The Oredigger Reissued: Agitation

The Oredigger newspaper has been a part of Mines culture since the 1920s. Decades of publication show how Mines has changed and yet stayed the same over nearly a century. It is time to reissue some of these old news stories. So take a look, have a laugh, and remember the rich history of the School of Mines.

With the M-climb concluded and the professors having read through their syllabi, the school year is now in full swing. The new class of freshman has settled in well, joining clubs, meeting professors, and are now slowly coming to the realization that Physics I will be, for lack of better words, “interesting.”

Mines has not always been a welcoming environment for new students; past Mines freshman have certainly not been so lucky.

In the 1960s, freshmen orientation was referred to as Agitation and was more akin to school sanctioned hazing than anything resembling orientation. Agitation was organized by the Blue Key society and overseen by the “Senior Court,” which enforced participation. An article which appeared in the September 25th, 1962 Oredigger paper provides some interesting insight into the life of a 1960s Mines freshman in the form of a warning to upperclassmen overstepping the boundaries of Agitation. Of course, the M-climb was still tradition but the week leading up to the hike was full of freshmen being delayed arriving to classes and harassed by upperclassmen. This went as a far as “the use of foul language,” and “manhandling of freshmen.”

Things went so far as students starting a “brawl” on Guggenheim lawn, now known as Kafadar commons, by which the administration was distinctly unimpressed.

Although not in the September 25th article, other Oredigger issues mention that freshmen were not allowed to have facial hair and that there were instances of upperclassmen forcibly shaving off offending beards and moustaches.

One particular instance which was brought to the attention of the school administration was the story of a freshman who parked his car on campus to attend class. When he returned to his car after class, upperclassmen had broken into his car, left him a note complete with a skull and crossbones stating ‘freshman do not drive on campus’ and opened all the windows.

Unfortunately for the new Oredigger, it happened to rain that day. The most dire charge levied by the article was “damage to school property.”

During the course of the 1962 Agitation, some upperclassmen flooded the chemistry building, causing significant damage and forcing the Administration to threaten cancelling the rest of the events of Agitation.

Mines, of course, ended Agitation as a tradition and created the current Orientation program. Mines has progressed immensely from the intervention half a century ago, but it is important to remember where Mines has made mistakes in the past. Freshmen should live in fear of Physics, not the upperclassmen.


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