This is almost the definition of an unexpected find–a petition signed by the better part of the female students, asking simply that they be allowed to play tennis on the campus women’s courts with friends who weren’t enrolled at the Institute:
It’s mildly interesting as evidence of how protected the young women were at this time, but it was Dr. Lovett’s response that produced a chuckle:
What a different world this was! No explanations, no attempt to placate, no administrative gobbledygook, just an immediately comprehensible “no”.
And that was that.
Bonus: Here’s the first signatory, Camille Waggaman, on those same courts.
Were men allowed to have non-student friends play on the tennis courts?
I have absolutely no idea. And I can’t think of a way to find out. Finding this petition was truly a fluke.
At least President Lovett had the courtesy of giving the petitioners a reply. 102 years later, when presented with a Change.org petition – electronically signed by nearly 2,000 former athletes, alums, and friends of Rice Athletics – to remove and replace our athletic director, the current President just ignored us.
Probably because of liability issues, but he could have said that.
In that same spirit, the Rice administration issued a number of unpopular edicts in the late 1950s. I can’t recall what they were now, but the final sentence of one of them became a mantra among undergraduates every time the administration spoke: “WE HOPE THIS DOESN’T INCONVENIENCE YOU”.
That’s extremely sexist of him. Monuments to his service should accordingly be banished from the Quad as well.