“In the opinion of very many persons … the word ["student"] signifies a young fellow who smokes, chews, drinks, plays billiards, and perpetrates undignified jokes,” reads an October 12, 1867 article in the University of Michigan student newspaper the University Chronicle. “But as has been said many times, the reputation of students in this respect is owing only to the exceptional few. We hope, for their sake, that they may not reap the whirlwind.”
The article concerned a developing tradition on college campuses across the country, including UM: an autumn clash between freshmen and sophomores known as “rush.”
The late 1860s appear to be when UM’s tradition of an annual October rush began. The practice would survive for decades despite hospitalizations, expulsions, and several bans against rushing by student government and university officials.
“A rush is a miscellaneous row between two classes, generally freshmen and sophomore, who meet in any of the college halls or grounds,” reads a May 16, 1868 University Chronicle piece on student slang, “and in our own institution is seldom anything more than a good-natured trial of strength between the opponents.”
The article also included slang terms for freshman hazing practices. These included “pumping,” or dousing a frosh in a public water pump, “shaving,” or a less than careful haircut, and “smoking out,” or invading a freshman’s room en masse and lighting pipes till the room was choked with smoke and the new student was nauseated.