," whereby a boy was denied all outside activities for a period of two weeks, should be replaced by "Restriction," which could he tailored to meet the individual case. And finally, they suggested that a new publication on rules and regulations be prepared that "would stress general principles of behavior and the reasons behind them, rather than merely publishing a long list of offenses, all of which were negative. If all these recommendations for student life at Andover were to be adopted, it was believed that the School could do a much better job in dealing with the individual boy and his problems.(11)
Just as the Committee sought more flexibility and variety in dealing with students outside of class, so they believed that there must be similar flexibility and variety in the academic program. Unless the student were exposed to new courses and new methods of instruction, he was liable to go stale and believe that his education had no "relevance." In order to accomplish these aims, the Committee recommended that off-campus programs like Schoolboys Abroad be encouraged and independent study projects, whereby the student could work on his own in consultation with a Faculty member, be made more easily available for Upper Middlers and Seniors. They also recommended that there be an "Activities Week" at the end of the winter term, which would allow a student to pursue an activity of his choice---not necessarily an academic one---in a non-classroom situation. The Committee also recommended, as a kind of off-campus project in reverse, that professionals from various walks of life be invited to the campus to spend time with the students, giving lectures, conducting discussion groups, and meeting with individuals. Such a program could help provide the curricular variety that the Committee was searching for.
The Committee was disturbed at the amount of "grade-grubbing" that went on, a good part of it prompted by a desire to get into a good college. They admitted that the School would always be competitive, but, seeking ways of reducing at least the outward and visible signs of this competition, they recommended abolition of class ranking, which often worked unfairly, unless it was absolutely essential for a college recommendation. And they proposed the institution of a new marking system in which grades would run from a bottom grade of zero to a high of six. By dividing the marking scale into seven segments, it was hoped that there would be less emphasis on grades than in the 1-100 marking scale of old. They recommended that the old rigid effort-marking system be abolished and that written teacher comments be substituted.
The Committee made few specific recommendations about the curriculum itself. One of the most interesting was its proposal for a four-year sequence built around the question "What is Man?" According to this plan, a Junior course would concentrate on how man perceives things and how he expresses himself. It was believed that this focus would involve the student in English courses, supplemented by work in the visual arts, music, and drama. Thus this course would be interdisciplinary. The course for Lower Middlers would deal with man and his environment and would focus on the physical world. The Upper Middler course would concentrate on man as a social animal and utilize various courses in the Social Sciences to illustrate human social activity. Off-campus programs might well play an important part in this course, enabling the student to see how other people lived. Finally, a Senior course, drawing heavily on the humanities, would examine the inner man and explore some of the ways in which man has conceived of himself and his place in the order of things." Such a four-year sequence, by cutting across departmental lines, could contribute greatly to the flexibility and variety that the Committee sought. Almost every course at Phillips Academy consisted of a certain number of fifty-minute periods. Day in and day out these never changed. The Committee believed that the lengths of classroom periods should be adapted to the type of course taught. Some courses would profit from as many as ten short periods a week, others might benefit from two two-hour periods. To achieve this purpose the Committee recommended the establishment of a system of twenty-minute modules that would enable a scheduling officer to set up classes of varying lengths. Those who thought that the system was extremely complicated were assured that it all could be worked out by the computer. In similar fashion the Committee proposed a revision of the calendar that would provide for three terms of equal length rather than the current system in which the fall term was much longer than the other two. Though it was not stressed in the report, a system of equal terms would encourage the establishment of term-contained courses. Finally, the Committee had some recommendations about the Faculty. They could take as their point of departure a statement of Headmaster John Kemper:
At the heart of secondary education is the relationship of man and boy. Therefore, as we plot the future of the school, my chief concern is the quality of Andover's teachers. In his every contact with a boy a great teacher communicates what he is and stands for as a person; his love for things of the mind, his integrity, his moral values. From the example and encouragement of such a man, a boy sets his sights high and grows in self-reliance, self-control, and confidence. In the last analysis he will probably not learn in any other way.(12)
To find such a Faculty and to hold it at Andover, the Committee had several suggestions. They wanted more active recruiting of new members rather than appointment from among candidates who had already made applications. They wanted the Faculty to have more free time, in order to attend, for example, meetings of professional societies that might give them perspective on what they were doing. They wanted to equalize the Faculty workload at Andover, so that an undue burden would not fall on those who were teaching and housemastering and coaching. On the other side of the coin, they wanted an increased workload for those who were only teaching. In short, they were convinced that if Faculty morale was to be maintained, they must all be treated fairly. The concluding section of the report recommended establishment of an Office of Research and Evaluation, whose purpose would be to "plan and carry out studies of the educational functioning of the school, using appropriate sociological, psychological, and statistical techniques." To emphasize how important they believed this institution to be, they recommended that one percent of the School's income each year be devoted to the project. Then, having covered almost every phase of life at Phillips Academy, the Committee rested its case.(13) It remained to be seen what the Faculty would do with their reports.
As is almost invariably true of programs as broad and inclusive as that of the Steering Committee, its record in getting its recommendations implemented was win a few, lose a few. Phillips Academy was changing rapidly during the years after the reports were issued, and in some cases other solutions to the problems the Committee had dealt with replaced the Committee's recommendations. As far as the make-up of the student body was concerned, the Admissions Office continued to pursue a policy that followed the Committee line. The A.B.C. program, as previously indicated,(14) brought a much larger number of disadvantaged students, mainly black, to the Academy, and the diversity of the student body was increased. Low-testers, as distinct from the disadvantaged group, did not receive the same amount of attention, however, and experimentation with that group remains to be tried at the Academy. The Committee's recommendations for Junior and Senior complexes were never realized, mainly because an alternative system of housing developed in their stead. The Senior housing unit around Rabbit Pond was in effect for several years, and a start was made toward developing the Junior complex. Then a basic change was made with the introduction of the Cluster system. First developed on an experimental basis by K. Kelly Wise of the English Department, this system envisaged the grouping of dormitories so that there would be clusters of roughly two hundred students housed in them. A major aim of the Steering Committee was incorporated into this arrangement when administrative and disciplinary responsibilities were decentralized. Another feature of the cluster system that negated the plans for Senior and Junior complexes was the practice of vertical housing---each dormitory was to have representatives of three, if not four, of the school classes. Eventually there were six clusters, and the system became standard for the School. The Committee's recommendation that the Academy should have closer relations with girls' schools was, of course, more than realized when full coeducation by means of a merger with Abbot Academy was effected in 1973. A more detailed account of this development will follow. As for the School work program, the Faculty, as previously noted, voted to accept the Committee's recommendation, and ever since that time all members of the undergraduate body have shared in work to be done around the School. What the Committee had to say about the Commons remains true---the eating facilities leave much to be desired. The lobby of the building was redecorated and changes were made in the decor of the dining halls themselves, presumably to please the undergraduates, but the basic problem of the building remains unsolved to this day. The Committee's concern about counseling was generally implemented. A professional staff under the leadership of Dr. Karl Roehrig was created, and a substantial number of Faculty members attended special conferences on counseling methods. The Committee's concern about compulsory religious services was knocked out by the undergraduates in the early 1970's, with the acquiescence of the Religion Department, and to all intents and purposes the great majority of undergraduates today have little if any contact with formalized religion. The Committee's recommendations on discipline were appropriated and modified by those in charge of the various clusters. The cluster discipline committees included undergraduate representatives, gave the accused a much better day in court than had been the case under the old centralized Discipline Committee, and generally developed a more flexible disciplinary system. In this respect the recommendations of the Steering Committee were definitely carried out, for the old rigidity became a thing of the past. The Committee's recommendation for increased offcampus programs was generally accepted at first, and for a few years there was a great deal of interest in such alternatives to regular classroom work. More recently, interest in these programs has declined, some have been abandoned, and the future of all is problematical. Independent study projects have been thriving, however, and each year a substantial number of students pursue work of their own under the general supervision of a member of the Faculty. The Committee recommendation for an Activities Week was implemented by vote of the Faculty in a program called "February Week'' and lasted for several years. It was found that the program proved valuable for about 80 percent of the undergraduate body, who engaged in a wide variety of projects, both off campus and on. About 20 percent were not interested, and it proved extremely difficult to decide what to do with them. In addition, dealing with the entire student body, each of whom had to have a project approved, made the administration of the program extremely difficult. After a few years the program was quietly dropped, having been a valuable one for many students, something less than that for others.
The Committee's hope that rank in class could be de-emphasized has not been completely achieved. Although attempts have been made to play down this statistic, the insistence of colleges on the School's providing this information has made it a matter of common knowledge. Yet the competition that accompanied such ratings in the past has undoubtedly diminished. The Committee recommendation that a grading system from zero to six be adopted has been accepted by the Faculty and is now in effect. It has probably helped to lessen the emphasis on grades per se. These seven numbers cover a fairly broad band of achievements and do not correspond to other marking systems, like, for example, the letter method. Just what a "4" means in relation to other marking systems varies a good deal according to the individual member of the Faculty concerned; as a result, invidious comparisons of grades becomes more difficult. The ambitious proposal for a sequence of courses to be entitled "What is Man?" has never been fully implemented. A course for a selected group of Juniors entitled "Perception and Expression" and taught by Harold Owen of the English Department and Gordon Bensley of the Art Department has successfully combined the two disciplines so as to achieve much of what the Committee intended. Concentrating on how humans perceive things and how they express themselves, this course is still being offered today. The Lower Middler course on Man and his Environment has never been developed, presumably because those on the Faculty competent to offer such a course were too busy with other things. For the Upper Middler course on Man and his Social Relationships, two very interesting courses were developed, taught by Thomas Lyons and Wayne Frederick. As originally conceived, the course would undertake a study of American urban society and Mexican agrarian society, with a view to comparing the two. The class would study both societies in the fall term, then one group would spend the winter term in Boston's South End studying conditions there at first hand, while the rest of the class would spend the winter term in a Mexican agrarian village. The two groups would return to Andover in the spring to compare notes. It was soon found that the program was too ambitious; as a result, two distinct courses were offered, one dealing entirely with Mexican agrarian society and one with American urban society.
At the beginning there was great interest in these courses, a substantial number of applicants, and a rich learning experience for those enrolled. As time went on, interest in off-campus programs declined and the administrative problems connected with offering the courses increased. Today they have been abandoned, at least temporarily. But the basic concept was challenging, and it may well be that others will attempt to revive them in the years to come. Finally, the Senior course, like the Lower Middle one, has never been developed. The idea of the sequence was highly imaginative; it is unfortunate that staffing and other practical problems prevented it from becoming a reality.
When it came to scheduling recommendations, only part of what the Committee proposed has become actuality. The plan for modular scheduling during the school day was never seriously considered by the Faculty, despite assurances that a computer could make it work. The proposal for three equal terms was also turned down by the Faculty when it was first presented. Many believed that a long fall term was important in getting students off to a good start. A later reconsideration was approved, however, with extremely important results for the School. Three terms of equal length made it much easier to offer term-contained courses. Furthermore, such courses could be offered in the first, second, or third terms, since all were of equal length. The proliferation of term-contained courses, an outstanding characteristic of Andover's recent curriculum, would not have been possible without this change. As far as the Faculty is concerned, few of the Committee's recommendations have been fully implemented. The recruiting of teachers has become something of an academic question, for the merger with Abbot Academy caused temporary overstaffing. In addition, budgetary considerations in recent years have dictated against many new appointments. Attempts have been made to develop elaborate point systems to measure Faculty loads, but again it has proved difficult to apply precise measurements to many of the things that a teacher does. Finally, the School accepted the Committee's recommendation for an Office of Research and Evaluation. Under Frederick Peterson this office conducted studies on such subjects as blacks at Andover, undergraduate use of drugs, and undergraduate attitudes toward various aspects of School life. Valuable though these investigations were, the Office has recently been abandoned, for budgetary reasons. (The subject of coordinate education and coeducation will be discussed later in this chapter.) Thus the Committee had some of its recommendations accepted---although some were accepted only to be discontinued a few years later---and some turned down. Yet the influence of the Committee's work on the School cannot be measured by a box score. Its main contribution was to open a lot of windows and let fresh air into the Andover community, to challenge old practices, to encourage experiment in all phases of School life.
Something has gone sour in teaching and learning. It's almost as though there were a widespread feeling that education had become irrelevant. - . . I think I know what is bothering the students. I think what we are up against is a generation that is by no means sure that it has a future.(15)
This statement by Professor George Wald of Harvard, though referring to college-age students, can apply equally to the malaise that affected secondary school students in the 1960's. As a leading headmaster put it, "Every schoolmaster knows that the patterns set by college students, whether in dress, behavior, or thought, tend to repeat themselves in due course, at the secondary level."(16) Except for use of physical violence, the college protest movements of the period were reflected in secondary schools in general and at Phillips Academy in particular. When the smoke had cleared and stability had been restored, many things had changed. The undergraduate protest movements of the 1960's were therefore the second important force to produce profound changes at Andover, to make the School of the 1970's a very different place from what it had been in the early 1960's.
Anyone who attempts to explain the unrest among independent school students in the late 1960's is fortunate in having at his disposal an admirable study of the subject, prepared for the National Association of Independent Schools by Alan R. Blackmer, who produced the work just after he had retired as Dean of the Faculty at Andover. In examining this subject, Dean Blackmer first reviewed the explanations that various writers had given for the unrest of college students during the period. After acknowledging that "the idealogy of rebellion is a confused one, a crazyquilt of many strands," he goes on to define the student activist as one unlikely to come from a small town or rural area, a member of the upper class, enrolled in a large university or college rather than a small one, in an institution with high academic standards rather than mediocre ones, where freedom of expression had always been encouraged.(17) This by no means suggests that all the students in the group were activists. Lewis Feuer believed that the protesting students were acting out hostility toward their parents, that student uprisings were "symbolic parricides" designed to attack the authority of their fathers and to overthrow their institutions. Jacques Barzun believed that the straight-jacket pressures of the modern, competitive educational system were to blame: "in order to achieve any goal, however modest, one must qualify. Qualifying means having been trained, passed a course, obtained a certificate. . . The young in college were born into this system, which in this country is not much older than they, and they feel, quite rightly, intense claustrophobia. They have been in this groove since sandbox." Another explanation for student unrest is resentment of the Establishment and its emphasis on material success in the world. "The generation gap is now a moral chasm," says one writer, "across which the young stare at their elders with distrust, convinced that the values which make for success are fake." Or, as a Harvard undergraduate put it, "We live with the horrible feeling of being a pawn caught in some one else's chess game." Archibald MacLeish suggested that the source of the contemporary feeling of frustration was that "we, as Americans . . . have somehow lost control of the management of our affairs, of the direction of our lives, of what our ancestors would have called our destiny." For all its faults, he added, the young generation does possess one virtue "to a degree not equaled by any generation in this century. It believes in man. Its resentment is on behalf of human life." And Barzun again: "What, then, is being fought against on our campuses? The answer, apart from the explicit opposition to the war in Vietnam, is: The whole of modern life."(18)
Blackmer tended to play down the Vietnam War as a cause of unrest. His report appeared early in 1970, before the Vietnam issue had attained the white heat that it would later. He wrote, "To many, there seems little ground for the belief that student unrest would end with the termination of the Vietnam war. Vastly deeper than protest against the war and the draft, the revolt of disenchanted youth appears to be directed against the quality of contemporary life."(19) Time was to prove him wrong, but when he wrote, there is no question that the student protest movement covered a broad spectrum of dissatisfactions and, as the various viewpoints above indicate, was a highly complex phenomenon.
When it came to independent secondary schools, a survey conducted by Dean Blackmer revealed the following student grievances, listed in the order of what the students conceived as important:
1 Lack of student influence in shaping school rules and policy. 2. Poor communication between students and faculty and administration---students not ''listened to.'' 3. School life too tightly scheduled and regimented; too little time for oneself. 4. Overly strict regulations of dress codes and hair styles. 5. Too much pressure for grades. 6. Boredom. 7. Lack of relevance of education to the "real world." 8. Too much emphasis by the school on getting into college rather than on what is learned. 9. Compulsory attendance at religious services.
Dean Blackmer points out that the relative importance of some of these grievances needs to be qualified. About a fifth of the responding schools, for example, had no compulsory religious services, and in these schools that could not be a grievance. Likewise, some of the respondents were not taking college preparatory programs and could not resent too great an emphasis on getting into college. Even so, there is no question that the listed grievances reflect widespread dissatisfaction among many independent schools. But it was not merely the listing of grievances that was significant---many of them had been voiced in more peaceful times---the novelty lay in the intensity with which reform was urged. As Blackmer put it, "In the opinion of experienced schoolmasters, the new tensions between students and faculty are a far cry from the old, relaxed, good-humored cops and robbers relationship, when the cops did not try too hard to find the robbers at their nefarious activities and the robbers accepted 'capture' without bitterness or loss of confidence in authority or in the system." As one housemaster put it:
This has been a year of really serious questioning of the school's authority, of its standards, rules, and traditions; students are demanding justification in all areas of school life, and resisting the old take-it-for-granted, if-you-say-so-it-must-be-true-Sir line of nonreasoning. For the first time they are aware of their own power; for the first time, it occurs to them simply to say ''No."
Central to all the student grievances was the problem of communication. It was not, for example, the decisions the Faculty made for the School that were necessarily resented; it was that the students had had no share in making these decisions, particularly the ones that would have a profound effect on the students' lives. A basic cause of poor communication was a difference in attitudes toward the institution; a student who was to be a member of the School community for only a few years was obviously less interested in the long-range effect of a decision than on its immediate effect on his life; a Faculty member, often with a lifetime's emotional commitment to the institution, was likely to be deeply concerned with the future. As if this were not enough, the increased use of drugs in independent schools made communication even more difficult. One student-faculty committee wrote: "Drugs splinter the school, separating students from faculty and students from one another. The drug problem's strongest dimension may be its divisiveness."
Still another problem plaguing those charged with dealing with student protest was the cleavage among the larger School community regarding how best to proceed. To the statement "The best way to cope with the growing trend of student militancy is to apply firm discipline," sent out to headmasters, faculty, parents, and trustees, three fourths of the parents and trustees expressed themselves as in agreement, while in almost every case well under half of the headmasters and faculty expressed similar agreement. Such a difference of opinion could not help weakening the hands of those in charge. Many of the schools had had traditions of developing human excellence; it was now felt by many of the students that academic excellence had been given such an important place in the life of the institution that it had crowded out all the other values. Some student comments bear this out:
The school quite simply fails to develop a boy emotionally so that he can handle situations outside the realm of academics in a responsible and mature way . . . . The emphasis on intellectual achievement and the encouragement of a spirit of intense competition are grossly exaggerated, and are in many ways detrimental.
The schools are threatened by a failure of purpose, a failure to relate academic learning to a full and useful life. . . . They are threatened by the apparent inability of so many students and faculty members to laugh or to love---and hence to know each other as human beings.
The school has become so involved in maintaining academic success that it is not meeting the most important needs of its students---personal and social experiences which alone can give substance and life to the intellectual and other activities of the school.
And finally a member of a girls' school quotes from the children's book Madelaine to make her point:
In an old house in Paris all covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
They brushed their teeth and went to bed.
The student desire for more warm, human relationships was particularly strong in the independent boarding schools. No matter how unsatisfactory his environment might be, a day school student was assured of going home in the late afternoon. But the totality of the boarding school environment made alternative methods of finding human relationships more difficult and thus tended to increase the pressure for reform exponentially.
In this discussion of student unrest among independent schools, the scope of the movement should not, however, be exaggerated, for in some schools students accepted the old ways without protest. In schools where unrest was substantial and many students refused to go along, even some of the most critical leaders of the movement agreed that there was much good about the schools they were attacking. Alan Blackmer draws a nice balance:
A few students suspect that the education to which they are subjected is outmoded to the point of loss of validity and authenticity. Most disagree with a rejection so total. But many of the ablest, there can be no question, urgently seek a vastly expanded educational environment and one which is not only larger, freer, and less sheltered but more varied, warm, and human than the one they now know.(20)
Almost all the grievances and discomforts that were found in independent schools as a group were reflected in Phillips Academy as well. And the size of the School tended to make student protest activity more powerful. In a small school the chances of finding enough dynamic leaders to galvanize the whole institution into action were greatly reduced; at Phillips Academy throughout the 1960's and early 1970's there always seemed to be plenty of leaders ready to carry one or another banner.
In discussing student actions of this period it is difficult to distinguish between sincere protest and traditional horseplay. Undoubtedly many students were acting on principle when they demanded a greater share in running the School, when they fought against dress codes and compulsory chapel, when they protested such outside developments as the war in Vietnam and the violence at Kent State. On the other hand, some of the most malicious activity of the period seemed to be mindless attempts to destroy School property. And some actions were participated in by both groups. For example, some of those who demanded the abolition of classes after Cambodia cared little for the issue involved but thought a free day would be great. And when free days were granted, it was noticed that many students utilized them to stay in bed all morning. It is nevertheless true that a substantial number of Andover undergraduates were deeply concerned with the issues of the day and sincerely wanted to take a position on them. Although student protest activities at Phillips Academy were chronologically intertwined, a clear presentation can best be achieved if they are treated topically.
As noted, one of the major grievances of students was their lack of participation in the decision-making process. This was certainly true at the Academy as the 1960's developed. At the start of the decade, however, there was little interest in the problem. A 1960 Phillipian poll for example, found a majority of the students opposed to undergraduate representation on the Discipline Committee.(21) Although there was some opposition to the cut system and compulsory chapel during these early years, nobody appears to have done much about the issues. After 1965 the pace was increased. A dramatic confrontation took place on 3 May 1967, when some two hundred and fifty students staged a sit-in-on the steps of Samuel Phillips Hall after supper to protest the action of the Discipline Committee in dismissing a student. Dean G. G. Benedict agreed to talk to the student body at the following Saturday morning assembly and explain the reasons for the Committee's actions.(22) During the next twelve months undergraduate dissatisfaction with the existing student government and its failure to accomplish anything steadily mounted. The Student Council, the main agency for student opinion since the advent of the Kemper administration, was a generally conservative group made up of Big Men on Campus of the old mold. The Council met regularly with the Headmaster and served as a sounding board of student opinion; they also could make recommendations to the Faculty on matters they believed to be in the best interest of the School. By 1968 the Council no longer represented the views of an increasing number of students who wanted a larger share in decision-making at Phillips Academy. To be sure, students had made a number of recommendations to the Faculty, but the latter had turned them all down. Particularly galling to the undergraduates was the Faculty rejection of a petition to allow three student representatives to attend Faculty meetings on a nonvoting basis.(23)
By June of 1968 undergraduate frustration and dissatisfaction had reached a point where some change in the existing system was essential if the morale of the School was to be maintained. The Administration, sensitive to undergraduate feelings, took steps during the summer to establish a new form of student government to replace the old Council. In the two days before School opened in September 1968, a conference was held to which all the Faculty and all the returning old boys were invited. About half the Faculty and about one quarter of the old boys attended. The first aim was to establish better communications between the two groups, and therefore a series of seminars made up of both students and Faculty were held, to give everyone his day in court. The conference was under the direction of William Torbert, PA. 1961, then a graduate student in psychology at Yale. Torbert's approach was relaxed and low key, and he was successful in defusing both student hostility and Faculty skepticism. The result was a frank and open discussion in which both students and Faculty expressed themselves freely, and when the conference ended with a picnic at the home of Dean of Students John Richards, there was general agreement that communication between students and faculty had been tremendously improved. Torbert reported on the student enjoyment of the conference and ''their interest in influencing the faculty rather than sharing decision-making power with them."(24)
The purpose of the conference had not been to do anything substantive about student government itself, but out of later meetings what was called the Student-Faculty Cooperative (the Coop) came into being. This organization, open to all students and Faculty, was governed by an Executive Committee consisting of three students who had been elected by the undergraduates and three Faculty members who had been elected by their colleagues. The three student members also served as the officers of the Coop, while the role of the Faculty members was purely advisory. Subcommittees were appointed to deal with specific issues, and an attempt was made to involve in one way or another all the students who showed deep interest in school problems. As far as decision-making was concerned, the students failed to get what they were after, for the Faculty reserved to itself the final decision on issues that came before the Coop; but the three Faculty members of the Executive Board tried hard to represent the student point of view to the Faculty, and soon the practice developed of inviting student members of the Coop to attend selected Faculty meetings. During the first year of its existence the Coop focused on two issues---required chapel and coordinate education with Abbot Academy. From the student point of view, some progress was made in both areas. Wednesday morning chapel was made voluntary, and a special "Coeducation Week" was held with Abbot, during which the students of each institution were free to attend classes at the other. The following year the Coop took up many new issues, such as vertical housing, student membership on the Discipline Committee, and the Intensive Studies Program, but in most cases the Faculty ruled on these issues before the Coop had had a chance to discuss them. The following year, interest sagged to such an extent that a "Save the Coop" Committee was appointed. Two of the officers wrote, "Because of a lack of proper leadership, the Coop has run into great difficulty within the past year. This has created and compounded a great many of its problems, --among them: poorly run meetings, apathetic committees, and a lack of compliance with its constitution on the part of the Coop Executive Board."(25) The fact of the matter is that the Coop could not be effective unless a strong group of students was willing to put a lot of work into it, and although this was true at the start, it proved very difficult to maintain. The Coop got a temporary respite in the spring of 1971 when David Lipsey, a student activist leader, became President, but the recovery was short-lived. It is hard to predict what the future would have been had the cluster system not been established and student government not decentralized. Under the cluster system students play major roles in governing the cluster, serving on cluster discipline committees, managing cluster social events, and generally participating actively in cluster affairs. Thus, even though the Coop died, the major aims of the movement---improved communication between students and Faculty and a larger role for students in the running of the School---were achieved in another form.
Another highly emotional issue that exercised the School community in the late 1960's was student appearance---particularly length of hair and coats and ties. Whoever started the craze for long hair among college and school students in the 1960's could not have picked a more frustrating practice for administrations to deal with. How a student wore his hair was considered a matter of personal choice, a basic individual right. And from an administrator's point of view it was difficult to deal with the problem. No one wanted to hold the students down and shave their heads, nor in cases of defiance of School rulings in this area did they want to dismiss students. The issue polarized the Phillips Academy Faculty. To some the long, messy, unkempt hair of many students was an insult to decency; others thought that long hair did not seriously interfere with school life and were willing to let students do as they wished. The football coaches made their players who had long hair cut it, but the reason given was that otherwise their helmets would not fit. Finally, after a heated Faculty discussion on the subject, Headmaster John Kemper announced that he was going to become a "czar" of hair at Andover. The duty was unpleasant. It would have been hard to find a practice that ran more counter to his army training. Yet, as usual, he was determined to be fair to all sides. Under the czar plan, members of the Faculty who thought a boy's hair was completely beyond the pale could send him to the Headmaster, who would then decide whether to force him to cut it. This was done in a few cases and may have mollified some of the anti-hair Faculty, but it could work both ways. One boy had a beautiful page-boy haircut, with his hair coming down to the nape of his neck. He must have spent a long time grooming it, for aside from the length, his appearance was impeccable. After he was ordered to get it cut to earlobe length, he emerged looking much worse than before. As time went on, the czar program was in abeyance, and the community came to accept weird hair-dos, some albeit grudgingly.
In the great hair battle the boys therefore won hands down. They won on the issue of coats and ties as well. From time immemorial, Phillips Academy students had been required to wear coats and ties to class. In the 1960's this, too, became an emotional issue. As with hair, the student claim was that an individual's attire was a personal matter and he should be allowed to wear what he wanted. Abortive attempts were made to get the whole student body to agree to go to class without coats and ties in order to force the issue, but only a few of the most dedicated ever actually did this. One teacher remembers three or four boys coming to class one morning without coats and ties. He told them they would have to leave. When one asked what a coat and tie had to do with his education, the teacher replied, "Nothing. But it has a lot to do with my contract with Phillips Academy." This apparently presented the problem to the boys in a different light. At any rate, they left the classroom and returned later more or less clad in coats and ties. And the teacher did not mark them late. As time went on, more and more of the Faculty became convinced that coats and ties were not all that important, and eventually the matter came up for a vote in Faculty meeting. There was some concern lest the Teaching Fellows, who were unanimously opposed to the requirement, might cast the deciding votes and then the following year not be around to face the results of their decision. Indeed it was suggested, that the Teaching Fellow vote should not be counted, so that the decision could be made by the regular Faculty. But no one need have worried. When the vote was taken, a substantial majority favored elimination of the coat-and-tie requirement, and that was that. The change was put into effect gradually; for the first year informal attire was allowed after May first. The following year, the requirement was done away with altogether. Those who feared that sloppiness in dress would be reflected in sloppiness of academic performance were generally proved wrong. Some of the finest work was done by the most disreputable-looking students in the School.
A long-standing grievance of the undergraduates was compulsory chapel, and in this area the students of the late 1960's succeeded in revolutionizing the whole religious program of the School. As long as the Andover Theological Seminary stayed in Andover, it dominated the religious life of the School; students were required to attend daily chapel and two long church services on Sundays. With the departure of the Seminary for Cambridge, Al Stearns took over and for a while was School Minister as well as Headmaster. Midway in his term the Reverend Markham W. Stackpole was appointed School Minister, but though he contributed a great deal to the Andover community, he did not remain on the Hill long enough to establish any new programs. First he entered the army during World War I as a chaplain, and soon after the war was over, he resigned to join the Faculty of Milton Academy. It was not until the very end of Al Stearns's career that A. Graham Baldwin was appointed to the Department of Religion and, when Jack Fuess became Headmaster, was made School Minister. Gray Baldwin proved to be an admirable choice for a very difficult job. He was an outspoken liberal; one of his proudest boasts was that he had been listed in an anti-communist publication called The Red Network. He believed in the gospel of service and was not troubled by theological niceties. Since Jack Fuess before becoming Headmaster had usually played golf on Sundays, he needed a lot of help in this area, and Gray became his strong arm. As Jack wrote about him,
I asked my younger friend, the Reverend A. Graham Baldwin ... to fill the position of school minister. His acceptance was a guarantee that I need have no more worries about a field in which I was certainly without experience. I believed then---and still believe---that the school physician and the school minister occupy unique positions and must be selected with the greatest care. No man could have been more cooperative than Gray Baldwin---or better suited to his job.(26)
One great difficulty in establishing religious services for a nonsectarian School was the necessity for compromising on the form of service. The strength of an established and traditional ritual in church schools could make their services much more meaningful to the students. Gray Baldwin dealt with this problem very effectively. He started with the framework of the Congregational service but included material from other denominations as well---from the Book of Common Prayer, for example. And he tried very hard to get speakers who would interest the boys---men who would often speak on important social issues of the day. There were complaints, of course: Unitarians complained about the presence of the cross in the Cochran Chapel; a student from the back country of North Carolina said wistfully that nobody did any ''preaching'' at Andover. Certainly a sizable number of students were apathetic about the whole program, but until the 1960's that was as far as it went.
The religious program of the School received strong support from Bishop Henry W. Hobson, President of the Board of Trustees, and from Headmaster John Kemper, both of whom believed strongly that it was an integral part of a boy's education. In 1966 Gray Baldwin retired and was succeeded by James Rae Whyte, who had been school minister at Northfield and Mount Herman and who had had a church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Jim Whyte was a man of rare sensitivity and open-mindedness. He was determined to make the School's religious program meaningful to the students and willing to go a long way to accomplish this purpose. He believed strongly that religion need not be lugubrious and delighted in introducing humor into all he did. He began publishing a witty pastoral letter called The Epistle that was enjoyed by the whole community.
All this was done with such gentleness that no one could take offense. The idea of forcing religion on boys was abhorrent to him, and thus he was vulnerable to student demands for change. With the construction of the Sylvia Kemper Memorial Chapel in the basement of Cochran, it became possible to hold special services for Catholic and Jewish students as alternatives to School chapel. As the 1960's wore on, the question of compulsory attendance at chapel became more hotly debated. Here was another issue that involved the right of the individual to run his own life in an area that the students considered very personal. They refused to accept the Steering Committees dictum that students were not yet old enough to decide for themselves such an important matter as religious training. They started a campaign of trying to make life miserable for those who conducted the chapel services. By refusing to participate in singing and responsive readings and by openly displaying contempt for the very fact of chapel, they gradually demoralized the Department of Religion and made its appointed task almost unbearable. In 1969 the Faculty tried to meet this difficult situation with a compromise. Daily chapel had earlier been limited to Wednesday mornings; now this one service was eliminated and replaced by "School gatherings" on topics of concern. At the same time, more options were offered for religious attendance on Sundays. As always, students could attend town churches instead of the School service. There were in addition special services for Catholic and Jewish students. A new alternative was provided---a meditation service, after the manner of a Quaker Meeting, where students were to sit quietly in a special room instead of going to chapel. These stop-gap measures proved insufficient for the undergraduates. The pressure to make all religious services voluntary continued, and finally Jim Whyte came to the conclusion that compulsory attendance at religious services was a lost battle at Andover. John Kemper had always insisted that compulsory chapel would never be abolished while he was Headmaster, but he could not very well carry on the program if his Department of Religion believed that the task was impossible to perform effectively. Jim Whyte makes his position clear in the following statements:
I know the arguments for compulsory chapel and have used them in a defensive holding action against adult and youthful opponents. As a minister I have always felt somewhat guilty about my own position because J defended compulsory worship on practical and educational grounds while my antagonists spoke from a devotional, idealistic and spiritual position. I envied them their stand because where worship is concerned they were right ....... perhaps the most sacred area of worship in the Christian tradition is the Service of Holy Communion. The service in the Protestant tradition could never be a compulsory service. The question? If one cannot justify compulsion at the most sacred level, then how can one with a clear conscience justify compulsion at any level of worship?(27)
From the liturgical point of view, from a worship perspective, required chapel is an insult to the participant and to Him whom one is to celebrate. It is the kind of praise I don't think God needs.(28)
The Faculty accepted the Reverend Whyte's arguments, and an old, old tradition was no more. The results were what most people had expected. Attendance at the Sunday services in the Cochran Chapel dropped off to twenty-five or thirty Protestants, while attendance at the Catholic and Jewish services ran about seventy-five each. These last two groups became the leading religious forces in the life of the School. Recently, an experiment with a plural ministry has been tried: A Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, and a Protestant clergyman have all been made members of the Faculty with part-time teaching assignments. This works well for the Catholic and Jewish students, but the problem of dealing with the hundreds of Protestants remains. Religious enthusiasm and dissatisfaction come in waves, and it could well be that in the years to come, most of the undergraduates will return to the kind of religious devotion in which Samuel Phillips, Jr., put great store.
Student protest activity in the late 1960's was devoted in part to effecting changes at Phillips Academy, but it also concerned itself with leading national problems as well. As was true of many other schools and colleges, Phillips Academy students engaged in protest marches, demanded moratoria on classes, struck occasionally to obtain their ends, and generally behaved much the same as college students, with one difference: there was no physical violence. No offices were occupied. Despite that, the students on many occasions managed to make the lives of those in charge miserable. No attempt will he made here to cover all aspects of student opposition to such things as the Viet Nam War; rather a few examples may indicate the quality of the disturbances. One of the early episodes occurred on Memorial Day, 1969. An alumnus participant remembers:
Traditionally, the town of Andover had joined with Phillips Academy to celebrate through speeches and parades in honor of those who lost their lives in service to their country. However, during the spring of 1969 the opposition to the war in Viet Nam had reached the most vocal point to date; many of the students also felt committed to somehow sharing our concerns about what we perceived to be a costly and immoral war.
As an expression of our opposition to the War, we decided to wear white armbands engraved with the insignia of the peace symbol. As we viewed our actions, we stood as active participants in a national rite to honor America's war dead, yet unlike the American Legion and other patriotic organizations involved in the parade, we wished to register our opposition to the present war in which American lives were being lost.
Prior to the ceremonies a few faculty members attempted to dissuade us from wearing the armbands. Somehow, the image of an Andover boy registering an independent and potentially unpopular political viewpoint was not one easily embraced by those who experienced the burning of a neck-tie in front of the Commons as a radical, extremist act.
During the parade we silently watched the passing entourage of veterans dressed in army uniforms, of high school bands and of local politicians. Some people noted our white armbands, whispered to their husbands or made disparaging remarks about the political leanings of American youth. Yet the parade passed without any notable incidents. After the ceremonies were over, a few of us wandered to the local coffee shop on Main Street. When we entered, we sat down at the counter and ordered some ice cream and doughnuts. The waitress looked at us, noticed our armbands and quickly rushed behind the grill, where she exchanged some hurried words with the manager. We waited for about ten minutes for our food, but instead of doughnuts, we were greeted by the manager. 'Do you kids come from the Academy?" he queried. When we replied affirmatively, he said, "You'd better leave, we don't serve Communists in here." Immediately our youthful moral feelings were aroused by such a demand. Armed with visions of Selma and Birmingham, we stated the principles of the Bill of Rights, as enunciated in our American History class. It was illegal, we argued, to be denied service in a public place because we were wearing armbands. The manager called the police. They arrived and ordered us to leave. As intelligent Andover men, we knew better than to confront the uniformed authorities; yet our sense of justice had been wounded in the most direct way most of us had ever experienced.
The protesters decided on two courses of action to support their position; one was to organize a boycott of the Coffee Mill, the other was to get publicity for their cause. They made contact with both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, and the next morning full articles appeared in both papers. The story was taken up by other media and soon obtained widespread coverage indeed. The Herald editorialized:
It appears that peace has become a fighting word in Andover .....On second thought, perhaps Mr. Nixon should visit Andover. He not only wants peace in the world. He also wants domestic tranquility. Andover might offer him a challenge.
No formal disciplinary action was taken by the School in this matter. The students had broken no school rules, and besides, if there was one thing that Headmaster John Kemper believed in, it was the right of the individual to voice his own opinions. But it was clear that the Faculty strongly disapproved of the whole business. "Many prominent members of the Andover faculty were not pleased .... We were told not to talk to reporters any more, as we had brought the Academy into disrepute. Not one faculty member ever voiced a word of praise or support for our actions.'' And the Director of College Placement informed the leader of the protest that he had been obliged to report the matter to the college to which the boy had already been admitted and that his admission might be revoked. As it turned out, it was not. A year or so later, student protests of this kind would receive some Faculty support, but in 1969 such action was considered unacceptable.
A much more traumatic experience for the Andover community came at the time of the Cambodian crisis. Student and Faculty outrage at this governmental policy was supplemented by similar outrage at the Kent State killings a few days later and to a lesser extent by the treatment of the Black Panthers in New Haven. The morning after the announcement of the invasion of Cambodia, many of the students wore black armbands and prevailed upon some members of the Faculty to do so.(29) Tension mounted over the weekend, and on the morning of Tuesday, 5 May, at about 7:30 AM, a group of students gathered outside the library and began discussing Cambodia and Kent State. One observer said it was as though individual members of the group were reaching out toward one another in search of a hand to grasp for comfort. In the middle of that afternoon a group of students from Merrimack College, who had struck their classes, arrived on campus, only to find most Phillips Academy undergraduates engaged in sports. They returned later, their forces augmented by some Andover alumni from Harvard, and circulated through the dining halls drumming up support.
The next day, Wednesday, was a half holiday. In the afternoon a group of Phillips students marched to Merrimack College, where they were joined by students from Abbot and the Andover High School. There they conducted a rally. Headmaster John Kemper drove over and watched the proceedings for about an hour. That evening representatives from the administrations of Exeter, Groton, and St. Paul's came to Andover to discuss the situation and the policies that should be developed to deal with it. Headmaster Richard Day of Exeter had already sent a strong letter of protest to President Nixon. Thursday saw some two or three hundred Andover students on the steps of Samuel Phillips Hall with placards labeled "strike." The Headmaster and Dean of Students John Richards talked with them and urged discretion; somewhere between fifty and one hundred cut the rest of their classes that morning. At mid-morning assembly the Headmaster announced that there would be a twenty-four-hour moratorium on all School appointments. Since the long spring weekend followed immediately after the end of this period, the undergraduates would have four days to cool down. But the School had no intention of making the moratorium simply a free day. At very short notice a long list of faculty-sponsored discussion groups and seminars was prepared, while other members of the Faculty simply listed themselves as available for consultation in their classrooms or their homes.(30) Headmaster John Kemper canceled an engagement that he had in Washington that evening so that he could be in his office from seven to ten to talk to students. A special Communications Center was established in the Underwood Room to provide students with information on what was going on at Phillips Academy and in the world outside. During this period 92 percent of the students answered a poll of student and Faculty opinion; 27 percent of the Faculty responded. Solid majorities in both groups expressed themselves as wishing to protest the American involvement in Indo-China and the Kent State killings; 56 percent of the students and 46 percent of the Faculty felt similarly about the Black Panthers. A strong majority of each group favored petitioning local, state, and federal officials to correct these abuses, and a somewhat smaller majority supported meetings, demonstrations, and the distribution of pertinent information. Forty-six percent and---interestingly enough---20 percent of the Faculty favored strikes of required appointments as a form of protest.(31) It soon became clear that although many students might have cooled off over the long weekend, a substantial number were as hot as ever.
On the following Monday the Faculty approved a two-point program to deal with the latter group---and a wise and understanding program it was. Students were permitted to withdraw from campus for an indeterminate period if they had their parents' permission, if they wrote for Dean Richards an explanation of why they wished to withdraw, and if they agreed not to return to campus until they were ready to rejoin the School. If a student returned before the end of the academic year, he could take the final exams in his courses and thereby receive credit for them. Otherwise, he could take a make-up in September. A second option allowed students to remain on campus and, with special permission from an ad hoc committee, to be absent in order to participate in protest activities. A handful of students opted for the first plan, and a few more for the second. Most of the first group were away for a week or ten days, many having gone to Washington, and generally the response to these two proposals indicated that the long weekend had defused more students than the administration had at first thought.(32) The Cambodian crisis showed that a large number of the Faculty agreed with the students' opinion of the war. A Faculty petition, signed by almost the entire membership, was sent to President Nixon urging him to confer with the Congress on the proper policy for the Viet Nam War. It was a difficult period for John Kemper, many of whose West Point classmates were in leadership positions during the war. He could not bring himself to sign the Faculty petition, but he encouraged its circulation, and his understanding of the feelings of the boys marked him as a rare leader of youth. And so Phillips Academy weathered another storm. Unfortunately, there was worse to come.
The period of 1971 and early 1972 was the most difficult in the history of the Academy. An alumnus who was a student during that period speaks of this time as the nadir of the School. Students were frustrated, the morale of the community was low, and the undergraduates engaged in a number of ''pranks'' that were really not pranks at all but rather conscious attempts to disrupt the workings of the School. Another alumnus who was present during this period writes:
The first thing that could be said about the Class of 1972 is that we were alienated. Nobody seemed to like the administration, the rules, the faculty, each other, or the school itself .... In general, my class was rebellious and distrustful of authority, and were mad---mad at the school, mad at our parents, mad at Nixon, mad at the country.
Perhaps the tone of the period was set in February 1971, when a bomb was discovered near the Bell Tower. That the bomb was not properly armed and that there was no evidence that a Phillips Academy student was involved did little to dispel the chilling effect of the episode. Participation in protest movements continued. In April a group of Andover and Abbot students traveled by bus to Washington to take part in an antiwar march, a trip that had the blessings of both faculties. When, however, in May seven students took illegal day excuses to attend an antiwar demonstration in Boston, they were put on probation, much to the anger of the undergraduate body. The Phillipian wrote a scathing editorial attacking both the decision and the School's announced reason for it. According to the School, if these boys were to go to Boston, Phillips Academy would lose its position of neutrality in these difficult times. Quite apart from the fact that many other groups had been allowed to attend such demonstrations, the Phillipian believed the policy to be unneutral in itself:
The school, in punishing students for speaking out against the war, suppressed the expression of anti-war sentiments and thus acted in defense of present U.S. policy in Indo-China .. . . The decision is the result of faculty priorities. In order to follow written rules, the school denied students the right of free speech. Sometimes people at PA seem to care more for legality than they do for morality. The students were punished for following morals instead of rules.
The paper went on, after the example of many college papers, to list school investments in various war-making industries, and suggested that these holdings of themselves put the Academy in an unneutral position.(33) That same spring life at Andover was further disrupted by the election of David Lipsey of the Senior Class as President of the Coop. Lipsey had many gifts of leadership. He was highly intelligent, extremely articulate, and capable of exerting a profound influence on those who listened to him. His tactics were often those of a demagogue, but this disturbed the students not a whit. During this whole period at Andover, Lipsey was the only student who approached the kind of radical leadership that was making the lives of college administrators miserable. He believed that the School's progress toward coeducation, the abolition of the cut system, and the abolition of compulsory chapel had been inexcusably slow, and he sought to light a fire under Administration and Faculty to speed things up. Lipsey and the Coop won on the chapel issue in May of that year, but there seemed to be a lot of foot-dragging on the other two. As a fitting climax to the spring of 1971, about 160 members of the Senior Class, just before graduation, signed a statement that was interpreted to mean a lack of confidence in the Faculty and Administration. The Phillipian wrote as follows:
Members of Phillips Academy's senior class signed a petition last week to express their "lack of confidence in the administration and faculty of Phillips Academy." Almost two-thirds of the class, 160 out of 246 members, supported the statement.
Senior David Lipsey, one of the originators of the petition, stated that people entering PA have a lot of expectations which they never realized. Lipsey added that he wanted to give seniors an opportunity to express their disappointment. He stated, ''I feel the response is a reflection of the unrest in the school."(34)
The best statement during this whole unhappy period was made at the Senior Dinner by Dr. Alston Chase, who was retiring that year. He pointed out that the true revolutionaries of modern history---Darwin, Mendel, Marx, Freud, and Einstein---were mild-mannered men who worked quietly by themselves; yet each had had a more revolutionary influence on the world than the would-be revolutionaries who took to the streets and engaged in acts of violence. For all their disaffection most of the seniors were impressed with Dr. Chase's profound observations, but when the class rose to applaud him at the end, there were some who remained seated. No wonder that at the end of the year John Kemper wrote in the Pot Pourri:
Tension between faculty and students reached an unfortunate peak toward the end of the year.
As individuals, teachers sought to be sympathetic and understanding, but as a body, the faculty was painfully slow to institute vital change. Conflicting values and growing frustration needlessly hindered communication. Amidst all the tension faculty and students alike often failed to come to terms with human nature and human needs.
Too many of us isolated ourselves from each other, losing the rapport between teacher and student which should have been the most valuable part of our Andover education.(35)
Hardly had School started in the fall of 1971 when the basic stabilizing force in the Andover community was removed by the resignation of Headmaster Kemper. He had had an operation for lung cancer the previous spring and it was hoped that a complete cure had been effected. In the fall there was a recurrence of the disease of such virulence as to make it impossible for him to continue. An alumnus who was in School at that time writes the following account of the Headmaster's resignation:
Headmaster Kemper personified the traditional force of Andover. He presented something of an enigma to the students. Dressed in white shirt and Andover tie, with a short haircut, he seemed out of place in the jeaned, long-haired world of the 70's. Students did not understand Mr. Kemper and they were certain that he did not understand them, But for some strange reason this distance also created respect as having been a great headmaster at one time and symbolizing a once-great Andover.
At an assembly in October Mr. Kemper resigned because of poor health. The entire student body was stunned, and rose, spontaneously and unanimously, in ovation. Why students, often puzzled and frustrated by the Headmaster, should have risen together in such a tribute and afterwards gathered together in sadness and shock I am not certain, but we knew that Andover and the traditions embodied by this one man would not be the same. Perhaps, having faced for so long the prospect of an unchanging Andover, the students experienced the sudden uneasiness that change was going to occur.
Granting that John Kemper may have been out of touch with the rebel undergraduates of the previous few years, he still led the School---indeed the whole Andover community---through those difficult years with extraordinary patience and fairness. And this was all the more difficult for him because the life-styles of the period must have been extremely offensive to him. His loyalty to the Army precluded his joining in any protests against the war in Viet Nam. He must, during this time, have been a lonely man. Yet there is in his record no attempt at the suppression of student or Faculty opinion. To be sure he sought to channel these opinions and make them constructive. But he had too much respect for the individual personality to try to impose any of his views on others. It was unfair that after more than twenty years of extraordinarily distinguished service to the School, he should, during his last years, have been plagued by the disintegration of old values and by disease. Despite the unhappy end of his administration, when his Andover career is viewed as a whole, he clearly deserves to be considered one of the School's great Headmasters.
John Kemper died about two months after his resignation, and there followed a frightening period. Dean of the Faculty Simeon Hyde, who had been appointed Acting Headmaster when John Kemper resigned, struggled manfully to deal with the manifold problems that developed. But it was understood by all that he would not be made Headmaster in his own right---indeed a Trustee Committee was at work searching for a new headmaster. Dean Hyde was prevented from making basic decisions because he did not wish to tie the hands of his successor. Early in 1972 a wave of vandalism swept the School. Most alarming was that much of it seemed to be mindless, unconnected with any student demands. Early in the winter of 1971 the School's cut records had been stolen from George Washington Hall. If no record of class and athletic absences existed, students could not be disciplined for overcutting. In the next issue of the Phillipian appeared an anonymous letter from the thieves stating that "cuts are a false impetus to attend classes" and closing "In any event change must, and will, occur. We will not wait much longer."(36) Early in 1972 the crime was repeated, though without any newspaper communication. Dean Hyde could not find any connection between this second offense and the student activists; it was apparently an unprincipled act.(37) The community was shocked again when undergraduates stole all the Commons silver and put it on the roof of the building. The School had to eat with its hands until the lost cutlery was finally found. A much more serious act of vandalism was the emptying of card catalog drawers in the library and scattering the cards all over the place. The School might get along without cut records and silverware, but this struck at the very heart of the institution. A student of the time writes: "These acts, almost of terrorism, caused the community to despair, waiting during agonized weeks for the next inevitable 'prank.' Without a Headmaster, in the midst of a struggle between tradition and dissent, Andover was repeatedly shaken by paralyzing acts." The climax came in late winter when three students attempted to steal the cut records for the third time. Entering George Washington Halt, they were met by an off-duty policeman whom the School had hired to protect the building. The students immediately separated and ran, with the policeman in hot pursuit of one of them, yelling at him to stop. When they reached the vista, the officer drew his gun and threatened to shoot if the boy did not stop, and when he continued to run, the policeman fired a warning shot in the air and the student then stopped. The same alumnus correspondent comments:
As the student froze, so did the whole community. A single shot of a pistol awakened everyone from their fatalistic lethargy of the past weeks . . . . Nearly everyone was horrified that events had deteriorated to a point where a gunshot had been fired.
Fortunately, the end was in sight. In March the Trustees announced the appointment of Theodore R. Sizer, formerly Dean of the Harvard School of Education, as the new Headmaster, and after a period of drifting, the School once again had direction. Ted Sizer visited Phillips Academy often in the spring of 1972, met many members of the School community, and made it clear to all that he had a positive program and that he intended to move decisively when he took over in the summer. The students took him at his word, determined to wait and see what the new administration would bring, and abandoned their acts of destruction. But for many in the Andover community the vandalism of the winter of 1972 left scars that would take some time to heal.
It remains to speak of what was far and away the most important change in the nearly two hundred years of Phillips Academy history---the coming of coeducation. New dress codes, new chapel attendance requirements, new forms of student government all fade into insignificance when compared with this momentous change. The decision to go coeducational was very difficult to reach. At the start, the Andover community was sharply divided on the issue. The Faculty was split, the Headmaster had serious reservations, the Trustees were determined to move very slowly. Most of the undergraduates favored coeducation and became more and more impatient, as time went on, with what they considered the snail-like pace of the School. The issue was also complicated by the relationship between Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy. The two institutions had enjoyed more or less amicable relations over the years, and Phillips felt an obligation toward the sister school. If Andover were to start admitting girls on its own, as Exeter had done, the impact on Abbot was sure to be disastrous, especially since Abbot was having financial difficulties. Yet there was a substantial group among the Faculty who favored doing just that. On the other side it could be argued that if the School were to go coeducational, here was a way of accomplishing its purpose immediately, with some three hundred girls, an experienced Faculty, and a useful plant all ready to enter into a relationship with Phillips Academy if some kind of agreement could be reached. Another possibility was coordination---a system whereby the two institutions would remain distinct and under separate administrations but there would be cross-enrollment in courses at the two schools and most extracurricular activities would be open to students of both sexes.
A question of this magnitude naturally fell in the province of the Trustees, and from 1967 to 1972 they moved slowly through a mass of claims, counterclaims, suggestions, and demands on the subject. Though the ultimate responsibility lay with them, all the elements in the School community had a keen interest in the problem. The Faculty, split though they were, provided many committees to study various aspects of the problem. The Headmaster tried to give the discussions focus and to prevent the school from moving too fast. The undergraduates, who were convinced that coeducation would solve most of the School's problems, worked through the Coop and the Phillipian to keep the pressure on. In a very real sense the solution to the coeducation problem was the result of hard work on the part of the whole Andover community.
It has been claimed that early in the nineteenth century two girls attended Phillips Academy for a short period. The documentation for this claim is dubious; in any event, it did not lead anywhere.(38) Had relations between Phillips and Abbot been closer and the rules and regulations governing the mixing of the two sexes been more relaxed, it is conceivable that some kind of shared educational experience might have evolved, but the ferociousness with which Abbot headmistresses like Bertha Bailey guarded her charges precluded any such development. Some relaxation of the restrictions on the mixing of Phillips boys and Abbot girls occurred in the early 1960's, but it was not until later in that decade that the pace quickened. Meanwhile, Phillips Academy had taken its first step toward coeducation when the Summer Session of 1964 admitted some girls as an experiment. This decision, incidentally, was striking evidence of how useful the Session could be as a laboratory for the winter School. If coeducation did not work, it could be dropped; if it did work, it could provide a testing ground for possible action later on by the winter school. In actual fact, it worked very well, and ever since, the Summer Session has been coeducational. Director Frederick A. Peterson agonized over a rule to govern the conduct of boys and girls when they were together and finally came up with a real gem. It read: "Couples must take care not to find themselves in circumstances suggesting that they sought deliberately to avoid observation."(39) The first move in the long series of steps that was to lead eventually to coeducation was the part of the Steering Committee's report which read: "The heart of our recommendation is that Phillips Academy encourage creative cooperation with one or more of our neighboring girls' schools to develop various kinds of co-educational enterprises ranging from social activities to joint instruction."(40) This recommendation was approved by the Faculty in the spring of 1967, and during the fall exploratory meetings were held between the administrations of Abbot and Phillips academies with a view of implementing the plan.(41) Since Donald Gordon, '52, the Principal-elect of Abbot Academy, would not take office until the fall of 1968, it was decided to wait until then before proceeding further on major questions; it was possible, however, to develop a program of increased joint social activities early in 1968. Yet things moved slowly, and it was not until over a year later---in the spring of 1969---that further progress was made. At that time an experimental "coordinate education" week was scheduled, during which Abbot and Phillips students might visit each other's classes. A real breakthrough came about a month later when the two schools agreed to a limited number of coeducational courses for the School year 1969-70. The Phillips courses open to Abbot students would be advanced art, religion major, Italian, Asian history and some minor science courses. In addition, the two schools agreed to merge their fourth-year Spanish courses, while a few German students from Abbot could enroll in Phillips courses. It will be seen that no provision for crossenrollment in any of the basic sequences like mathematics and English was made.
This modest proposal did not accomplish much during its first year, mainly because the two schools had different class schedules. As a result, only about fifty enrollments in the available courses resulted, mostly Abbot girls in Phillips classes. In November further progress was made toward coordination when a group of administrators from the two schools recommended that the various departments at Phillips and Abbot meet to discuss the possibilities of cross-enrollment in major sequential courses as well as those already available, and that the two schools agree on a common calendar for the year and compatible daily schedules. In the meantime, the Faculty-Student Coop recommended the enrollment of girls at Phillips Academy while continuing the coordination program with Abbot. At this point Headmaster John Kemper urged students and Faculty to go slow. He reminded them that decisions in the area of coordination or coeducation were the responsibility of the Trustees and that he was sure they would move slowly and not reach a decision before at least two years. He presented a series of questions on coeducation that would have to be answered before further steps could be taken.
When the Trustees met in April, they charged their Educational Policy Committee to make an in-depth study of the whole question, while the Alumni Council, meeting at the same time, supported some kind of coordination or coeducation. After further studies by members of the administration of the two schools in the summer of 1970, the Faculty, in September, finally approved meetings between the various departments to try to enlarge the number of courses that could be coeducational and also to develop a common calendar and daily schedule. None of this, however, could apply for the School year 1970-71; thus the relatively small number of cross-enrollments that had obtained the previous year continued. That same fall Dean Simeon Hyde, Jr., prepared a powerful statement in support of coeducation. Space prevents mention of more than a few of his points; but he believed that from both the sociological and educational point of view coeducation was a must. "As the roles of men and women become less differentiated," he wrote, "differentiated education loses its validity . . . . The separation of the sexes in secondary boarding schools is a kind of hiatus in the normal process of growth, a period of artificial separation, discontinuous and out of harmony with the stages immediately preceding and following it. It is also at odds with the experience of all but a tiny minority of the American population, a status no longer supported by the concept of a special mode of education for a special class."(42) Having made a strong case for coeducation in general terms, Dean Hyde turned to Phillips Academy in particular and came out strongly for a merger with Abbot. His conclusion:
A merger with Abbot, though full of difficulties, seems practical, ethical, and educationally sound. A true merger would bring to either partner the insight, experience, and resources of the other; and with no alteration of numbers the combined school would have a better start toward an acceptable ratio of boys and girls and of men and women than would be possible at the beginning of any one school's solitary effort .... If Abbot and Phillips could together commit themselves to the development of a school in which boys and girls and men and women shared equally, they would be far ahead of other institutions striving to escape from the limitations of sexually segregated education.(43)
Later that fall the Trustees gave Dean Hyde's position a measure of support when they resolved that "Phillips Academy should be involved in the education of women" and that it should pursue that goal not "independently but in close association with Abbot Academy."
But by no means all the community agreed with Dean Hyde. The leading spokesman for an all-boy School was Richard Pieters, Head of the Mathematics Department and one of Andover's leading teachers, who was asked by the Trustees to present the opposing position. He viewed the coming of coeducation with alarm. A colleague describes his position:
One of my strongest memories about Dick Pieters goes back to the days when the great debate was on about Andover's going coed. Dick was a dedicated and articulate spokesman for the opposition, and at one point, in the face of strong evidence of inevitable change, he prepared a formal statement for those who wanted the school to remain as it was. Although I felt otherwise, I recognized the intensity of their emotions, and I know that when the vote went against them, it was a difficult defeat.
If my memory is accurate, it was only a short time later when Dick stood up at Faculty meeting and said, "As you all know, I opposed this action; but the vote has been taken, and now let's make this the best damned coed school in the country."(44)
There were further complications. Many of the strongest supporters of coeducation on the Andover Faculty did not wish to join with Abbot but wanted Andover to select its own girls for admission. They believed that the Abbot girls were inferior students, and they were anxious to maintain Phillips' high standards. Just why this caused so much concern is not clear. In the case of a merger there would be no old Abbot girls in School after three years, and the new merged Academy would be selecting all its own pupils, both boys and girls, the selecting being done, presumably, from a common admissions office.
Some idea of the splintering of opinion among the Faculty can be obtained from the results of a Faculty poll taken in March, 1971. At that time it was found that 15 percent of the 96 voting wanted an all-male School, 41 percent wanted coordination of some course offerings, 5 percent wanted complete academic coordination, and 39 percent wanted a co-educational School. When the Faculty were asked to choose between the second and fourth options, 56 percent wanted coordination of some courses, and 44 percent a coeducational school. Finally, when asked Phillips vote on how to achieve a coeducational school, 63 percent wanted Phillips to take its own girls, while 37 percent wanted to merge with Abbot.(45) A similar poll sent out to the alumni showed the same scattering of opinion, though, since only about percent responded, the figures are not firm. Generally, those before the Class of 1940 opposed coeducation by a two to one margin while those after that class supported it by a four to one margin.(46) The School also conducted a series of ten Alumni Forums without getting a clear message on the subject of coeducation, though there was general agreement that the question should be raised and discussed. That same spring the Trustees made the problem more difficult by resolving that "financial considerations make a merger with Abbot impractical at this time" and suggesting further study of coordination.
The school year 1971-72 was the first when fairly extensive cross-enrollment between the two schools became possible. There had been departmental meetings the previous year, and a common daily schedule had been drawn up. As a result, during that year 193 girls took 302 courses at Phillips, while 327 boys took 376 courses at Abbot. Yet Dean Hyde reported that the program had its difficulties. The lack of a unified administration made it hard to settle issues; differences in pedagogical approach and standards caused trouble, leading to withdrawal of girls from Phillips classes; some feared that Abbot classes were not up to Phillips standards; and the establishment of a fifteen-minute interval to allow time to get to and from Abbot meant the loss of a class period in the morning, with concomitant scheduling difficulties. An example of the kind of difficulty that developed is the case of a very attractive young lady who taught American history at Abbot. Since the two departments had agreed to crossenrollment in American history, it was possible for Andover boys to take her course. It was soon discovered that this lady's procedures and standards were very different from those of the Andover course. One by one, boys began to transfer to her course, until the Acting Head of the History Department had to forbid further transfers. The problems of coordination strengthened the position of those who wanted Phillips Academy to go it alone. In the fall of 1971 Richard Pieters moved in Faculty meeting that the School should admit its own girls and hire its own women teachers. Since this motion was liable to pass, it put the administration on the spot, for it was equally probable that the Trustees would refuse to accept it and an impasse would result. In the last Faculty meeting John Kemper would attend, shortly after he had announced his resignation, he made a powerful statement against the Pieters motion. He said that a merger with Abbot Academy was the logical solution to the problem of coeducation and reminded the Faculty of the contributions that Abbot could make, particularly in plant, endowment, and expertise in handling girls. He spoke of the long relationship between the two schools and of the damage in public relations that would result if Phillips abandoned Abbot. Finally, he said he thought that the new Headmaster should be given a chance to deal with the problem, since he would have to live with the results. As a result of this appeal, the Faculty voted to table the Pieters motion. By this time things were in a mess. The Faculty were frustrated by indecision and not sure whether there was an option to have Andover go it alone. The students were puzzled over why Andover could not make up its mind, as other schools had done. The Admissions Office reported parental uneasiness at their inability to find out what the School intended to do. Alumni Class Agents were impatient over the delay in reaching a decision and thought it might harm the fund-raising effort. In short, all members of the Andover constituency wanted decisive action and wanted it right away.
Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy remained on dead center as far as coeducation was concerned until the announcement, early in March 1972, of the appointment of Theodore Ryland Sizer as Andover's twelfth Headmaster.(47) Dr. Sizer moved aggressively to deal with this thorny problem, and within six months he, Headmaster Gordon of Abbot, and the two Boards of Trustees had been able to resolve it. The new Headmaster had had a distinguished career in education. A graduate of Pomfret and of Yale, he had served two years in the Army before turning to his chosen career. He taught for a year at the Roxbury Latin School and then earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree at the Harvard School of Education. There followed a year in Australia, where he taught at a grammar school in Melbourne and studied the educational system of the country. On his return to this country he resumed study at Harvard and earned a Doctorate in History and Education under the colonial historian Bernard Bailyn. With the completion of his graduate work he accepted the position of Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching program at the Harvard School of Education. An extremely effective part of this program was the Harvard-Newton summer project that Dr. Sizer ran, whereby apprentice teachers could gain experience in the classroom under the watchful eyes of master teachers. When Francis Keppel, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, resigned to go to Washington in 1964, Ted Sizer was named to succeed him at the tender age of thirty-one, and for the next eight years he held that post with distinction. He played an active role in dealing with the student troubles that beset Harvard in the late 1960's and generally opposed the use of force as a solution to the problem of student unrest. In the meantime, he had published several books and a large number of articles, the best known books being The Age of the Academies and Secondary Schools at the Turn of the Century, both highly relevant to a school like Andover.(48) The former of these works contained many documents on the history of the early academies, including, interestingly enough, the Constitution of Phillips Academy. In addition he and his wife, the former Nancy Faust, a scholar in her own right, had published five lectures on Moral Education. With the coming of the Bok administration, Ted Sizer decided that he had been at Harvard long enough and resigned his position as Dean of the Graduate School of Education. Shortly before he left, he and his family spent some months in England, where he studied British education at secondary school and graduate levels. He had proved his ability as administrator, as head of one of the great graduate schools of education in the country; he was a scholar and author of parts; and his experiences in both Australia and England ensured that he would not have a parochial outlook. In view of all this, it is hardly surprising that the Trustee Search Committee asked him to serve as Andover's Headmaster. Since he had spent most of his career working with prospective teachers, it was appropriate that he work directly with secondary school students themselves, and when the Trustees offered him the position of Headmaster, he accepted with enthusiasm. It is interesting to note, however, that he told the Trustees that he had no interest in heading a single-sex school. Since the Trustees had already determined to address the question of women's education, this was no obstacle. Although his term of office did not begin until 1 July 1972, he spent at least a day a week in Andover during the spring, getting to know the place and lending his support to the establishment of the Cluster System, which was to go into full effect that fall.
Once Ted Sizer had officially taken over the reins of the School, he moved rapidly to deal with the coeducation issue. At his first meeting with the Board of Trustees on 14 July 1972, he presented a paper entitled "Speculations on Andover--I" in which he outlined his thoughts on what a School like Andover should be. Though many interesting points were made, the one that dealt with coeducation is especially pertinent. Proposition I read: "Andover should vigorously recruit an international student body, boys and girls, of social, racial, national, and religious diversity."(49) The Trustees accepted this proposition and instructed the Headmaster to explore with the appropriate officials of Abbot Academy how best to proceed. Less than a week later Ted Sizer and Donald Gordon, Abbot's Headmaster, drew up a paper entitled "Specifications for a Possible AndoverAbbot Agreement," The two must have had many talks together before the Trustees gave the green light; in any event, this document was extremely sensible and sensitive. That Donald Gordon subscribed to these specifications is remarkable because in so subscribing, he was doing himself out of a job. The Headmasters confronted the problem that had bedeviled the two schools ever since talk of coeducation had first begunnamely, what their relationship would be. The first specification read: "P.A. would absorb Abbot, i.e., Abbot as a corporate entity would cease to exist and its assets would be transferred to P.A."(50) The name of the new coeducational school would be Phillips Academy, but an attempt would be made perpetuate the name of Abbot in some fashion. Starting in September 1973, Phillips would absorb all Abbot students, except that those enrolled at Abbot before the merger would have the option of getting an Abbot or an Andover diploma. Abbot would be incorporated into the Andover cluster system, necessitating the formation of at least two new clusters. It was hoped that each cluster could have a girls' dormitory. Phillips would attempt to absorb as many Abbot personnel as possible into its operations. The Dean of the new Academy would be a woman. A single Admissions Office would be established by November 1972. In addition, plans to consolidate various services in the two schools would be made to determine what should be kept and what disposed of. Since the combined schools would number well over twelve hundred students, a study of the ideal size of the community would be undertaken, and the result of the study would govern admissions policy in the next few years. Finally, it was agreed that the Trustees of Phillips Academy would be the governing body of the new School, but efforts would be made to add women and/or former Abbot Trustees to the Board as soon as possible. In retrospect these agreements spell out the only possible solution to a very difficult problem, and it is greatly to the credit of Headmasters Sizer and Gordon that the final settlement followed them closely.(51)
The climax came in September. Shortly before the Trustee Meeting on the 16th, Headmaster Sizer distributed a powerful paper in support of coeducation in general and, in particular, the plan to incorporate Abbot into Phillips. He pointed out that although the Trustees, Alumni Council, Faculty, and undergraduates had all indicated strong support for coeducation of some kind, the specifics for the accomplishments of that goal remained elusive. He suggested that there were four possible approaches: coordination, Phillips Academy to admit its own girls, merger through the creation of a new school and a new corporation, and incorporation of one of the schools into the other. The Headmaster came out strongly for the fourth choice, pointing out that coordination had not worked well and quoting John Kemper to the effect that coordination only leads to some kind of merger. Although he admitted that Phillips could admit its own girls, he said that the effect on Abbot Academy could well be disastrous and that he did not think the Andover community would want that responsibility. There were many legal and financial difficulties in setting up a new corporation that would combine the two schools in one. Thus the incorporation of Abbot into Phillips was the only workable solution. He was fully aware of the traumatic experience that this might be for Abbot, but he was confident that, particularly with the passage of time, this could be overcome. To soften the blow to Abbot, the Headmaster made three proposals: one, the naming of Carolyn Goodwin, Director of Studies at Abbot, as Dean of Phillips Academy; two, the construction of a new dining hall and student center to be named Abbot Hall; and three, an invitation to three Abbot Trustees, at least two of them women, to sit with the Phillips Academy Board with the same authority as Alumni Trustees, it being understood that the Phillips Board would elect women as Charter Trustees as soon as possible. And he went on to spell out ways of dealing with legal, financial, and social problems that the joining of the two schools would bring. The twenty-two-page document was inclusive, and the case it presented was extremely persuasive.(52)
With the terms of the marriage contract more or less drawn up, it remained to get the bride and groom to agree to them, then to solemnize the pact, and finally to get the bride and groom to the marriage bed. Agreement by the two took some doing. It was obviously difficult for the Abbot Trustees to vote elimination of their school as a separate legal entity, while it was equally difficult for some of the Andover Trustees to accept the idea of having women in their midst. From time immemorial the Andover Board had considered itself an exclusive men's club, and new Trustees were chosen fully as much for their ability to fit in with the already existing Board as for any other qualifications. Ladies in the club were like ladies invading barber shops and pool parlors. Yet these obstacles were eventually overcome. The man who probably did more than anyone else to bring it about was Philip K. Allen, who had the unique distinction of being both Charter Trustee of Phillips Academy and at the same time Chairman of the Board of Abbot Academy. He was convinced that the incorporation of Abbot into Phillips was the only workable solution, and he bent every effort to bring it about. His task was the more difficult because his membership on both boards made him suspect by each. As Donald H. McLean, Jr., President of the Andover Board, pointed out, "There were those on the Andover side who regarded him as a Trojan Horse and ... there were those on the Abbot side who regarded him as somewhat of a Trojan Horse."(53) In any event, when the Andover Trustees met on 16 September, Phil Allen started the proceedings with a proposal from the bride. This proposal authorized him as President of the Abbot Board, together with Headmaster Donald Gordon, to negotiate with the Trustees of Phillips Academy an agreement based on the Sizer-Gordon Memorandum of the previous July. The Abbot proposal contained four supplementary suggestions: one, that there be drawn up a memorandum of future educational policy for the combined schools; two, that there be a firm commitment to add Abbot representatives to the Andover Board; three, that all members of the Abbot staff be considered on the basis of merit only if cuts in staff had to be made; and, four, that the name of Abbot be perpetuated in the new institution. Having presented Abbot's offer, Mr. Allen left the meeting. After due deliberation the Andover Board passed resolutions introduced by Headmaster Sizer, designed to reassure Abbot of Phillips' good intentions. Miss Carolyn Goodwin was to be appointed Dean of Phillips Academy, starting 1 September 1973; three members of the Abbot Board ----at least two of whom were to be women---were invited to sit with the Andover Board with the same rights and responsibilities as Alumni Trustees; and it was the intention of the Andover Board to elect women Charter Trustees at an early date. The Board then adjourned without really biting the bullet; their resolutions were clearly based on the assumption that the two schools would merge, but it was not until a meeting a week later that the terms were agreed to.(54) At that meeting Philip Allen presented a firm commitment from the Abbot Trustees to incorporate Abbot Academy into Phillips Academy. The groom finally accepted the offer on 23 September 1972, when the Trustees passed the following resolution:
Voted, that this Board welcomes and accepts the proposal of the Board of Trustees of Abbot Academy . . . to transfer to Phillips Academy the educational undertakings and assets of Abbot, and instructs the President and Headmaster to accomplish this incorporation effective 1 September, 1973.(55)
It remained to legalize the union, a process that was achieved in two parts. On 24 February 1973 the two Presidents of the boards, Donald H. McLean, Jr., for Andover and Philip K. Allen for Abbot, together with the two headmasters, Theodore Sizer for Andover and Donald Gordon for Abbot, signed the documents necessary to legalize the incorporation.(56) Later that spring the last step in the laborious legal process of incorporating the two schools was accomplished at a so-called wedding when Melville Chapin, acting for the Abbot Trustees, turned over his School's property to Donald H. McLean, Jr., acting for Phillips Academy. On that occasion Mr. Chapin said, "In consideration of the payment of one dollar, all assets of Abbot now become the property of Phillips---entrusting to them our greatest asset, young ladies of inestimable value."(57)
|Signing the Merger Papers, 24 February 1973. Left to right: Headmaster Sizer; Donald Gordon, Headmaster of Abbot; Philip K. Allen, President of the Board of Trustees of Abbot Academy; and Donald H. McLean, Jr., President of the Board of Trustees of Phillips Academy.||
One might wonder how the Trustees of Phillips Academy could vote against merger in November 1971 because of financial considerations, and then support such a move eight months later. The answer lay in the agreement to reduce the size of the combined schools over a three- or four-year period. The first year of merger would produce a school of over twelve hundred, but the Admissions Office was instructed to reduce the size to something under one thousand in the coming years. Since a school of this size would be more manageable financially, the Andover Trustees agreed to accept the plan, and after a great deal of agonizing, the greatest change in the history of Phillips Academy was brought about. Despite the fears of the timid and the conservative, the new School has been a smashing success from the very beginning. Those who took this revolutionary step should derive satisfaction from their share in strengthening the principle that only institutions which adapt to changing circumstances can remain strong.
With the introduction of coeducation into Phillips Academy, this history comes to an end. One is too close to the dynamic and innovative programs of Ted Sizer for anything like objective analysis. Yet wherever one looks on Andover Hill today, he sees activity, experimentation, creativity, and élan. As Phillips Academy enters its third century, who can doubt that it will continue to teach its students-in twentieth century terms, to be sure---"the great end and real business of living."