“There shall be no social clubs, local, fraternity, or sorority”

It’s going to take a couple of posts to get through this but I’ll begin with the Matriculation Pledge that all new freshmen were required to sign in 1950:


And here is the 1922 document referred to in the pledge, which was read aloud to the assembled student body at the very end of the 1922 academic year.  It bears close reading:



The third paragraph of the resolution would have been crystal clear (and quite pointed) to those assembled in the Physics Amphitheater that noon but I realize that it likely appears completely opaque to a reader to day. I’ll try to explain it tomorrow.

Bonus: They’re relocating a playing field.



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11 Responses to “There shall be no social clubs, local, fraternity, or sorority”

  1. grungy1973 says:

    The former prairie cleared completely?

  2. joecwhite says:

    “honoured” and “honour” caught my eye, as well as “residential colleges”

    • Michael Ross says:

      On the latter, I’d understood that early on Lovett wanted Rice to have a Yale-like residential college system. But, of course, that living arrangement wasn’t actually established until 1956. Were the early dorms — East Hall et al — routinely called “residential colleges”, as seems to be the case in this statement? What were the reasons that it took so long for Lovett’s residential college system to be realized?

  3. Buddy Chuoke says:

    Not sure what the Rice Administration was afraid of in barring social clubs, fraternities, and sororities from the Rice campus in 1922…unless it was students having a little fun and a life outside of academia. By 1922, plenty of American colleges including the Ivy League schools, Duke, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, et al had thriving Greek systems that added to collegiate life. Didn’t appear to threaten their educational mission. What were the Rice trustees and faculty thinking?

  4. Bill Allison says:

    I am going to guess it had to do with drinking, since this was prohibition?
    How did the literary societies get by this ban? Obviously “social clubs” meant something else!

  5. marmer01 says:

    I think in this sense “residential colleges” means “institutions of higher learning that have dorms.” My understanding of Rice history was that many of the early leaders, and especially President Lovett, had a strong antipathy to the wild behavior and hazing of many fraternities at other colleges. That, plus a generally less edgy raison d’être, is probably why the “literary societies” thrived.

  6. almadenmike says:

    An article on page 2 of the Jan 13, 1977, Thresher https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/67134/thr19770113.pdf?sequence=1) stated:

    Acting upon a recommendation from the Committee on Student Affairs, President Hackerman has officially approved the following revised wording of the Matriculation Pledge which each student signs upon entering the University:

    “The following pledge is in the spirit of a policy established by the Trustees and faculty of the Rice Institute in June 1922:

    While I remain a student at Rice University, I hereby agree (1) not to be a member of any social fraternity or sorority on the Rice campus, and (2) not to participate in any hazing.”

    The former wording of the Pledge, which the Committee found unclear and difficult to enforce, was as follows:

    “The following resolutions were adopted by the Trustees and the Faculty of the Rice Institute in June 1922: (1) there shall be no social clubs, local, fraternity, or sorority. (2) there shall be no hazing.

    “While I remain a student at Rice University, I hereby agree to abide by the letter and the spirit of these resolutions.”

  7. Kermit Lancaster says:

    I wonder how well they enforced the hazing rule. My first semester at Rice, the fall of 1973, I recall seeing some hazing of the incoming members of the football team.

    • grungy1973 says:

      The pit where the greased pole once stood still existed in ’73, between The MOB’s practice field and the gym. Was that activity not hazing? Dragging dead fish around? Wearing freshling beanies?

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