Rules, Rules, Rules!

Patterson Hall, first Women's dormitory

University of Kentucky campus, Patterson Hall, 1920

For decades, University of Kentucky women were considered second-class students - barred from certain majors, denied housing, and held to higher standards of behavior than men.  Although white female students were allowed to attend the University of Kentucky beginning in 1880, the first women's dormitory was not opened until twenty years later in 1904. The University of Kentucky did not allow women to live on campus out of concern for the responsibility for single, young, white women's virtue and reputation - a concern never felt with white male students.  The new women's dorm allowed female UK students to live independently in an academic environment outside of their family's homes.

Playful Women in Dorm

Women in University of Kentucky building 

However, even after women were allowed to live on UK's campus, their rules were very different from men's rules.

For example, through the 1970s, female students living in dorms had curfews, which varied according to the student's grade point average (GPA) and the number of years they had attended the university. In 1940, curfew hours were 10:30 pm on weekdays and 11:15 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Male students never had curfews.

According to Dean of Women Sarah Holmes in an oral history interview, administrators believed that once the female students had gone back to their rooms, the male students would also go back to their rooms. Holmes explained,  

“The rules were just accepted as a matter of course…There certainly wasn’t a feeling of campus resentment. The regulations were a product of a committee of students and faculty members,... The students were both responsive and responsible when it came to things of that sort."

Rules, Rules, Rules!