This Week in Amherst History

Ninety-three years ago this week, Amherst’s department of physical education adopted a new system of ‘Equivalents’ for the sophomore and junior classes, according to an article in The Student.

A student in either of these years could be excused from attending gym one day each week as long as he pledged in writing that he would exercise sufficiently on his own time. This pledge was apparently based on the honor system.

Exercises accepted as suitable stand-ins to gym class included football, mountain climbing and swimming.


A front-page article in The Student declared that Dr. Timothy Leary was unsuccessful in attempting to artificially simulate the “psychedelic” experience of taking LSD for an audience in the Babbot Room, 35 years ago this week. Using a film portraying images that one would perceive when on LSD, Leary sought to bring the Babbot Room group “up one level of consciousness.”

After the presentation, Leary explained that until you had had a psychedelic experience, “You have no idea of what fright is.”

Along with visual images, Leary utilized exotic music with a soothing voiceover in an attempt to transport his audience. But apparently the conditions of the Babbot Room were not well-suited for the presentation because none of the students said that they had reached another level of consciousness.


When alumni of the former Delta Upsilon (DU) and Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternities returned to Amherst for a visit 16 years ago this week, the results were disastrous, according to The Student. Apparently seeking to relive their college days, these former frat members caused significant damage to former fraternity dorms Porter and Plimpton Houses, disturbing current residents in the process.

According to an eyewitness, trouble began when DU alumni marched into Porter early in the evening with numerous cases of beer and a class sign in tow. An eyewitness reported, “They made some

really obnoxious and threatening comments.”

The alums proceeded to break dishes in the kitchen and pour beer over a kettle of noodles cooking on the stove. To top it all off, they rolled a keg down a flight of stairs with the accompaniment of background drumming.

After campus security forced the alums to disperse, some of them remained on the lawn “yelling, screaming and throwing up,” according to the article.

Numerous other acts of random vandalism occurred, but residents were mollified by the fact that the College did not charge them for any dorm damage precipitated by the night’s debauchery.

-John Marvel