The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, April 01, 1987, Image 2

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    Page 2/The Battalion/Wednesday, April 1, 1987
Enthusiasm for tradition has obscured factset
Call them ideal
ists, dreamers or
just plain gullible,
but the people
who tell you that
Texas A&M’s tra
ditions are waning
have heard
Grandpa Aggie’s
stories one too
many times.
After spending
a few nights ■
looking through old
2,000 cadets were generating daily com
The truth is that Aggies never were
the perfectly polite, refined young men
many of us envision. They booed and
yelled obscene things at sporting events
and were even vulgar toward actresses
in campus plays.
editions of The
Battalion dating back to the late 1800s,
I’ve come to the conclusion that one of
the biggest traditions at A&M is talking
about traditions.
Much of the rhetoric we hear today
about our once-friendly campus and
how polite, clean-cut and honest Aggies
used to be isn’t very original. Students
at A&M have been voicing concern
about the loss of these values for at least
65 years.
In 1924, a student wrote in The Bat
talion, “We must admit that there is a
certain element in the student body
which is a disgrace to the school when it
goes into action in theatres and other
public places.
“. . . That this is a serious problem
and demands immediate action as is in
dicated by various complaints we hear
every day.”
Student behavior must have been a
legitimate concern during the Roaring
’20s when you consider that less than
In 1933, The
Battalion wrote in
a review of the ca
det’s behavior at a
play, “. . . we find
that this same
Corps of Cadets
has been erro
neously charac
terized and that
the following
(which included most all of them) to
stop being so rude toward the motorists
who gave them rides. Evidently, their
behavior was causing motorists to stop
picking them up.
“When we learn to give motorists the
benefit of doubt, to display even a mite
of courtesy, and to respect the rights of
And there was vandalism back in
A&M’s good old days, too. A 1948 Bat
talion editorial explained, “Some stu
dents . . . entered the band’s dormitory
and opened a hot water line on the top
floor. The escaping steam and water ru
ined instruments, radios, uniforms and
other personal effects to an estimated
value of $ 1,000.
revive this tradition which wason^
prevalent on this campus..
li may have been prevalent mikfe^
1800s when the entire student Cl •
consisted of cousins and friends oft]
but by 1932, and of course tea
“. . . we find that this same Corps of Cadets has been erroneously
characterized and that the following terms — discorteous, undisci
plined — fit the cause better with the addition of moronic, banal
and asinine. ”
— The Battalion, 1933
“. . . Even our fa
vorite term of two-
percenter fails us
saying “Howdy” to everyone you
on campus is not only impractical,n
terms — discorteous, undisciplined —fit
the cause better with the addition of mo
ronic, banal and asinine.”
A 1931 editorial exposes similar
problems with student behavior. “It is
easier to be graceful winners than los
ers, but before we can consider our
selves sportsman-like and gentlemanly,
we should train ourselves to be able to
accept defeat without rudely expressing
our sentiments to our guests.”
I only looked through about 60 old
Battalions, spanning almost 100 years,
but I found enough editorials on such
topics to safely say that students’ bad
manners were a big issue back in the
early days.
At one point, The Battalion even
made a plea to hitchhiking cadets
Tradition missing at A&M
Editor’s Note: The following anonymous
editorial originally appeared in The Battal
ion April 10, 1919 and was entitled “What
does A. and M. lack?”
Ask yourself this question. Answer it
for yourself after excluding all minor
and insignificant trivialities. What is vi
tally missing? What would make this in
stitution greater? What would make you
love it more? What would make its grad
uates love it more? What would make all
people respect it more? Is it not TRA
DITIONS? Not in the sense of tales of
the past. But in the sense of something
that would connect the present with the
past history of the school. Something
that would touch deep below the surface
of commonplace matters. Something
that would fill the freshmen with awe
and the graduate with love. Something
that would make your college a place in
your heart and give you something to
carry away with you that all thru life
would thrill you at thoughts of your
Alma Mater.
with his name interwoven in another
story to go down to the coming classes.
The new man has not the respect for the
institution that he had years ago. The
man leaving the institution has not the
thrilling and exciting adventures to re
call that were for the men of other days.
Something must be done.
We offer the following as a possible
means of supplying this lacking charac
ter to some extent:
F.very great school and college in the
world has its traditions. They are sacred
to its sons. To a great extent these tradi
tions are lacking at A. and M. Too many
students come for a year or two and go
their way lightheartedly. Too few of
those who enter remain until they de
part as graduates. Too many fail to see
the seriousness of a man’s college. Too
many take the daily incidents and occur
ences as all that the college has to offer.
Too few consider that this is their step
ping stone to life and that manhood
comes to them while in the Halls of this
old institution.
What can alter these conditions?
What can change matters? What can
create traditions for the college? What
can create an atmosphere of serious
ness, age and love about the institution?
This is a most difficult question. This
school is different from most great
collges. Conditions are not the same as
are found at the universities, the very
names of which stand for all that could
be desired along this line to every citizen
of the country. We must work out our
problem for ourselves.
Would iunot be a great thing for the
College if every class that graduates in
the future leave some permanent me
morial on the campus for the daily ob
servation of the new classes? Would it
not be a greater thing if every class that
has gone out from the old halls should
return to leave a similar memorial of
themselves? If these two things were
done, would not the freshman be met
with something that touches deeper
than the belt and bayonet of farmer
days? Would not the man leaving the
college have more in his heart to re
member and love than as things now
are? Would not the graduate feel more
interest in his Alma Mater if he knew
that the symbol of his class was being da
ily honored and respected by the stu
dents in school? Would there not be a
more inviting atmosphere for an occa
sional return of graduate classes?
Would there not be inspiration for re
unions at the college during active ses
sions when the young men in atten
dance would meet and greet the older
ones who have gone before? On the
whole, would not a student at the col
lege take himself and his school more
seriously? Would there not be an inde
scribable something constantly at work
on his conscience urging him to stick the
fight out and do his best? Would there
not be an elevated standard at the col
lege in regard to all things if such condi
tions could come to pass?
There was a time when the retold
tales of various fights, trips and games
served this purpose. That day is long
past. We have outlived our name of
“Roughnecks.” Such things are past his
tory. The telling of such incidents no
longer thrill the Fish and give him a
consuming desire to leave the college
Think it over. If you believe what has
been said, work for it. Keep on working.
Read what will be said in future editions
concerning this phase of the college.
The officials of the institution will be
asked to contribute their opinions from
time to time. Consider them. And if the
traditions of the A. and M. College can
be revived and presented in permanent
form to the coming classes and if the
graduate can be made to love his Alma
Mater more, you yourself will come to
love and appreciate the years of your
life spent here as will never be possible
The Battalion
(USPS 045 360)
Member of
Texas Press Association
Southwest Jou rnalism Conference
The Battalion Editorial Board
Loren Steffy, Editor
Marybeth Rohsner, Managing Editor
Mike Sullivan, Opinion Page Editor
Jens Koepke, City Editor
Jeanne Isenberg, Sue Krenek, News Editors
Homer Jacobs, Sports Editor
Tom Ownbey, Photo Editor
Editorial Policy
The Battalion is a non-profit, self-supporting newspaper oper
ated as a community service to Texas A&M and Bryan-College Sta
Opinions expressed in The Battalion are those of the editorial
board or the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions
of Texas A&M administrators, faculty or the Board of Regents.
The Battalion also serves as a laboratory newspaper for students
in reporting, editing and photography classes within the Depart
ment of Journalism.
The Battalion is published Monday through Friday during
Texas A&M regular semesters, except for holiday and examination
Mail subscriptions are $17.44 per semester, $34.62 per school
year and $36.44 per full year. Advertising rates furnished on re
Our address: The Battalion, Department of Journalism, Texas
A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4111.
Second class postage paid at College Station, TX 77843.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Battalion, De
partment of Journalism, Texas A&M University, College Station
TX 77843-4111.
our touring hosts, the possibilities of our
hitch-hiking opportunities will increase
immensely,” an Aggie wrote in 1949.
Even the Aggie Code of Honor —Ag
gies don’t-lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate
those who do — was violated enough to
merit editorials.
A 1940 editorial entitled “Thou SHalt
Not Steal” proclaimed, “It is difficult to
reconcile oneself to the fact that ther^
are thieves among the student body ot
“. . . Yet, certain petty thefts occur
ring from time to time, as well as rarer
larger ones, form conclusive evidence
(that there are thieves) . . .”
The editorial sounds strikingly simi
lar to some of the responses The Battal
ion got from students when we ran a
story this semester about A&M having
more thefts for the 1985-86 school year
than any other Southwest Conference
I also happened
to land on an inter
esting 1933 edito
rial about vandal
ism. It seems that
some students kept
puses in J
shooting out with their rifles a lamp on
campus called “Prexy’s Moon.” Appar
ently, it was extremely expensive to
keep replacing the “traditional” light
and the editorial writer said that if the
students didn’t stop breaking the lamp,
“it would be relegated to the ranks of
has-beens and become only a memory."
Japan as
proves ci
A&M pre
It’s funny how looking at ourselit! a nun
Grandpa’s mirror makes usfee!iA&M. th
we’re not living up to the lofty stai 1H g ,
of yesteryear when, in fact, Aggiep Th e l
carrying on today as they alwaysU Trade E:
only in greater numbers! If. 3 ™* 1 ; ^
' ° latinos lie
It's easy to glorify A&M’s past<j dents wo
talking late at night with frier,:! campuses
showing our parents around ( j
but as one Aggie wrote in 1933
the quality of the Aggie hand,
times . . . we are inclined toallowoui
thusiasm to obscure the actual fact!
I guess vandalism replaced “Prexy’s
Moon” as tradition because no one I’ve
talked with has ever heard of the once-
famous lamp.
Mike Sullivan is a
senior jourau
major and the Opinion Pageedk
The Battalion.
And then there’s one of my favorite
tradition topics — the “Howdy Tradi
tion.” Aggies have been fighting the tide
with that “tradition” since at least 1932.
Sounding much like a modern-day
Mail Call writer, an Aggie explained in
1932 that the “Howdy Tradition” had
fallen, saying, “Let’s think it over and
I hc Farmer’s Write co/trmnkife in Thursday's issue fromtm
l.rwis Ct is/aixl will no longerrur^ ^ ( OS i
Richard ('.ohm 's columa wilhpfc: nai | ts kil| (
Monday. Wedncsdas and Fndii& s j on wert .
dons \ new feature, Once upfci astionaui
Hint m Aggiriund . .wtfl apperi Tuesday i
Tuesday editions beginninpv McCaill
week. The new feature will cofisu support f<
old columns and editorials miifcz gram. Sp<
m The Battalion rnanv yearsayo. tors Socie
est<-d in
h(unan u
pared the
He con
dies expk
ott pai
Pole, and
price over
i;: “You ji
known wit
Mail Call
Catcall tradition
I became extremely disappointed while doing a
bit of studying in my dorm room. Sitting by an open
window, I heard shouts of approval — and a few of
dissapproval — coming from neighboring windows while
members of the opposite sex crossed the parking lot below.
“Just a few guys afflicted with spring fever,” I thought,
feeling sure they would quiet themselves soon. Up until
this time, they had kept their remarks turned down,
anyway. As more buddies joined in the “fun” though, the
catcalls became a little ruder and much louder.
My tradition suffers; I don’t “whoop,” nor do I
particularly get a thrill out of standing for a whole footbal
game. I do know, though, how easy it is fora few
individuals to negatively influence the reputation of
almost any institution. Right now, I’m part of this one.
Mark Figart ’90
Break tradition
And all this time I thought this was a University (you
know, where you go to get an advanced education after
you’ve conquered the basic how-to’s of life).
You know who you are, guys. Surely I need not take
this space to explain those basics on common courtesy.
And since it will take more time than I have to teach you
that genuine interest, not just courtesy, can be a motivator
of kindness, I must ask you to rely on what I assume you
know about — consideration for other persons. (Yes, I
know what might happen because I assumed). Just try to
remember to be nice. Not every body is sd lucky-to be as
“popular” as you are.
To put it in a perspective not so personal, imagine this:
Mr. and Mrs. Proudly happen to be walking through this
parking lot with their pretty teen-age daughter who can’t
wait to become an Aggie. They unmistakably hear
someone scream, “Hey, Buffalo, Sbisa’s that way!” To
comfort their not-so-chubby daughter (well, she is a bit
hefty), they convince her the remark was certainly made
toward the 5’10” 135 lb. tan model on the red scooter.
Suddenly, however, Mom and Dad aren’t so convinced
that A&M is the place for baby Sal’ to goj We (A&M
students) get a bad reputation because );ou goofed.
Spring has come to Bryan-College Station, andloveis
in the air. In these next few months, as in years past,man'
Aggies will fall in love, become engaged and get married
Many gentlemen will display their devotion to theirlaefc
through the gift of a glittering diamond ring, which isa
lovely token of affection. But do not be misled by the
diamond’s charms — for all its surface dazzle, thediamoid
is cruel at heart.
The overwhelming majority of diamonds boughtand
sold in America come from the mines of the mostungodl'
nations in the world: South Africa. South Africa is a
country where the black majority cannot even vote for
change. Black workers labor under miserable conditions
for small wages, while the white minority sells the
diamonds for their own enrichment and to fund the
continuation of their opressive system.
Marriage is perhaps the oldest tradition in the world,
and to many of us the diamond engagement ringseems#
essential part of that tradition. But, please, think a bit
more before you buy that diamond. Wouldn’t another
stone be just as beautiful and mea ingful? And wouldn’t
you feel better about yourself?
Shoshana Kaminsky, visitor to campus
Letters to the editor should not exceed 300 words in length. The editorial si
serves the right to edit letters for style and length, but will make evert (jf 1 '
maintain the author's intent. Each letter must be signed and must includelli/‘ f
sification, address and teleplume number of the writer.