1897: Cambridge University Votes Against Degrees for Women

Credit…International Herald Tribune


LONDON, May, 22. — Cambridge University, by a vote of 1,713 to 662, refused to grant degrees to women. The undergraduates, who are practically unanimous in opposing the idea, were in a state of wild excitement. A tremendous effort was made on both sides to whip up non-resident voters. A special train was put on for them at King’s Cross and the early trains from Liverpool-street were filled with clergymen, medical men and others, going down to vote.

The St. James Gazette states that voting began at one o’clock on the first resolution: “That it is desirable that the title of degree of bachelors of arts be conferred by diploma upon women satisfying the examiners in the final tripos examination and who have kept nine terms at least.”

At the opening ninety “non placets” were recorded before a single “placet” was registered, and ended as had been predicted, the graces being withdrawn.

The result was declared in a scene of the wildest excitement, fireworks of all kinds being thrown by the crowd among the voters. In the Senate House yard members of the Senate themselves engaged in a friendly exchange of fireworks and flour bags, and leading University men took part in the fun and horseplay.

— The New York Herald, European Edition, May 22, 1897.

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