A history of 'in loco parentis' in American high education
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From the establishment of institutions of higher education in Colonial America until the 1970s, college administrators have acted in loco parentis, or as legal guardians of students "in the place of parents." Under the legal regime of in loco parentis, society and the legal system required school administrators to look after the educational, moral, and behavioral growth of students. In order to fulfill their obligations to students in loco parentis, administrators put in place curricular requirements and campus rules, and they were granted the disciplinary leeway of students' natural parents or guardians to enforce those requirements and rules. Through a series of court cases in the 1960s an 1970s, the legal requirements imposed upon administrators was removed and students enrolled in colleges and universities were granted legal adulthood. Through research of primary and secondary sources, this dissertation examines the history of in loco parentis in American higher education. It discusses the evolution of the role college administrators played in loco parentis over three centuries, and how higher education itself evolved as American society changed. As schools grew in size and expanded in scope, administrators retreated from, or were stripped of, their in loco parentis responsibilities. By the mid-1970s, American college students were seen by the courts and society as legal adults with constitutional rights, and in loco parentis in American higher education was dead.
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