Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dancing Will Be Allowed at EMU

Around the turn of the last century, even a faculty-chaperoned public dance stirred some members of the Ypsilanti community to vent their spleens about what they perceived as an immoral practice.

"The announcement that the Zeta Psi sorority of the Normal is to give a dancing party at the gymnasium answers the question that the Normal students have been asking the faculty and one another--whether the popular gymnasium parties would have to be omitted this year on account of the objections raised last winter by certain Ypsilanti Methodists.

"Complaint came to President Lyman last year and when President Jones assumed the reins of office this fall the same tale was brought to him--that it was not right to allow dancing in a state institution when the taxpayers of Methodist belief are opposed to it. The new president gave out the statement that he would thoroughly investigate the matter before announcing his decision, and it was but a short time ago that the Zeta Psi received word that they could hold their asked-for function.

"The gymnasium is to be used for dancing this year as before, but with certain restrictions, which are that but one party may be given within one month and that dancing must limited to between the hours of 8 and 11, standard time: also that each party must be vouched for by members of the faculty.

"The students are not particularly jubilant over the cut in hours from the old closing time of 12 standard, but they appreciate President Jones' position and accept this situation with equanimity, especially as they have feared since the opening of the term that they would not be given the use of the gymnasium for dancing under any circumstance.

"A few Methodists have objected to dancing at the Normal, but the great majority of citizens and all the faculty heartily approve of the little parties that have been given by the sororities, fraternities and classes, as they say it is better for the students to hold their parties where they can be under faculty supervision than in any of the down town dancing halls.

"Those who hold that dancing per se is a work of the evil one may still object to the Normalites holding their parties at the gymnasium this winter from 8 to 11, under the chaperonage of the faculty, but it is doubtful if any others will hold such a view."

--Ypsilanti Commercial, November 13, 1902.

Pictured: Zeta Psi class of 1907

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