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Freshmen

[ 23 ] August 27, 2013 |

Freshmen in the 15th century had it rough:

“Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen. Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water or urine, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.”

Leipzig University Statute (1495)

Luckily we have thrown off the chains of the past and can haze freshmen in any way we like, including making them attend classes and turn in papers on time.

Comments (23)

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  1. Robert Farley says:

    And that statute ended the problem of hazing once and for all…

  2. Lee Rudolph says:

    including making them attend classes and turn in papers on time

    And depriving them of their electronic devices in class!

  3. efgoldman says:

    In the original German, it also forbade the nailing of theses to frosh foreheads or elsewhere on their anatomy.

  4. mark f says:

    Drenching with urine was apparently a more common problem than “Crying with a terrifying voice.”

  5. Jerry Vinokurov says:

    Still more progressive than Dartmouth, after all these years.

    • efgoldman says:

      Still more progressive than Dartmouth, after all these years.

      I would send my half-Jewiah atheist daughter to a convent before I’d let her go to Dartmouth.

  6. burritoboy says:

    The medieval university could be a violent and dangerous place: there was frequent rioting and battles between the town and gown – something like 90 people were killed in a two-day riot in 1355 between the students at Oxford and the townspeople (an incident which included a mob of students attacking the town’s mayor).

    • Aimai says:

      Yup, and Paris and Students was a pretty volatile combination as well.

      In March 1229, on Shrove Tuesday, Paris’s pre-Lenten carnival began. This was similar to the modern-day Mardi Gras where one wore masks and generally let loose. The students often drank heavily and were rowdy, and in the suburban quarter of Saint Marcel a dispute broke out between a band of students and a tavern proprietor over a bill which led to a physical fight. The students were beaten up and thrown into the streets. The next day, seeking revenge, the students returned in larger numbers armed with wooden clubs, broke into the tavern, beat the offenders and destroyed the establishment. Other shops were damaged in a subsequent riot which spilled into the streets.
      Because students had benefit of clergy that exempted them from the jurisdiction of the king’s courts, angry complaints were filed with the ecclesiastical (Church) courts. The ecclesiastical courts knew that the University tended to be very protective of its students, and fearing to cause a split like that of Cambridge University from Oxford, they were trying to approach the matter carefully. But Blanche of Castile, regent of France during the minority of Louis IX, stepped in and demanded retribution. The university authorized the city guard to punish the student rioters. The city guardsmen, known for their rough nature, found a group of students and, with an unexpectedly heavy hand, killed several of them. The dead students were later rumored to be innocent of the actual riot.

      • efgoldman says:

        The students often drank heavily and were rowdy

        No shit? Really? Who could have known!

        The next day, seeking revenge, the students returned in larger numbers armed with wooden clubs, broke into the tavern, beat the offenders and destroyed the establishment.

        So, it was a tradition before Dartmouth or UMass, then.

        Because students had benefit of clergy that exempted them from the jurisdiction of the king’s courts, angry complaints were filed with the ecclesiastical (Church) courts.

        Notre Dame! BC!

      • rea says:

        Blanche of Castile, regent of France during the minority of Louis IX

        St. Louis and his mom . . .

  7. Trollhattan says:

    “Unduly injure” would seem to leave open the “He had it comin’” and “Just look at that face, it needed punchin’” defenses.

  8. Shakezula says:

    Ooo we used to dream of being drenched with water or urine!

  9. Keaaukane says:

    It could be worse. I hear the freshmen up at Yale get no tail.

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