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A Vista at A&M chivalry, loyalty, he-manship in aggieland grant college in the country to maintain its all-male character. Out of this has developed the sometimes amusing, sometimes obnoxious he-man cultism. When, in 1958, the editor of “The Battalion!’ the student newspaper, shockingly took the side of two girls who were trying through the courts to gain admission to A&M, most Aggies were too startled to reply, but many others loudly and publicly accused him of being a traitor and several offered to buy him a one-way train ticket home. The Century Council was divided in its opinion on this subject and no agreement was reached, which means the question will no doubt be pigeonholed for several years. Sensitive to Jokes Meanwhile, A&M leaves itself open to being the butt of countless jokes, as it has been for years. Last year the UT campus humor magazine, The Ranger, reprinted a picture which “The Battalion” had previously run, showing a dancing class at A&M in which only a few boys were dancing with girls recruited from town. Because of the girl shortage the other Aggies were, in dead-pan seriousness, dancing with other Aggies. But Aggies were not so dumb that they didn’t know it was going to spark widespread kidding. The editor’s column next day read: “Well, or Army didn’t think much of picture taken at the MSC dance committee’s weekly dance class. Biggest gripe seemed to be a fear that other schools might see the picture and make jokes about the Aggies. Biggest fear we’ve got about the whole situation is that the Aggies may have forgotten how to laugh at themselves.” Well, alas, on this one point, the Aggies indeed can only muster forced laughter. They are pretty sensitive about the jokes. He-manship at A&M takes many forms. One formdriven underground and almost out of sight in the last couple of years was traditionally an especially sadistic kind of hazing. Bill Nix, a senior and colonel of the corps, says his father \(Agquently having to soak his clothes off in the shower because his buttocks had been bloodied from a beating and the clothes had stuck to his skin. If this did not sharpen the elder Nix’s love for his alma mater, at least it must not have dulled it, Or he had young Nix dolled out in an Aggie uniform at the age of two. Aggies link many of their vital statistics to the school. Many, if not married there at graduation time, go back to be married there; and a significant number take their children back to be christened there. But there is another response. Recently John Houghton Allen, one of those rare Aggies who hates the memory of the school, wrote in the Southwest Review quarterly: “My old man said it would make a man out of me. “Two boys in the cavalry died the year I was there \(this was and another, unable to stand the vicious concupiscence, jumped off the water tower.. Then everybody whispered: He couldn’t take it. They turned out for chapel and observed silence piously, and . . . the upperclassman who had the cursed luck to kill a freshman, Inadvertantly of course and because he hit high, was even commiserated with, for he was a lolly good fellow. . . . “All I remember of that institution like a penitentiary in its desolate black valley like a slough of despond are bare barracks and saltpeter in the food and hazing of a gut-splitting and relentless nature. The terror reigned in its hollow halls. The SPCA would not allow animals to be mistreated as the freshmen were, nor did we come through the ordeal like Comanche braves. “We were as cowardly and sniveling a lot of cadets as ever dirtied their pants. We lost our human dignity. We were masochistic, indoctrinated early. We even put on airs in the cavalry, and did not speak to the other boys that didn’t have hard butts. The cavalry went around with butts calloused like oak, bruised a fine mahogany, very nearly gangrenous. The ideal color was smoked meerschaum.” Bit by Bit But most Aggies have a rich pride in their ability td “take it.” On two occasions when the administration tried to stamp out hazing, the entire student body mutinied. Once was in 1913, when four hundred students demanded that the administration re-admit twenty boys expelled for hazing. The administration responded by kicking out all four hundred, and eventually re-instating only half of them. In 1947, when’ the administration again tried to stamp out hazing by putting the freshmen on a separate campus, the upperclassmen were so enraged that all who had earned their commissions under President Gilchrist marched to his home and resigned them. Nevertheless, bit by bit, the administration has stifled the urge to physically haze, and today they say it has been pretty well stamped out. Most students will tell you the same. But last year a senior was kept from graduating because he had beaten some freshmen with his sabre, and several others were put on probation because they were caught beating freshmen with brooms. A junior class cadet told the Observer that while no boardsthe instrument used back in the spine-breaking days are employed, that some of the cockier cadets do still risk expulsion by beating with brooms, which he assured us, are quite capable of making the recipient black and blue. He said last year, as a soph omore, he was beaten once by a sabre-wielding senior. He said most seniors take a dim view of beating with their sabres, however, because they are liable to behind the blades. There is less bloody but strenuous physical hazing of a different type more readily admitted: forced runs, an exhausting series of push-ups, etc. Sometimes also freshmen are required to do such thingswhich ostensibly sound “helpful”as staying at their desks to study for four or five hours straight, without being able to leave their rooms for anything but going to the toilet, and this only if they obtain a written pass from an upperclassman. Sometimes, too, if the freshmen seem to be becoming lax in their observation of “the code,” they may be lectured to, in a group, from 10:30 or 11 o’clock at night until one or two in the morning. Admitted by everyone is the mental hazing that goes on. Freshmen must know the names, hometown, and major study of every upperclassman in their “outfit,” which may mean several dozen upperclassmen, and they learn this information by being constantly stopped and drilled by the upperclassmen. Freshmen cadets must also “whip out”go out of their way, approaching with back rigidly straight, hand out to shake, introducing themselves to upperclassmen. They must address all upperclassmen as “sir,” and they must show proper deference by speaking only the necessary minimum \(until this year, must feed upperclassmen before eating themselves. Furthermore, they must be expert in “campusology,” and upperclassmen are constantly stopping freshmen to see that they are expert in this. Campusology is, as it sounds, information about every aspect of life on the campus, from biographies of the statues to the definition of dessert “cush.” This probably sounds that only the freshman is hazed. This is not true. Sophomores also catch it from the upperclassmen, and some cadets insist that sophomores are treated even rougher than the freshmen under the “new” system.” The “new” system is comparatively kinder in treatment of men, which the administration has begged and pleaded and demanded of the upperclassmen for so many years that the upper classmen are beginning to relent. The administration frankly tells its student leaders that the freshmen must be treated kinder if the undergraduate college is to survive. It may be, as the administration claims, that the harsh “old army” days at A&M are a thing of the past and that life there today is just a bowl of cherries, but for some reason the growth of the student body is slower than at any major state school in Texas. By comparison, in fact, growth is almost at a standstill. Enrollment Figures Between 1951 and 1961, the student population of Texas Western in El Paso ‘doubled \(2,258 to Texas in Denton also doubled Texas almost doubled \(12,707 to The total growth of the nineteen state schools reflected the same growth in that decade, from more than 52,000 to more than 1CO3000. But A&M dragged along, rising only from 6,582 in 1951 to 8,000 this year. Tagging along at the rear with A&M was Texas Women’s University in Denton, increasing from 1,764 a decade ago to 2,766. Here may lie another pointed explanation: both of these laggard schools limit their enrollment to a single sex. Many students apparently feel that one year at A&M is enough for a lifetime. In 1956, the return rate of freshmen was only fiftyfive percent. Last year, possibly because of the softer policy, the return rate had been increased to sixty-seven percent. But University of Texas registrar Shipp sayS that UT easily hits a return rate of -eighty. percent. Many Aggies delight in the drop-outs, of course, because the drop-outs show that the stay-ins could “take it like men.” There are other aspects of the he-man cult. There is an Aggie saying, “Aggies always fight, but never with each other.” This is strangely true. Despite the constant pressure, underclassmen almost never does one blow up and start a fight with his tormentor. J. B. Hervey, executive secretary of the ex-students association, has been around A&M both as a student and employee for a couple of decades but he says he has ‘never seen two Aggies fighting each other. Others corroborate this. But Aggies fight. For example, not long ago teen-age hooligans in Bryan started getting smart with some Aggies at a drive-in. One of the Aggies returned, gave the “old army fight” signal, and Sooner than it could be done by civil defense evacuation, three dormitories were emptied and ready Aggies were on their way to the brawl. Honest Campus Then there is the bonfire, built just before each football game with the University of Texas. Upperclassmen give at least a week to cutting the timber and freshmen at least three days \(and oftits building, stacking it an estimated one hundred feet high. They all delight in punishing themselves with exhaustion in this way, and it is nothing for one of the students during this period to fall out of his classroom chair, asleep. In fact, among freshmen especially, this kind of exhaustion is not uncommon anytime during the year, because of extra activities forced upon them during the night by upperclassmen. He-manship: A group of Aggies went hunting and brought back their deer and dressed it in the dormitory shower. He-manship: Last year a bunch of cadet freshmen, under orders from an upperclassman, carried a Volkswagen inside a dormitory and up four flights of stairs, depositing it on the topmost inside landing. He-manship: Aggies don’t squeal on each other. It is said traditionally that “no Aggie will lie, cheat or steal.” And it is very true that this is a most honest campus. Few Aggies lock their rooms. But when it comes to cheating, well, Aggies are like students anywhere else. In fact, Aggies are sometimes more so. Right after the war, a GI-trained safecracker went to A&M and on at least one occasion he went through a lock to find out for his classmates what tomorrow’s test read like. A business administration professor said that a couple of years ago one of his sophomore classes hired a senior to sit just outside the door during a test; then the questions were handed around the corner to him, and he worked them and handed them back in, after which they were circulated secretly among the students. Only, the senior was a dope and flunked the examinationas did, of course, all the sophomores inside, except one boy who, accidentally, was seated too far from his buddies to be handed a copy of the senior’s answers. And one English class got together the night before an exam and agreed on the answers they would give to each question. Sure enough, every answer was the same, and every answer was wrong. A&M had for years tried to get an honor system instituted but without success because no Aggie will squeal , on another. Last year, the administration got the student leaders to agree to accept an honor system. But has it worked? Eight civilian students \(out of several thouhad heard of any Aggie cadet sing called up for cheating. As one official put it, “That honor system looks pretty on paper, but I think that’s about the extent of it.” But along with this barbarian side, the Aggies have a very chivalrous and even sophisticated side. For eight years the Aggies have beet putting onwith all funds raised by the students, and it about $15,000, and without guidance from the faculty the “Student Conference on National Affairs,” to which student leaders from Canada and Mexico and 25 states are brought to hear and talk with such men as Hubert Humphrey, Maj. Gen. John Medaris, William Lawrence, Walter Judd, and Clarence Manion. And last year seven A&M graduates were admitted to the Harvard school of businessmore than were accepted from any other college or university in the Southwest. Also, if Aggies lose something in social graces by their all-male environment, they gain something as well: an almost old-fashioned regard for women and strangers. Absolutely no cadet would think of whistling at a girl. All Aggies say “howdy” to strangers on the campus. This is nice, but some people have been heard to grumble mildly after replying to the hundredth howdy. The Cadet Corps These traditions were born in