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In January 1890, a week before Mary W. Howe and Helen F. Ryder were to graduate from the two year program at Bridgewater State, a fellow female student of the same class told school administration these two women, “early in their course,” had violated school regulations by going for a Sunday walk with two young men who were not students of the school. The unnamed student who initiated the complaint told administration the entire class agreed these two women should not be given diplomas the following week. After vetting other students, Principal Albert G. Boyden and the entire faculty agreed to expel the students for “continued violations of the regulations of the school.”

After interviewing fellow students Principal Boyden interviewed community members from the town. He found “that there was much severe comment upon the freedom of their actions.” Opinions of fellow students, faculty and administration, and the community all were used as evidence to expel Ryder and Howe. The girls wanted another investigation to clear their name, but it was never granted. Ryder and Howe were never reinstated.



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