Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 5, 1951)
Morals of Today's College Students--Second in Series
By Max Lerner
Whenever a press association gets a good quote on camp
us sex and morals, it goes out hot over the wires, and is
There was the UP story last June about the four Yale
boys and the three Vassar and Smith girls who stayed over
night at a cabin in a New York State park and left a mess
of beer cans behind, only to be arrested and fined for using
the cabin without permission.
And the story from Lincoln, Nebraska, about the six
University of Nebraska boys who kidnapped high school
girls to strip and .photograph them. And, of course, the no
torious trial of the college student who strangled his co-ed
girl-friend in a fraternity house.
But the more usual press-association story involves not
crime but campus morals, as in the UP dispatch the other
day from the University of Wisconsin. A sociology profes
sor called Gill seems to have advised the University author
ities to take official notice of the sexually mature young
men and nubile young women at the University, and to set
up benches (as the UP man put it colorfully) "for student
necking on a faculty-sponsored lover’s lane along the wood
ed shores of Lake Mendota.”
Knowing something about both newspapermen and pro
fessors, I suspect the language quoted is more the report
er’s than the professor’s.
But however he may have put it, the answer from the
Dean of Women was a simple and cold No. The Dean of
Men gave a qualified and judicious No; in a truly scientific
spirit he wanted to know "just where the benches would be
and what kind of lighting they’d have.”
Obviously every news story like the one above not Only
over-drama tlzes the problem of student morals but over
simplifies it as well.
It isn’t just a question of having or not having a place for
This is the second of a series of articles on the
college students of 1950—their outlook on life,
their moral codes and behavior, their changing
standards. The series originally ran in the New
courtship, nor of having supervised rules or making them
Despite the woeful plaints of many parents, it isn’t in any
sense true, that our youngsters are going to the dogs mor
ally—or immorally. There is no "revolt” as there was in
the Scott Fitzgerald period of the “lost generation.”
What is true is that the young people are bewildered.
They are at the age when they are moved by the uneasy
stirrings of adolescence. They find themselves away from
the routine and supervision of the home, probably for the
first extended stretch.
For the first time also they find themselves living in a
close age-group community, with everyone watching every
Not only do they ask “what shall I do?” “what do I
really want to do?” “what of my parents?” “what of my
self?” but also “what will ‘they’ think of me?” “how can
I prove to ‘them’ that I am a womanly woman, a manly
Thus a college boy is subjected to a double barrage of
self-questionings. Not only must he ask what is right, what
is moral, what will make him happy, but also how he looks
in the eyes of the “peer-group” which is judging him merci
lessly. That goes for the college-girl too, only more so, since
she is more vulnerable to gossip, and her “rep” is at once
more precious and more fragile.
* * *
Students, like the rest of us, have a moral code to live up
to; one may ask why that isn’t enough. One answer is that
the moral code is being’ repeatedly broken outside of school
as well as in it. Actually, although students are generally
regarded as “wild,” almost every student of sexual be
havior will testify that the code infringements are even
greater among their contemporaries outside.
Whether in or out of college, one of the prevailing facts
of our time is the gap between the moral codes to which
we still formally adhere, and the actual behavior of living
people. This applies to adolescents and young adults on the
campus, as it applies to similar groups off the campus.
The difference, if any, is that students are more re
flective and sensitive about it, more exposed to the liter
ature of the romantic love ideal and to the constant repe
tition of the code of moral living. This may not change
their behavior much, but it makes them more conscience
stricken and guilt-ridden because of their lapses from the
Thus the student finds himself caught in a barrage of
conflicting forces .each pushing him in a different direc
tion. He is still under the spell of the romantic ideal of the
“one person.” He is fascinated by love-as-fatality. He re
sponds to the urgent need'of his own physical nature. He
responds to the American idea of testing and experiment
ing. He tries to live up to the general community code,
which bans sexual activity or experimenting before mar
riage. But at the same time he feels he must also live up to
the operative code which comes closer to him—that of his
college peer-group by which he is judged, and by the jud^
ment of which he is unwilling to be found wanting.
It is this very complex mental and moral world of the
student which is the real story about him—this and not the
over-dramatized and over-simplified sensational stories
which hit the front pages and send parents into a dither of
(TOMORROW: Campus Dating and Courtship)
The Oregon Daily Emerald published Monday through Friday during the college year
except Oct. 30; Dec. 5 through Jan. 3; Mar 6 through 28; May 7; Nov. 22 through 27; and
after May 24, with isues on Nov. 4 and May 12, by the Associated Students of the University
of Oregon. Entered as second class matter at the postoffice, Eugene, Oregon. Subscription
rates: $5 per school year; $2 per term. ^_____
Anita Holmes, Editor
Don Thompson, Business Manager
.orna J.arson, Managing Editor
Shirlky Hillard, Barbara Williams, Assts. to Business Manager
News Editor: Norman Anderson Grondahl, Fred Vosper.
Sports Editor: John Barton Night Editor: Sarah Turnbull.
Asst. News Editors: Marjory Bush, Bill Frye, C irculation Manager: Jean Lovell.
Gretchen Grondahl. Advertising Manager: Virginia Kellogg
Asst. Managing Editors: Bob Funk, Gretchen Don Miller, Val Schultz, Harriet Vahey.
Oregon's Shaggy Dog Story
Ever since the Student Union posted its “Notice to Dogs”
last term, the Editor’s mail has been loaded with scores of
protesting letters from our canine friends. (The Emerald
Shack for years has been a haven for dogs without visible
means of support).
Yes, the dogs are mad at the SU’s notice which warns to be
ware of humans and says, “Keep your self respect—avoid them
(humans). Don’t let them let you in the doors ... do you want
gout, vitamin deficiencies or gas on the stomach? Beware of
“ersatz’ foodstuffs—accept only natural foods and hunt these
If the letters are any indication, the dogs feel quite put out
about this. “For centuries we have remained man’s best friend,”
a fox terrier barked at us the other day.
However we are inclined to think his bark may be worse
than his bite—at least we hope so. Another dog, who has slept
through ROTC classes for years and now has 20 military sci
ence credits, dropped us a line to say he knows lots of military
tactics and could make life miserable for people if he took a
But the letter that interested us most was the one from a
Scotty who commented, “This whole thing is ridiculous. Who
ever heard of a dog reading or writing?”—K.M.
The Second Cup...
He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities—
Life’s race well run. Life’s work well done, Life’s victory
won. Now cometh rest—E. H. Parker.
I THE DAILY 'JT'...
I to Howard Lemons for his recent appointment as assist
ant to President Newburn. Lemons is an Oregon gradu
ate. and was vice-president of the student body four years
THE OREGON LEMON . . .
to the seniority rule and far-to-the-right Republicans who
have kept Oregon’s Wayne Morse off the Senate foreign
Ou the Blteljf
China's Empress Took Bloody Path to the Top
A BOOK REVIEW
By Jo Gilbert
Now an honest man can quiet
ly and legally make his million,
he kind to ostriches and snails,
hut dead or alive, you’ll never
find any reference to him on the
printed page. That is, unless he
gets rather nasty and murders his
dear old aunt. Even then, he’ll only
advance to page three, column five
of the local paper.
And he’ll still be without fame.
If he swindles the government a
bit, he gets a spell in the jug, and
rates a fat headline. But, a few
years later who’s to know?
However, if he disposes of
seven of his fellow humans, in
cluding a couple of sons and a
daughter-in-law—that poses a
We are concerned mainly with
one Chinese lady who did rather
well along the homicidal line and
has to her credit innumerable bi
ographies. And, too, she ruled
China for nearly fifty years, a
fact which might add to her stat
One of the more recent books
concerning this fabulous woman
and her extraordinary life is
VENERABLE ANCESTOR, The
Life and Times of Tz’u Hsi, Em
press of China, by Harry Hussey
(Doubleday and Company, Inc.,
Garden City, New York; 1949).
This Ms. is as fascinating as
Sabatini seasoned with a deck of
Tz’u Hsi (alias The Old Budd
ha, alias Green Jade), though
born in comparative poverty and
whose father died in jail, was se
lected as one of the Emperor’s
concubines, the highest position
open to a Manchu woman.
She rose from Number Six con
cubine and in the process had a
son, the heir to the Throne. Upon
the death of Hsien Feng, the Em
porer, Tz’u Hsi and Tz’u An
(Hsien’s wife) outwitted rela
tives and ruled In the name of the
child Emporer, T’ung Chih.
Assisting in the dissipation of
her son when he attained his ma
jority, she also strongly advised
that his wife should commit sui
cide after T'ung had died as a re
sult of a "dread disease.” The
wife obligingly acted upon Tz’u |
The new heir to the throne was
a child, Kuang Hsi, nephew to the
Old Buddha and she and Tz’u An
were again in power as co-reg
ents. Kuang incited Tz’u’s wrath
against him when 1) he tried to
choose a wife not acceptable to
his guardian and 2) tried reform
when attaining the throne—this
reform included curtailing the
power of Tz’u Hsi. As a result
the Old Buddha had Kuang plac
ed in virtual imprisonment, sep
arating him from his favorite
concubine. And eventually Tz’u
An was eradicated for “personal
Along with painting the por
trait of an ambitious woman,
the author also shows us the set
ting bf the Manchu dynasty in
the later nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. We were al
lowed into the lush court life of
the Forbidden City and given an
understanding of the many forces
in operation at the top levels of
old Chinese government.
Hussey makes the historical fig
ures human and full of the weak
nesses and complexities that are
the sum total of any individual.
He covers quite thoroughly the
period of Tz’u Hsi’s rule and
lightly and deftly sketches in
the background material neces
sary for understanding man;/ of
the attitudes expressed.
The writing is not terrific but
is above average. However, the
story is so fascinating that the
mode of expression, good or bad,
is often ignored. At the least, it
does not impede the reader from
getting the most from the book.
It Could Be Oregon •
“Drink it—it’s compounded by the greatest sports-minded scientists
in the University. It’ll make you grow big an’ tali!”