This Week in Amherst History

Forty-five years ago, the yearly tradition of a heated sophomore-freshman rivalry of “riots” during orientation week undertook high levels of mischief, due mostly to the week’s spell of bad weather.

President Charles W. Cole ’27 welcomed the new class of 1960 with a president’s tea at his house; other scheduled events, like the Outing Club’s annual freshman-faculty picnic on Mount Toby, were canceled because of the rain.

The sophomore Class of ’59 began the week’s hijinx on the first Sunday of orientation, when one sophomore “dashed into a crowd of bewildered freshmen and made off with a beanie,” according to The Student. The freshmen had found themselves on enemy territory, having wandered into sophomore-filled Pratt Dormitory in search of some diversion from the rainstorms.

The fighting continued when sophomores dumped buckets of cold water on another group of freshmen; the Class of ’60 retaliated, however, by beating the Class of ’59 in a headshaving competition.