Great Plains Studies, Center for
Scandal on the Plains: William F. Slocum, Edward S. Parsons, and the Colorado College Controversies
Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly 30.2 (Spring 2010), pp 117-341
This is a story about a scandal that took place on the western frontier, a sexual harassment crisis involving one of giants of late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century education and the disgraceful treatment of the man who pursued the case. The treatment of the two related incidents in the several official histories of the institution constitutes a travesty that one is tempted to call "scandalous." The physical place of this saga is important because the original events transpired within a burgeoning frontier community and at a young western institution that was successfully carving out its place in the national academic scene. The issues may be universal ones and the same story might have occurred in any region of the country, but it played out in the particular way it did within the context of the several frontiers of the new West-nascent educational institutions in transition, the attitudes of powerful western entrepreneurs and businessmen toward academics, the place of young women on the college campus, and changing social attitudes in a new political environment. Although unquestionably an element of a larger national narrative, these events are first of all a part of the chronicle of the Great Plains frontier at a particular time in history.
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