The Wittenberg Torch has been publishing papers for years. After the Torch staff was recently given access to the paper archives, I felt it necessary to go and see what it was all about.
Large green books lay dusty on a shelf in the library, each containing several years of the Torch and the issues printed that year. After sifting through the musty smelling pages, I stumbled upon an issue published on September 9, 1968, which is 50 years ago this week.
During that week, some 50 years ago, Wittenberg was in the process of hiring a new Associate Dean of Students, Dean Roger W. Turneau. Hailing from Purdue University, Turneau served there as the assistant Dean of Men for two years. Turneau said he was “looking forward to a year of increased student involvement and participation in university policy making.”
Other news in the academic world that week included three new additions to faculty. Two professors were introduced to the political science department: William Buscemi and Richard Flickinger. Robert Cutter, a Springfield native who also graduated from Purdue, joined the history department that year as well.
After skimming further through the paper, I immediately noticed several major cultural differences. First, there was an article discussing a freshman student who had been the recipient of a General Motors four year scholarship. The article referred to the freshmen student as a “frosh” several times, including in the headline of the article.
Another example was found in a small article and ad for “Panhellenic rush.” The article stated that there was to be an event with tea held in the “student union” to educate and inform any students interested in going through recruitment. As a sorority member myself, the use of the word “rush” raised just about every red flag in the book.
In both of these examples, the terms used would now be considered hazing. Calling a freshman student a “frosh” is considered to be a degrading term, even if its most often used as just a slang term for freshmen.
In regard to the sorority recruitment, sororities aren’t permitted to call recruitment “rush” because again, that term is associated with hazing. If any sorority at Wittenberg were to advertise using the term “rush” instead of recruitment, there would certainly be some repercussions.
On the other hand, there were countless groups, programs and events mentioned that are still around today.
For example, one article celebrated three Witt students that were recently admitted to the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en Provence, France. The three upperclassmen students were to spend the next semester in France taking classes studying the fine arts, social and political sciences and, of course, French.
Today, studying abroad is a crowned jewel at Wittenberg. The university takes pride in its successful abroad programs including Witt in Witt and Witt in Costa Rica.
Wittenberg football was also wildly successful. They crushed Capital University in their opening game that year, securing their 11th opening season win for the team. The team also hadn’t been shutout in the last 43 games. Even 50 years ago, Witt football was still kicking butt and taking names.
Although the times have greatly changed, Witt was and continues to be a thriving and successful school.