Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Students Demand Resignation of University President, 1919

"Students Demand Resignation of President Riddick and Restoration of Ag. Program at the Agricultural and Engineering College" (today’s N.C. State University), by W.T. "Tom" Bost, from the Elizabeth City Independent, April 18, 1919

Raleigh, April 17Student ultimatum to President Riddick of the Agricultural and Engineering College, demanding his resignation by noon of yesterday, unfortunately was a manifesto disproportionate to the war itself, for Dr. Riddick was not in town to receive the terms.

It is a wonderfully ramified story. The boys, perhaps 200 of the 500 enrolled, predicated their rebellion on the manifest purpose of the administrative to cut the agricultural course to the bone. Three professors teaching in that division have either gone or will go. The boys sent a memorial demanding that the President go and insisting that agriculture be restored to its pristine glory.

It’s politics of course, the kind of skullduggery that made Saunders utter a philippic when he returned home from a 60-day sojourn in the city of easy legislative licker. The college in West Raleigh and the department of agriculture are enemies. They watch each other and when the college is not plotting an annexation scheme whereby the agricultural work would go out to the college; the agricultural department is deploring the inharmony out there and suggesting that the institution should cut out agriculture, thus putting the emphasis upon engineering.

Two years ago the legislature changed the name of the college from the Agricultural and Mechanical College to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering. There was a student conspiracy to call this institution "State College." While raged the Battle of Marne Raleigh staged the battle of the name. War lasted weeks until there was an armistice signed. Then it was agreed that everyone should stop calling it "State College" without adding "of agriculture and engineering." President Riddick liked the change; everybody drifted into saying "State College" and soon went out the word that city chaps were ashamed of having attended a rube institution.

Ever since that foolish episode, there has been a tendency to saddle indifference to agriculture on Dr. Riddick who is an engineer and may lean to his line. Coupled with this was the 1919 fight for changing the location of the college from Raleigh to West Raleigh. President Riddick knowing that he stacked up against an irrepressible down-town lobby, made himself conspicuously unpopular during the debates. He lost all; the department of agriculture gained everything.

Without any spokesmen who would sign his statement, it is declared by collegians in West Raleigh that there is a systematic campaign against the college. The student episode is believed to be one of them. The first evidence of a student in the name of agriculture is the insurgency against Riddick. There is hardly any doubt who put the boys up to their memorial, but further than the general knocking of the college by the department employees in Raleigh there is nobody under suspicion.

Rough Neck Hazing
While students and their teachers quarrel, up-towners are very sore over an epidemic of hazing and roughneck exhibitions at the college.

Raleigh boys who have been attending school and rooming at the college have been forced to return to their homes in Raleigh. The mode of hazing is said to be intensely objectionable. It takes the form of hair clipping, painting naked bodies, blacking men all over and penetrating tricks rowdyism which interfere with the study of decent students. Twenty members of the freshman class are said to have been driven away and to spend their time at home. The maternal apron string never was so popular as it has become since the academic Bolshevists took the college captive.

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