In 2013 Wilson College made the decision to move from an all-women’s school to a coeducational institution. Shortly after, the questions about the Women with Children (WWC) program becoming coeducational began to arise. On Oct. 24 the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the name to Singe Parent Scholar (SPS) program as well as to include single fathers, according to the press release by Wilson College on Nov. 5.
This decision came after the college held two all-campus forums, one in August and one in September, where staff, faculty, and students were all welcome to attend. The students of Women with Children were informed two days later and had a fairly neutral response, according to Wilson Assistant Dean of Students, Katherine Kough who oversees the program.
“In general the feeling is from the students in the program ‘this program gave us a chance when others wouldn’t. Why wouldn’t we give it to someone else,’” Kough states when discussing the response.
Two students in WWC actually proposed the new name for the program during one of the all campus forums, says Vice President for Student Development Mary Beth Williams who is incredibly excited to see this program grow.
This decision also fulfills the Title IX requirement which states that any institution receiving federal funds must be open to both men and women. While the program itself does not receive federal funding, students within the program do which, by law, effects WWC.
“We didn’t say coed or close. We did not say that, but really I think if that had been a different decision, I’m not sure we would have been permitted to stay a women with children program,” says Kough. The Women with Children is the last program on campus to go coeducational.
Due to the nature of the dorms set up for parents, there will be no physical changes needed to accommodate new students, though Kough says there may be more thought put into placing. She comments that there may be moms who ask for a single gendered floor which she says is an option to consider.
Along with the addition of men and the name change, there was also a slight change in regulation made about the age requirement for the children in the program. Boys were previously capped at the age of ten while girls had no age cap, some staying until high school.
Now the change has been made so both genders are now capped at the age of 12. This means that children must be under the age of twelve by the time their parent graduates from the program. Kough says the decision was made based on the fact that the program was not benefiting children in their teenage years.
This decision comes after WWC celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. The Single Parent Scholar program will go into effect immediately which means that men are now able to apply and be accepted into the program.
This is a developing story. For more information or questions contact Katherine Kough at firstname.lastname@example.org.