In 1964, the board of trustees created the Office of the Dean
of Students to direct and to coordinate all offices concerned with
student services. The dean of students reported directly to the
president. Prior to the creation of the office, the functions of
the dean of students were carried out by various offices throughout
Oberlin Colleges history.
From 1836 to 1894, women students were under the direction of
the Ladies Board of Managers, which was mainly composed of professors
wives. In 1894, the positions of dean of Conservatory women and
dean of College women were created. Over the years such women as
Adelia Field Johnston (1837-1910), Florence Fitch (1875-1951), and
Mildred McAfee (b. 1900) filled the post of dean of College women.
The almost simultaneous resignation in 1935 of both women deans
allowed the positions to be reorganized and combined into one of
fice with two positions, a dean and an assistant dean of women.
The dean of women, elected by the board of trustees, was responsible
to the Womens Board, a body under the General Faculty. The duties
of the office included the administration of social regulations,
the guidance of womens activities, the selection and guidance of
matrons (house directors), the formulation of housing plans, and
the determination of campus employment for female students.
In 1971, another major reorganization of the administration of
student affairs took place. The dean of students continued to provide
policy leadership and administrative supervision to all offices
involved with student affairs, but the Offices of the Dean of Men
and the Dean of Women were eliminated. These responsibilities were
redistributed along functional rather than gender lines. Two associate
deans and two assistant deans replaced the deans of men and of women.
One associate dean managed such campus affairs as the student government
and the student judicial system, and the second selected, trained,
and evaluated dormitory staff. One assistant dean was responsible
for overseeing housing and dining facilities, while the other worked
to provide dormitory programs to enrich student life Although the
names of some of the positions within the Office of the Dean of
Students changed between 1971 and 1988, no significant changes were
made in the overall functions of the office until 1989. With the
retirement of Dean George H. Langeler (b.1927), the Office of the
Dean of Students and the Office of Student Services were merged
under the Office of Student Life and Services.
Scope and Content
The records of the Office of the Dean of Students document the
activities of the dean and his staff, including the activities of
the dean of women. Consisting mostly of Dean George H. Langelers
correspondence, the records document the turbulence that existed
on campus in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Topics include abortion,
cohabitation, racism, and the Vietnam War. Various documents, including
financial records, minutes and notes of meetings, and annual reports,
contain information regarding the Office of Dean of Women and women
students. There also are records on the Health Plan Board, which
organized and reviewed the Oberlin College Student Health Plan.