This Week in Colorado History: A Ruckus on Campus

“Serenity at the School of Mines was disturbed” by the wearing of a white collar this week in 1905 according to “The Colorado Transcript.” Nine students were suspended after a couple of altercations, with terms of suspension lasted from two weeks to one year.

First, W.C. Rambo was suspended for attacking George Holderer after Holderer went to a lecture wearing a white collar. This was apparently a violation of unwritten rules at Mines at the time. “The Transcript” provided no word on why this was against unwritten rules.

Additionally, the other students were suspended for their participation in the “soph-freshie roughhouse,” an altercation between the freshman and sophomore classes. Apparently, it was quite the to-do, as one sophomore was seriously injured by a rock thrown by senior T.P. Ellis.

The announcement of the suspensions precipitated a discussion of a student strike until the suspended students were allowed to return. Both the senior and sophomore classes presented, but subsequently withdrew petitions on the subject.

Furthering the saga, a rumor emerged that the freshmen were to charge the sophomores $10 for admission to the upcoming freshman ball. “The Colorado Transcript” suggested that school authorities “secure one of Ex-Warden Hoyt’s spanking machines and apply it vigorously.”

Construction of the Gunnison tunnel, part of the Uncompahgre irrigation project near Montrose, Colorado, was likely to be put on hold after the secretary of the interior rejected all three bids received for the project. The lowest bid was $1,541,000 by J.G. White & Co., but the reclamation service considered the bid excessive and argued that they could complete the project on their own for $300,000 less than the J.G. White & Co. bid. A previous attempt to build the tunnel had failed, leading Secretary of the Interior Hitchcock to believe that bidders were conspiring to ruin the project.

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