The school itself was composed of formidable brick and stone buildings which impressed upon students and parents alike a feeling of order and stability. This is tradition, tradition shall be the future, and the future of your young is assured. Chapel was obligatory twice a week, and meals and sports and bedtimes and all the other hallmarks of a well rounded and costly education were non-negotiable. Underneath the expensive oiled leather facade lurked all sorts of sordid flotsam: hazing rituals involving anal rapes and broomsticks, the first videotaped high school sex scandals, secret abortions, etc.
One boy who I later went out with briefly in college had been molested, sandwiched naked between two matresses held together with duct tape and tossed out a 3rd story window. Another student, son of a much loved, very kind professor, had died a few years back in an incident of autoerotic asphixiation. Violations were sometimes taped to share, before the word meme even existed. While the administration generally took a hard look at disciplinary infractions involving drugs or alcohol, those involving cruelty or hazing were ignored, especially if masterminded by students with important parents.
With the beginning of coeducation, another problem (apart from the floodgate of hormonal pressures) cropped up, unanticipated by the administration: the stench of industrial food, served in industrial proportions, being vomitted enmasse in the women’s bathrooms. The cafeteria served the same slop it had for years, and nearly all the girls quickly found themselves locked into mealtimes, with an unappetizing array of options: eat the large portion of fried meatballs and spaghetti served up with a terrifying plastic spoon, either gaining weight or vomiting it up. Or one could live off the paltry options available in the salad bar and go hungry. The third option was to avail oneself to the tastier yet equally unhealthy options off campus, either a small pizza place that allowed minors to purchase cigarettes from the machine as long as they ate (furthering the cycle of weight gain and vomiting) and a Puerto Rican joint which served fried things. Or, like my roommate, you could claim vegetarianism and live on a sparse regimen consisting entirely of diet soda, cereal and apples. In the first half of the year I gained a bit of weight and by February, none of my clothes fit. As soon as I realized I was gaining weight (because I split my favorite pair of pants before going out for walk one Sunday) I too began to subscribe to rice crispies and apples method, which unsurprisingly, was not particularly effective, and also left one prone to depression and anger brought on by hunger.
The girls, as such, undernourished, undersexed and over examined by the male population, began to claw at each-other: fights, theft, gossip, rumours and plots. The ambiance was generally toxic.