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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 12, 1980)
Dormitories took the place of discipline at home
By Mary Louise Knapp
The University of Nebraska students of
1950 found few escapes from strict rules
when they left home -at least if they lived
in a residence hall. Not for them the
freedom to visit members of the opposite
sex until 2 a.m. or to throw pizza in the
halls as 1980 dorm dwellers are accustom
ed to doing.
The residence halls still maintain some
control over the students who live there,
but over the years many rules and hall
government policies have been relaxed and
altered to fit the changing lifestyles of
Before the first residence hall was built,
students lived in apartments, in boarding
houses, or at home.
Male students often lived in fraternities
or cooperative houses. Some cooperative
houses for women were converted from old
houses along Q and R Streets in the early
Women's residences had to be approved
by the dean of women, who kept a list of
"suitable" boarding houses.
The owners of these houses were re
quired to provide a reception area on the
ground floors where women could receive
male visitors-only on weekends, of course.
WOMEN WERE not permitted to visit
men in their apartments or fraternity
Jay Curtiss, a former resident of Nei
hardt Residencial Center, said that the
need for on-campus residence halls arose
during the 1920s when boarding houses be
gan closing down and fraternities and sor
orities took over many available houses.
Curtiss, who is now a student assistant
in Abel Hall, is compiling historical infor
mation on Neihardt, formerly the Women's
Raymond Hall was opened in 1932, and
Love and Heppner Halls were added in
1942. Piper Hall, which is now known as
International House, was added in 1958.
Women living in the residence halls were
expected to abide by the rules of the
Association of Women Students (AWS).
That organization ceased to exist in the
early 1970s when the UNL Housing De
partment required men and women in the
residence halls to follow the same rules.
Helen Snyder, a former Dean of Wo
men, said that women students had to sign
out with a housemother when they left the
hall at night or during weekends and sign in
when they returned. Freshmen women had
to be in their rooms by 9 p.m. on week
nights, and by midnight on Friday and Sat
urday nights, she said.
VISITATION HOURS for men were
from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the first floor
parlors, she said. Men were never permitted
above the ground floor.
From 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., study hours
were in effect. Women were supposed to be
in their rooms studying, or at least being
Meals were served in a dining room
which is now the large television lounge in
Raymond Hall. Synder said that dinner was
served family-style, with busboys serving.
Grace was sung before meals, and women
were required to wear dresses.
"Flirting with the busboys is never in
good taste and is not pennitted,"
admonished a Raymond Hall bulletin of
During the 1950s, cafeteria-style service
began in the dining room, but the women
were still required to dress for dinner.
"The Raymond Hall cusine is undoubt
edly one of the most famous in college
campuses across the country," proclaimed
a Raymond Hall bulletin of the 1930s.
Snyder said that the meals were not as
varied as those of today's residence hall
cafeterias. Usually only one or two entrees
were served at each meal.
IN 1941, the housing department rules
that all freshman women not living in
Lincoln must live in the residence halls.
Most women did not stay in the halls
past their freshman year, Snyder said, but
moved to apartments or sorority houses.
The upperclassmen who did live in the
halls received special privileges such as
extended hours. Some of the upperclass
men served as counselors for the freshmen
the forerunners of today's student assist
ants. Four housemothers, who also served as
counselors and as enforcers of dorm rules,
lived in each hall, along with a social
director. They, like today's residence
directors, lived in the hall and served as
Students did not have telephones in
their rooms until the Centrex system for
on-campus telephoning was adopted in
1975, Curtiss said.
Students in all halls fought for the three
or four telephones at the ends of their
floors, or depending on the desk switch
boards for messages.
THE SWITCHBOARD operator at the
front desk would page a student n his
room through a buzzer system. One buzz
meant the student had received a phone
call, three meant a visitor at the desk. His
roommate got two buzzes for the phone,
four for a visitor. The roommate whose
name began with a letter occurring later in
the alphabet got two-four buzz.
The basement of Raymond Hall con
tained storage rooms for trunks and
baggage, washrooms, and "shampoo
rooms" in which women could wash, spray
and dry their hair.
Selleck Quadrangle, built in 1952, was
the first residence hall for men.
Bob Brandt, complex director for
Selleck and Burr-Fedde Halls, said that
men were not required to observe hours or
be in the halls at night.
Women were permitted to visit during
scheduled open houses in the first floor
BURR-FEDDE Hall, on East Campus,
was built in 1958. Men and women lived in
the hall together, but in separate wings.
The first truly coed hall was Schramm,
built in 1967. Men and women lived on al
ternate floors, as they do in 1980.
Although coed living was accepted by
UNL officials without a great deal of con
troversy, men and women were not allow
ed to visit each other's rooms until 1972,
when the present visitation policy took
effect, Brandt said.
The student population grew rapidly in
the 1960s, creating a demand for new resi
dence halls. Cather-Pound was built in
1964, and the Abel-Sandoz complex open
ed in 1956-66.
Cat her Hall was originally intended for
women, but the demand for men's housing
became so great that it was converted to a
men's dormitory. The Harper-Schramm-Smith
Complex, which are the newest resi
dence halls, was opened in 1967.
The Women's Residence Hall was re
named Neihardt Residencial Center in
1973. because men were living in the hall
by that time.
BENTON, FAIRFIELD, and Scaton
Halls, now office buildings that were
originally part of Selleck Quadrangle, were
used for graduate housing until the 1950s,
when graduate students were moved to the
4000 building in Selleck.
The first association of residence hall
students was called the Inter-Dorm
Association. The name was changed to
Residence Hall Association in 1969.
Few changes were made in dorm policy
and rules until the early 1970s.
James Smith, director of the office ol
Multi-Cultural Affairs, lived in Abel Hall
from 1968 to 1970.
During this time, he said, student assist
ants who were members of minorities were
hired, and a policy requiring students to
dress for Sunday dinner was abolished.
"One man was upset because he didn't
have clothes to wear for Sunday dinner and
they wouldn't let him eat," he said.
Several of the man's friends, armed with
baseball bats and machetes, went to the
cafeteria and demanded entrance, which
brought about an abrupt change in the
policy, Smith said.
RIVALRY BETWEEN residence halls
and Greek houses has always existed, but it
was and is usually nonviolent and is mostly
in the fonn of verbal battles and snowball
fights. Smith said.
In recent years, the halls have been
filled to capacity, making triple rooms, and
in some instances, temporary housing in
lounges necessary. Many students live in
dorms throughout their entire college
For the students of 1980, a residence
hall is a popular housing alternative.
Little restriction is placed on students.
Student assistants ha"e replaced the
housemothers and serve to help students
and to enforce the few restrictions students
still must live by.
Since the extension of visitation hours
in 1972, students can entertain members ol
the opposite sex in their rooms for ;i
maximum of 14 hours a day. Floor hours
arc voted on by students and the
traditional policy of no alcohol in the
dorms still exists. Students are not requir
ed to observe study hours, or stay in the
halls at night or on weekends.
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Dorm residents enjoy television outdoon in wanner weather in the courtyard
of Selleck Quadrangle, one of the older hut nnm
Dairy Nebraskan Photo
friday, december 12. lat
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