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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Coeds in dormitory, 1948

The first dean of women, Katherine Kennedy Carmichael, lobbied for more dormitory rooms as women's enrollment increased during the 1930s and 1940s and topped one thousand for the first time in 1946. During Dean Carmichael's tenure, a complex web of regulations governed women's activities, including those on ladylike behavior, curfew hours, and appropriate dress. Women had their own honor society (the Valkyries), their own honor court, and their own student council. Unjust double standards became glaringly obvious in 1965, when the honor courts punished a couple for spending the night together by reprimanding the man (who was also student body president) and expelling the woman. In the early 1970s, the new women's movement brought a drastic change in thinking about the role of women on campus. The separate student organizations consolidated and wrote a single standard of conduct for both sexes. In 1971, Norma Harrell became the first woman to win a Morehead Scholarship. The Order of the Golden Fleece began accepting women in 1972.