From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Category: Dormitories (page 1 of 4)

2nd Time Around for 2nd year students: Dorm Rule in the 60s

Novice Fawcett

Novice Fawcett

The requirement for sophomores to live in dorms went into effect this semester, but it’s not the first time second-year students have been told they have to live on campus.  In early 1965 President
Novice Fawcett enforced a rule stating that “unmarried freshman and sophomores under twenty-one years of age who do not live with their parents or close relatives are required to reside in University-owned residence halls.”  The rule was set to take effect in 1967.

This rule had originally come about in April 1958 when large amounts of money was raised by issuing bonds to pay for a large number of new residence halls.  The sophomore dorm rule was a way to maintain full occupancy in the new residence halls and ensure bond holders their money would be paid back.  Until the recommendation in 1965, the rule had never been enforced, likely due to high rates of occupancy in the residence halls.

Although the number dorm rooms in the mid-’60s met the demands of the current student body, the residence hall capacity was expected to increase.  Vice President Gordon B. Carson stated with these new openings, “it would be wise and prudent to reaffirm the Board of Trustees’ resolution.”

Construction of Towers, 1966

Construction of Towers, 1966

Students and politicians alike opposed the 1965 rule. Adversaries pointed out that there is a greater cost to living in dormitories.  They, including Robert Shaw, a Republican state senator of Ohio, believed that forcing students to remain in dorms for two years would prevent those with insufficient funds from attending the university and was therefore discriminatory.

Students, alumni and community members thought that it was not the job of the university to decide on living quarters; there should be freedom of choice.  Furthermore, students believed the reason for the enactment was a money-making scheme.

Regardless, the rule was enforced in the autumn of 1968 and remained in effect until 1976.  Throughout this period, sophomores could have a waiver signed by their parents allowing them to live off-campus.  The accessibility of the waivers fluctuated throughout

Lantern Headline, 1972

Lantern Headline, 1972

the eight-year period, with the most liberal period toward the end of dorm rule.  Waivers were given out so frequently that sophomores were able to choose if they wanted to live on or off campus and thus made the dorm rule obsolete.

The fight against dorm rule was part of a larger movement on campus led by students to have their voices heard by the administration.  You can learn more about the student movements on our Spring of Dissent exhibit  and Bill Shkurti’s new book The Ohio State University in the Sixties: The Unraveling of the Old Order.

Block “O” manager was ‘letter’-winner in many ways

bannerRecently, the Archives received a scrapbook, a Varsity sweater, a Block “O” banner and several other items from the family of Charles Riegle, a student who earned a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture in 1941. Not only are we excited about this very kind donation because of the cool artifacts we received, but because we learned about this extraordinary student who truly was a man of many talents.

1938_reigle_yokom_newsclippingFirst, there was the letter-writing business he started with a friend in order to make money for school. Today, letters written home or to a significant other or even a family member are a rarity since communication mostly relies on texts, sometimes emails, and if you’re lucky, a phone call. Back in the 1930s, though, letter-writing was a prime means of communication. Some students, though, apparently were too busy to write home, so Riegle and a friend started a business writing letters for them. While clients had to supply their own stamps, Riegle and fellow freshman Julian A. Yokom charged 10 cents per 50 words. Riegle and Yokom’s motto was, “Give Us a Chance and the Girl Back Home a Break.” While some customers wanted letters written home to “doting parents,” most preferred a letter home to a sweetheart. And in that department, Riegle and Yokom might even use their word expertise to “break off relations with a girlfriend tactfully but don’t know how to do it,” according to a 1938 Lantern article on the pair.

In addition to his letter-writing business, Riegle also was a member of the OSU Cheerleading Squad, The Buckeye Club, the Men’s Dormitory Association and Gamma Sigma Delta, an honorary society for agriculture students. Being a member the Buckeye Club actually meant that Riegle lived in the Stadium Scholarship Dorms, which at that time were for male students who couldn’t otherwise afford to go to college (hence, the letter-writing business).

Charles Riegle, Cheerleading, c.1939-40

Charles Riegle in his OSU Cheerleading uniform, c1939

And of course, he was a very dedicated member of Block “O.” During the 1938-39 academic year, Riegle became Junior Manager of the Cheering Section and by the following year became Manager. Riegle managed three juniors, six sophomores, and six freshmen, while the cheering section had a total of roughly 1,200 men and women wearing scarlet capes against a grey background to create the impression of a block “O.” Each person would participate in different cheers while holding up different colored cards and singing along to certain songs and yells. There were 30 designs and 10 were used in a single game. By the end of the season, 3,000 cards were used. For his role as manager, Riegle received a Varsity “O” sweater in 1940.

Riegle’s energy and management skills served him well after his time at OSU: He joined the military and served in three wars: World War II, the Korean War, where he worked after the war on the establishment of the De-Militarized Zone between North and South Koreas; and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1968 as a U.S. Army Colonel and died several years later.

We very much appreciate the kind donation made by Dwight and Mary Helen Tuuri of the materials once owned by Riegle. It is because of people like the Tuuris that we have such wonderful stories to tell about OSU history, so we thank them very much!

Twelve Days: For OSU undergrads, Park served as a constant counselor

Dean Joseph Park (left), with students, 1951

Dean Joseph Park (left), with students, 1951

One of the people Ohio State should never forget is Joseph A. Park, the University’s first Dean of Men. His greatest contribution may have been the Stadium Scholarship Dormitories, which helped thousands of male students attend OSU who otherwise could not have afforded to do so. But his long service as a calm counselor, ready to help in a crisis – or in some cases, get a student out of a jam – is what endeared him to thousands of students and led to his name on one of OSU’s dorms.

Born in Cleveland on October 7, 1893, Park graduated from Cleveland’s West High School before coming to Ohio State in 1914. At OSU, he was active in the YMCA, the fraternity Alpha Tau Omega and Sphinx, the senior men’s honorary. He also served on the staff of the Makio. During his junior year he was drafted to the Army, where he entered officer training. He returned to Ohio State in 1919 as a 1st Lieutenant, graduating in 1920. He married Ruth Vera Webb that June, and they had two daughters, Ruth and Mary.

Park, n.d.

Park, n.d.

As a senior, he had served as secretary for the campus YMCA; he held that position until 1927 when then-OSU President George Rightmire went looking for a position he was calling “student councilor.” Rightmire selected Park, whose job title changed to Dean of Men two years later. A new position at the time, the job changed greatly over the years as the campus grew. But Park didn’t change that much: He was always ready to listen and offer a helping hand or piece of advice.

Though he was responsible for the well-being of thousands of male undergraduates, he always kept a calm demeanor – and a phone at his bedside. Often the late-night calls were the results of normal college stress—or to bail students out of jail. In fact, the writers at the Sundial, OSU’s humor magazine, once said of Park’s position: “Some of the problems would tax a Supreme Court Justice schooled in psychiatry.”

Park with students, 1930

Park with students, 1930

Park didn’t seem to mind, saying once that “the trouble is more than offset by the fun.” Indeed, he gave the bride away at dozens of weddings, and he and his wife chaperoned hundreds of campus dances and parties. On a questionnaire he listed his hobbies as “student life.”

Besides being a counselor and fill-in parent to students, Park also had the opportunity to make some lasting changes to the University structure. In 1927, when he was still a senior and YMCA secretary, Park proposed the creation of an office of director of student affairs and a student court, and the creation of a Student Senate. Eventually, all of these proposals came to fruition.

Students in the Stadium Dorm, 1947

Students in the Stadium Dorm, 1947

Park’s most notable contribution, though, was the establishment in 1933 of co-operative housing system in the Stadium for low-income male students. Known as the Stadium Scholarship Dorms, they helped keep students in school by offering affordable housing in exchange for working in the dorms at jobs like cleaning and serving in the dining area. This housing philosophy still exists in the Stadium Scholarship Program.

Park died on April 19, 1952. He was 59. In 1959, Park Hall was one of three then-new dormitories (Stradley and Smith were the others) built to provide more dorm space for men on campus.

– Filed by C.N.

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