On this day in Stanford history …


The feature “On this day in Stanford history” details unusual or humorous events that occurred on the same date or week in past years from The Daily archives.

According to The Stanford Daily archives, on May 30 in …

1900: Members of the senior class planted ivy from Oxford, England, at the base of Memorial Church, introducing an old Yale tradition to Stanford campus. The event was accompanied by readings from Alfred Lord Tennyson and a “double quartette of male voices.”

1924: “To avoid being trampled to death by the chivalrous males who plow their way down the sidewalks is a serious problem facing the Stanford women,” wrote an irate staffer, who went on to provide tips and tricks to avoid getting hit on by such males. The feature ended with this short script:

“He (to her at a dance) – Who’s the slick woman?

Her (witheringly) – An import.

He (enthusiastically) – I’m all for foreign trade.”

1929: With finals week approaching, a warning was printed in The Daily on behalf of the Honor Code Committee detailing a list of suspicious test-taking activities to watch out for. Among them were students who wrote their exams “in the library, a car or at home,” or who “[made] an effort to sit with friends when there is plenty of room to sit apart.”

Meanwhile, Lud Frentrup took home the Roos Brothers Punting Trophy with an average of 55 yards per kick, barely edging out classmate Al Nisbet.

1934: On the morning of the Masque Ball for undergraduates, the ball’s “queen” Eleanor Harris was abducted by fraternity members and held blindfolded in a shack for 13 hours. The kidnappers said they intended the abduction as a hoax, but finally confessed after being confronted by administrators.

In response to the innocuous punishment they received, an angry Daily staffer wrote, “The merciful tendencies of Stanford authorities are to be commended; the cold, cold world will not be so lenient with those who try this kind of a stunt once they are away from the protecting wing of Mother University.” Meanwhile, in another op-ed, a student declared that “anyone who runs for student office is nuts. I suggest anarchy.”

1945: The intramural civilian softball team faced off against the Army softball team in a final match, but The Daily had trouble predicting the outcome, as the Army team had been practicing every Wednesday in “comparative obscurity.” The Army team planned to “kick the pie” out of the civilian team, but the civilians were counting on  “mighty valuable utility man” Joe Pickering to give them a run for their money.

1959: An article titled, “Two types of students present at Stanford” decried the fact that most students wanted to be busy for the sake of busyness and that the school had not yet lost its “country club image” (“such a makeup leaves the student body deficient of people who have experienced the harder realities of life – want, disappointment, disgust, personal tragedy, etc.,” said the staffer). Meanwhile, two monkeys returned safely from space for the first time.

1973: University officials decided to suspend the Delta Tau Delta fraternity from campus for two years in response to a number of complaints of misconduct. Neighboring residents claimed that members of the row house “threw rocks and bottles through house windows, fired pellet guns at car and house windows and set fire to a mattress on their own front lawn.”

Fraternity members responded that “some members feel they may as well live up to an image they believe they already have on the campus.”

John McEnroe, who in 1978 won the NCAA singles championship at the young age of 18 (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

1978: An 18-year-old freshman by the name of John McEnroe won the men’s tennis NCAA singles championship over 22 -year-old senior John Sadri of North Carolina State. A year later, McEnroe would win the first of his seven singles Grand Slams, eventually becoming one of the great figures in the history of the sport.

1986: New information emerged linking former Navy analyst and Stanford student Jonathan Jay Pollard to an Israeli espionage ring operating in the U.S. Pollard had been arrested in November on charges of providing classified information to Israel, but the Israelis denied the allegations, claiming Pollard acted on his own behalf. Pollard has remained in prison for life until his release on parole in 2015.

1993: A Daily columnist, writing of her long-distance New York boyfriend, waxed poetic on her sexual frustration to readers: “Folks, I am here to tell you now, that in a one-room triple, phone sex does not happen — not even if you are the quickest gun in the West. Yep, not even one ounce of phone foreplay. So yes, I am sexually frustrated. I’ll admit it, when Pete Hyuck’s butt was shaven I was disgusted, but it still turned me on. Long showers with the right water pressure are my salvation. And my personal favorite is walking over a sewer grill on a cold morning and having the warm air blow up my skirt. It is so bad that cycling down the bumpy hill by Meyer Library and the spin cycle on the wash-o-matic are my ideas of safe sex.”


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