History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 21

21 academic years since 1925, and the pressure on the Florida Legislature to make both UF and FSU coeducational came to the forefront of Florida politics. In 1947, 500 women were formally admitted to UF. While Yulee, Mallory, and Reid Halls were being built, UF leased off campus housing for women. Common complaints about these accommodations were that they were overcrowded, excessive rent was charged in comparison to the men’s campus residences, there were poor study conditions, and there were no public area or large group meeting rooms. The Women Students’ Association (WSA) formed Spring 1948 “to promote the welfare of women on campus; to deepen the sense of individual and collective responsibility; and to promote loyalty to all college activities and organizations and to uphold high social and academic standards among university women students.” One of their most visible activities was producing Coedikette, a handbook for incoming freshmen women that provided information on campus life, organizations, and conduct rules. For example, women had strict dress codes and curfews. Women had to live on campus in university-approved housing or in sororities. Fraternities were chartered early in the life of UF. In much the same manner, from the moment women were admitted to UF, they began the effort to charter sororities. President Tigert and the Board of Control determined that sororities would be admitted on the basis of enrollment increases. But in what order and where would the sororities be established? A committee was appointed to review suitable housing. There were no suitable houses near campus and a scarcity of land. Plus, rental rates near campus immediately increased as UF enrollment grew. In his memoirs, Beaty noted that the city government was interested in selling a tract of land south of the original PK Young Lab School (now Norman Hall) to get it on the tax rolls. He described the land as “13.1 acres of almost a jungle wasteland.” Interim President Hume and Beaty appeared before the Gainesville Commission to make a request for this piece of property for UF use related to recreation, dormitories, or sororities. By Commencement June 1949, the city presented UF President J. Hillis Miller the deed to this land. George Baughman, UF assistant business manager, financed “small dormitories” to be built for sorority houses via the Federal Housing Administration, and Sorority Row was created. A plan similar to the Sorority Row funding plan was adopted for Fraternity Row at the west side of campus on the Pinkoson property in the 1950s to assist fraternities with building fraternity houses. Five sororities were initially I ntr od uction