Friday, July 19, 2013

College hooligans of 1955

For your weekend delectation, this bit of WVU campus history that I came across while doing some research in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection.  Couch-burning is, clearly, only the most recent manifestation of student misconduct.

From a letter written by then-WVU President Irvin Stewart to the Board of Governors, dated November 11, 1955:


You have undoubtedly seen reports of the panty raid at the University last night.  The incident was undoubtedly a result of the rising temperature in connection with the Pitt football game.

Apparently the incident was spontaneous in origin.  According to reports, there was no evidence of organized activity as late as 11:00 p.m....Sometime around 11:30, a small group seems to have started toward Women's Hall, yelling "Panty Raid."  Someone (perhaps a member of the original group) called WAJR to report that a panty raid was in progress.  The report came during a disc jockey program and was immediately put on the air.  This served to draw students in from all parts of town.

I was asleep shortly before midnight, when I was told of the raid.  I immediately dressed and went to Women's Hall, where I met Mr. Gluck, Dean Betty Boyd, and Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Edwin Orr, who told me that the last of the raiders had been cleared out of the dormitory and had started toward the sorority houses. I went after the group as rapidly as I could and was a party to dispersing the groups in front of the Kappa Kappa Gamma, Alpha Xi Delta and Delta Gamma sororities....

There was one unfortunate episode which served to give the panty raid more notoriety than it might otherwise have received.  The Delta Gamma House was rather late on the list of those visited and the occupants had had an opportunity to prepare themselves. Part of the preparation consisted of hooking a hose to the water tap on the second floor. I got through the crowd of men in front of the sorority and reached the front line of the group just as the hose was turned on. Some of the water came down on my hat and some hit Mr. Gluck, who arrived about the same time. As we were recognized, the water was turned off, but apparently somebody at the sorority told the newspapers of the incident and it will doubtless receive considerable play in the newspaper stories."

Not sure which is the "unfortunate episode" in that last paragraph: President Stewart's hat getting wet, or the story's being leaked to the paper.  I like to imagine it's the former.

At any rate, it's clear that then. as now, most college students' prefrontal cortexes were not fully developed.

Wonder if there's been any feminist scholarship on the phenomenon of the panty raid, though?  There certainly should be.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Youngest Tenant: Summer 2013 Edition

It's been awhile (in fact, almost a year) since Colson Hall welcomed a junior tenant, but Professor Komisaruk has just announced that we've been joined by Alice Komisaruk (current age: 5 days), viz.

Miss Komisaruk

Born to Stacey, Adam & Josephine on Wednesday 3 July 2013 at 8:49 AM

7 lbs. 3 oz., 19.5""

While we gather that Alice has not yet had a chance to read any Wordsworth, we figure it's just a matter of time. Congratulations to Alice, Stacey, Josephine, and Adam.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Dear Tenants,

I have not forgotten about you. In fact, I've spent days (and days!) looking for just the right July-ish Richard Scarry drawing to let you know that I'm thinking of you.

Alas, I can find nothing. No pigs having picnics. No cats swimming. No Lowly Worm doing anything summer-y.

What I did find is this pic of a boy and a girl and a lot of rabbits. I'm not sure what it means. Especially given the hats. A crown? What for? Very confusing. On one hand, I'm reminded of an assignment I once had in my all-girls Catholic high school creative writing class: all those rabbits... that's a lesson... write about it... in a one-act drama! On the other hand... I got nothing.

But I am thinking of you and hoping you're having a good July and not succumbing to any "Oh no! It's July already!" panicking. I mean, just because we start school in August (what's wrong the world??), it's still only July. We'll let you know when it's time to panic.

And if you have thoughts about those rabbits (one is wearing a hat, too, no? the favored rabbit?), send us a postcard.