Will more women at Caltech translate to less glomming?

LA Times reports that enrollment of frosh women at Caltech is up. (Same with Harvey Mudd). The aricle devotes a scant paragraph to a topic that was discussed at length Saturday evening at a gathering I attended: glomming.

Caltech students said they are not expecting a revolution in social life or an end to the much-discussed practice of “glomming,” in which a posse of young men annoyingly seek the attention of one woman.

Urban dictionary: Glomming
Ms. Magazine, August 2001 description of Caltech

Much of Saturday’s discussion stemmed from an answer to my question, “What is it about Caltech that makes you hesitant to send your daughter there?” — this from someone who used to work on the campus. The chief objection is the culture on campus, especially glomming (which I hadn’t heard about before this weekend). The Institute’s culture and traditions mostly accept or gloss over a practice that, outside the campus, would be treated as criminal behavior–stalking. If it’s so acceptable, this person argued, why does it stop once the students leave Caltech? It’s because that kind of behavior has consequences. They arrest people for it. But the culture on campus condones or minimizes it. This person said, imagine what it’s like to have no privacy. To be followed around by multiple people– who follow you into your dorm room (the campus is completely co-ed in dorms and bahrooms) and even into the showers, and who simply will not leave. A common response is a kind of suck it up acceptance: you gotta deal with it or else you just can’t hack it at Caltech. The speaker advocated pepper spray; I like this blog’s video solution. The ubiquity of cameras in cellphones can be put to good use to take pictures of glommers stalkers in the act.

One response to “Will more women at Caltech translate to less glomming?”

  1. Burningbird » Caltech: Glimmer and Glomming

    […] Kitchens points out that the number of women in the freshmen class has increased from 28.5 last year to 37 percent this […]