Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hazing Injury Stops Practice for One Week

We last left the Rice campus with a hazing injury. The next day, immediate action was taken by the administration.


Friday September 15th, 1939

Conference to Be Held Next Week to Decide If Practice Will Be Banned on Campus Hereafter. ______

Hazing of Rice Institute freshmen, a campus tradition of more than 20 years standing, was excluded Friday from the registration day routine this year as a result of the injury to one of the new students during initiation ceremonies Thursday. 

The decision to stop hazing for the remainder of the week was reached Thursday afternoon at a conference of university officials and sophomore class officers. Another conference will be held early next week to determine whether registration day hazing will be permitted on the campus hereafter. 

Richard Wier, 17, of Dallas was the injured freshman. Wier suffered a broken ankle when a cartload of sophomores rolled over his left ankle. He had fallen in front of the gardener's cart filled with about 20 sophomores, which the freshmen "slimes" were forced to drag around the campus. 

* * *
Ink, Paint, Polish Applied.

As he lay in his hospital bed, Wier still bore the stains of ink, paint and shoe polish on his chest and face, in spite of vigorous hospital administration of turpentine. his father, Austin S. Wier, Dallas lawyer, hurried to his son's bedside Thursday afternoon. 

Girl students are never initiated until the first Friday of regular classes  termed on campus "Fish Friday." Plans are still under way for the annual make snake dance through downtown Main Street, scheduled for Friday night of next week, Robert Knox, sophomore class secretary-treasurer said. 

The pajama parade, for which slimes will again receive a coat of "war paint," procedes the first home football game each year. The parade will be climaxed in a giant pep rally at Main and Texas preceding the Rice-Vanderbilt football game the following night, according to present plans. 

More than half of Rice's 400 freshmen and 900 upperclassmen had enrolled by 5 p.m. Thursday. Enrollment continued Friday.

New students who have not yet presented entrance records are to register early Saturday. The list of those accepted will be posted during the morning and registration of these students will follow immediately. Monday registration of Jewish students, who could not enroll Thursday and Friday during the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana, will complete the enrollment this year. Classes begin at 8 a.m. Monday.

Social life has a head start on academic work this year, with the first college danced slated for 9 p.m. Saturday. The dance formally opening the college season at Rice is the first of the regular Saturday night affairs sponsored by students. It will be held at the Arabia Temple, with Fay Godfrey's Orchestra playing. 

Today, hazing is illegal in most states including Texas. It certainly wasn't illegal in 1939. It seems the Institue did take immediate action and suspended some of the hazing, but only for a week. It will be interesting to see how this hazing incident affected practice at Rice that year. Sadly, despite strict hazing laws, hazing continues and at least one college student dies every year as a result of hazing. Hazing practices have escalated in severity, as the nature of hazing each year to out due the hazing done to them. The practice continues to be at the center of university greek life and sports teams and clubs throughout the country. Sadly, injuries continue to make headlines with little change in effect on behavior. 


  1. I had to look Hazing up on Wiki thinking it was just somting that happened un the US but was very supprised to see it is wold wide but then thinking about it they used to do it to apprentices. My mate and I escaped one where they blued your genitals (engineers blue)by jumping out the toilet windows. No way was that stuff going on my nuts

    1. It is a world wide phenomenon, though I think in the states it may be more ingrained. I'm glad you got away Bill!

  2. You are so right. And hazing is wrong. I'm glad it's illegal, and that law should be strictly enforced. It escalates so fast! It goes from the apparently harmless stunt of dancing down the street in your pajamas to really, really dangerous stuff, like burying people up to their necks and leaving them to figure a way out. You are correct that each hazing tries to "outdo" the last one. That's just the way people are.

    I shudder to think what the secret hazings of the 21st century will be. My advice: Somebody call 911!

    Thanks for calling attention to this kind of bullying.

    1. It is sad, that more than 70 years since Ethel wrote this article and despite stricter hazing and bullying laws, both continue to e such a problem isn't it. Ethel's tone doesn't imply that it was considered a big cultural problem in 1939, so at least there is some progress. Thanks, for you thoughtful comment, Mariann!


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