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At Yale students detonated a bomb, occupied buildings, and drove back a local militia. In an effort to make the punishment as powerful a deterrent as possible, college presidents agreed among themselves not to admit students who had been kicked out of other institutions.
It’s an odd way to think about an institution dedicated to occupational training, if you think about. And how did casual sex, of all things, become synonymous with enjoying one’s higher education?
By 1930, though, women made up 40 percent of the national collegiate population and college was becoming a place where young men and women of the same class mingled relatively unsupervised.
This changed the way fraternity men thought about sex.
To really understand, we have to go back, back three hundred years at least, to when college was not fun at all.
Read: The Top 10 Party Schools In America During the colonial era in the U.
At the time, most students were relatively humble middle-class men studying to be ministers like their professors.
They were generally obedient, but as the eighteenth century came to a close, colleges were increasingly filled with wealthy sons of elite families.Once recreational, it became increasingly competitive. Extracting sexual favors from women who weren’t supposed to give them out became a primary way that frat boys earned the respect and admiration of their brothers.Partly in response, the criteria for membership shifted to reflect the social and sexual functions of fraternity life as much as its economic elitism.As a dean at Princeton put it in 1931, frats still preferred to pledge rich men, but they mostly just wanted members who weren’t “personally unattractive” or, in the parlance of the time, “wet”: “The question of family will enter in only if he wishes to make the most exclusively snobbish upper-crust fraternities or clubs,” the dean wrote, “and even there family cannot prevail over ‘wetness.’”The modern frat boy was born.By this time popular interest in college life had reached a fever pitch and the fraternity man was at the center of the story.The men who started fraternities did so specifically to cultivate values that their professors opposed.