I have to go give a talk so I have no time to compose one of my graceful and elegant posts tonight. Instead I’ll just give you something to ponder: gatesitting. It was a thing for quite  a while. Sometimes they did it for fun, but sometimes there seems to have been a hazing aspect to it. This first (blurry) one came from the scrapbook of Elmer Shutts, ’16:

And this was taken by our friend Carl Knapp, also ’16:

It’s impossible to say what they were thinking.


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12 Responses to Gatesitting

  1. Wow. This is a tradition that needs restarting. This was totally not done between 1975 and 81. I was shooting for the Thresher and Campanile, someone would have asked me to take a photo.

  2. James Medford says:

    Not quite as exciting as trainspotting.

  3. effegee says:

    Yeah, Walter, all that fun stuff pretty much stopped in the ’60’s after the helicopter was used to retrieve the beanie from the pole in the “slime pit” while it was full of guys! Of course, IIRC, Baker 13 started during those years….

  4. Tell us more about the beanie incident, please

  5. effegee says:

    Before I became an undergrad, I remember seeing a photo in The Houston Chronicle of a small helicopter being used to fetch the beanie from atop the “greased pole” in the slime pit. (The “greased pole” being a “tradition” that was still practiced 1964-65, but was gone by 1969-70.)

    According to the September 14, 1964, Freshman Orientation edition of The Rice Thresher (see on page 4, article on hazing), the helicopter incident occurred “last year” which would be the 1963-64 academic year. Enterprising Hanszen men rented a chopper and snatched the beanie away while the other participants were trying to pyramid their way up the greased pole in the slime pit.

    I haven’t located an online copy of the photo, although it almost surely must have been enshrined in a yearbook or Thresher.

  6. Amanda Focke, Woodson Reserach Center says:

    I seem to recall gatesitting as a form of freshmen hazing in the very early days, where the guys had to stay perched up there for hours at a stretch and bow to the female students as they passed by. The Otto Eisenlohr letters describe this, I’m pretty sure. The letters are online and transcripts will be up soon, but if you go there search keyword “freshmen” you will get some letters relevant to hazing in those days….

  7. Kathy says:

    What strikes me is the lack of trees and other greenery around the gates…so you know they’re old pictures!

  8. mattnoall says:

    You would not have wanted to do this on the 70’s when the campus had the cowbird infestation. The gate area (aka the “Magic Forest” was probably the worst spot on the whole campus. Of course if this was hazing that would only have encouraged some folks. 🙂


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