A special edition of The Student was released 46 years ago this week to announce that, for the fifth year in a row, 100 percent of the freshmen class had pledged to a fraternity. Such a five-year streak was a first in the College’s history and was almost broken when, in 1953, a freshman refused several offers to join houses after being rejected by the one he wanted to join.
According to The Student, 1956 was also the second year that 100 percent rushing had been achieved before spring break. Quotas had been set the previous Thursday evening for the 13 campus fraternities, with each house accepting either 22 or 23 freshmen.The less-than-exclusive system left it mathematically possible for all 296 members of the class of 1959 to pledge.
According to The Student, by 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, nine freshmen were still unpledged to fraternities but, by 8:00 p.m., the last three freshman had pledged to Beta Theta Pi, Chi Phi and Chi Psi.
“It would be unfair to record this victory without mentioning the other side,” reported The Student. “Freshmen, first or last, are equally men. A drive for 100 percent rushing may treat them as grain in the mill, to be ground in at any cost. There was some of this inevitable element today, but hearteningly little of it.”
Students took pride in the continuation of the fully-pledged classes. This year was “chaos … no more,” according to The Student. “The job is done and no freshman hast sustained the ultimate rejection. A toast-to Amherst, to 100 percent rushing and to the goodness of human nature, which has, in some way, been reaffirmed.”