Student Strike of 1902

21 05 2013
strike

Article from the Chicago American October 28, 1902

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Class Tug of War 1903; New event instituted after the class strike of 1902

tugofwar

One October, while Michigan Agricultural College President Snyder was away from campus, Freshmen and Sophomores met at midnight to have their annual class rivalry rush. Snyder had forbidden the rush from taking place, and threatened suspension to any participants, because of a permanent injury sustained to a student in the 1900 class rush. The faculty, after being made aware of the event, took action against some of the students. A total of 17 Freshmen and Sophomores were suspended for their actions. 28 more received notices of action being taken against them, pending a decision from the faculty. These students were served with suspension notices, varying from 1-3 years, and were told to be off campus by 5pm. Students were outraged and called for a student meeting. All class levels were represented as a decision to boycott classes until the suspended students were reinstated was made. Classes were cancelled on the campus due to lack of attendance by students. Even women, who were not part of the class rush, took a stand and refused to attend classes in support of the student body. Faculty threatened that all missed classes would have to be made up or students would receive zeros. President Snyder held firm in his position saying that class rivalry is fine, but that there needed to be a less dangerous, more athletic way of doing it. He also defended the faculty action of giving some students more than 1 years suspension based on their behavior prior to this incident. Newspapers all over the state got wind of the strike, causing many parents to remove their children from school in order to “keep them out of trouble.” The strike ultimately lasted for three days. It ended when President Snyder made the decision to refer the suspended students to a committee of chosen faculty for review and a “revised” and safer class rush event.fountain

For more information about Class Rivalry at MSU, see: https://msuarchives.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/class-rivalry-posters-on-flickr/

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