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A War Against Frats

A War Against Frats image
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"Attention - Indignation Meeting. The eitizens of Ann Arbor are requested to meet at the court house this evening, at 6 o'clook, to take into consideration the conduct of the Faculty of the University of Michigan in expeiling all .students belonging to secret societies!" This is a copy of an old handbill exhibited in Mack's store down town. It was issued in 1849, but no indignation meeting was held as it was simply an attempt of students to stir up citizens. Prof. Andrew TenBrook, who was then acting president of the University, gave the Students' Register a full account of the matter. Among other rules governing students in 1846 was the following: "No student shall be or becomo a member of aoy society connected with the university or composed of students, which has not first submitted its constitution to the faculty and received their approbation." In that year some boys were found living in a cabin in the woods where Forest Hill cemetery now stands, who said they belonged to a secret society. War followed, and the faculty decided to let the members remain in college but to pledge all new corners against joining such organizations. Thua the fraternities would disappear when the members graduated in 18-49. But the societies did not expire at the given time. They grew and flourished outside the college grounds. Nominally they were not connected with the university but with Ann Arbor. At the close of the first term, in 1849, the I faculty announced that those students who were members of the fraternities should lose all connection with the university unless they renounced the societies entirely. Then the battle began. A very small rebellion with an enthusiastic party of students against a determined faculty. There was no sleep for college or town on the night following the faculties' declaration. Battle cries were heard, wliile the country around was iighted by the burning woodslie-.'.s, barrels, boards- everything combustible the angry frat men could find. A report of the affair was prepured. Some students entered president TenBrook's house and stealing the document chaiiged some of the dignified sentences to slang and had it published. The copies they distributed through the legislature to bring down war on the heads of faculty members. Tho plan failed, though Prof. TenBrook says he cannot to this day imagine how or by whom the report Was stolen. After muoh angry discussion the matter quietly closed ; and though the fraternity men did not renounce allegiance to their societies, they remained in college.


Old News
Ann Arbor Register