In 1925, the University opened Spencer Hall, UNC's first residence for female students — much to the chagrin of the majority-male student body.
Inez Stacy, then the dean of women at UNC, advocated for the creation of female on-campus housing to further their role and inclusion as students at the University.
But her ideas were met with opposition — The Daily Tar Heel, then called The Tar Heel, published editorials with headlines such as “Women Students Not Wanted Here” and “Shaves and Shines but No Rats and Rouge.” Male students complained that female students would be distracting and turn UNC into a "semi-effeminate college."
But when Spencer Residence Hall was completed that year, it marked an increased place on campus for female students at the University.
The dormitory was named for Cornelia Phillips Spencer, a writer and relative of UNC professors.
“Cornelia Spencer was actually not a supporter of coeducation or women’s suffrage, but she was essentially the University’s historian,” Sarah Carrier, the N.C. research and instructional librarian at UNC, said. “She published a regular newspaper column and wrote a lot about UNC history. She was very supportive of educational opportunities for women.”
University archives of Spencer’s writing have shown that she held white supremacist views and did not support equal rights for African Americans. As a result of this, the Cornelia Phillips Spencer Bell Award named for her was retired in 2004.