Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Academic Jungle

Universities have been around for seven or eight hundred years, and complaints about university student behavior have been around for about the same time. Each fall, 18-year-olds are packed off to some campus somewhere with new sheets, a load of new debt and a sincere desire to only mix hedonism into their scholarship and a belief that's possible.

To aid them, adults offer guidance or even give them books written by professionals about how to succeed in this new life chapter. These too are apparently as old as the institutions, as this passage from a 1484 Leipzig University statute quoted by Ask the Past suggests:
"It is commanded to all students that none of them henceforth in the streets or ways of this town wield swords, knives, daggers, or any other arms, or wander about in costume or with faces covered in these aforementioned places, or stir up horrible clamors at nighttime in the manner of wild asses, or participate in forbidden games either in the taverns of this city or the outlying areas or villages around the city, or attempt to perpretrate there any ill deeds at all, or dare to disturb or injure the inhabitants of this city or any others, either bodily or in property, or dare to afflict them with any other injuries."
Sgt.-at-Arms Douglas C. Neidermeyer was reportedly not pleased.

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