Today in NC State History: Students begin feeling ‘special’

October 29, 2014
By Chris Saunders

historyIconThe practice of making freshmen wear caps on campus at NC State is something we’ve chronicled over the years, as well as students’ concerns about it in the 1920s and 1930s.

But it turns out that it wasn’t a black-and-white issue. It was on this day in 1924 that NC State’s student government added a nuanced caveat to the requirement with a new designation.

Section 6 of the Freshman RulesĀ  outlined that any man who had registered for the first time and was taking more than one-half freshmen coursework had to wear the cap. That is unless he was designated a “special student.”

Chancellor John T. Caldwell wears a freshman cap.

Former NC State Chancellor John T. Caldwell wears a freshman cap.

“The CouncilĀ  interprets the term ‘Special Student’ to mean a student who is without entrance requirements — but who is permitted to enter college because of his mature age and who selects special courses with a very definite vocational aim, and who is designated by the College authorities as a student of ‘Special Class’ and is not classified as a Freshman,” The Technician reported.

A list of names of those who were exempt accompanied the new addendum to the rule in the paper, as did a warning to those who were not attending assemblies.

“The Council also wishes to call attention to the deplorable falling off in attendance at the college assemblies,” the article stated. “These meetings are very beneficial and everybody on the campus should make it a point to attend every one of them. It the attendanceĀ  does not increase there is a great danger of the college being forced to resort to some method of compulsory attendance, which no one wants.”

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