Today in NC State History: Students stand up for dance chance

April 28, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconIt all began with a bonfire on on campus close to the 1911 Building on this day in 1938.

Student protestors used the fire to kick off a string of fiery demonstrations to show their agitation at the faculty council’s decision to prohibit the Interfraternity Council’s finals dance.

They also marched down Hillsborough Street to the Capitol building. “Here the demonstrators burned in effigy¬† the Faculty Council and E.L. Cloyd, dean of students,” The Technician reported. “The march was marked by flaming torches and huge placards expressing the student disapproval of the Faculty Council action.”

The rage was born after the faculty council postponed a meeting where the students planned on arguing the body’s decision. However, the council ruled there was not a quorum. That was the last in what was a yearlong succession of postponements as students tried to voice their displeasure at the dance’s possible demise.


The faculty council’s decision in 1938 didn’t eliminate all dances on campus. Here is a School of Textiles dance from that same year. Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries.

The faculty council canceled the dance earlier that year, in February, in an effort to have graduation be the last official event on the college’s calendar.

A student editorial appearing in the same issue continued to highlight the students’ frustrations: “The student body of State College has gone along long enough under some of the narrow-minded rules that exist. The worm has turned!…Well, we boys are pretty darned well fed up with having less cuts than any school in the state; we are fed up with having less spring and Thanksgiving vacations than other schools; and we’re fed up with the whole administration taking the attitude that the State students are just a bunch of high school students. Taking our commencement night dance away from us when it was doing absolutely no harm…just seems to be the last straw.”



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