The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition-University - Thursday, September 10, 1992 - Page 3
Traditions reveal strange rituals i
'U' halowed hals hide cults, creatures, superstitions
by Ben Reames
* So you thought you were joining
the ranks of an elite university. A
place to expand your mind. A tran-
quil sanctuary in modern society for
the pursuit of "Artes, Scientia, and
Ha. More like you've joined a
riotous horde fraught with strange
tribal rituals, bizarre superstitions,
and mythic creatures.
"What!" you squeal, "I thought I
was paying $18,000 a year out-of-
state tuition for a solid education."
Doubt all you like, for now.
Soon the secrets will all start to un-
fold as you watch people stumble
across the crux of the Diag, their
feet repelled like opposing magnets
from a bronze square.
...As you see people creep past
stone panthers at midnight with
their ears perked up.
...As tens of thousands of the
faithful make an annual glassy-eyed
pilgrimage to the Diag. As they
overtake Ann Arbor worshipping
their forbidden weed.
...As members of Greek cults
slather a sacrificial stone with gib-
berish and frolic in a pit of mud.
Welcome to the world of higher
Volkswagen mini-buses clot up
already congested Ann Arbor
streets. Out tumble more fresh
shipments of agro-hippies from the
Grateful Dead farm. A few scrag-
gly, leather-clad motorcyclists
sputter in on their Harley Davidson
war-horses like seedy remnants of
the Genghis Khan clans. Some frat
types carouse around posing like
laid-back Ralph Laurens. Under-
cover cops sport their con-
spicuously plain clothes and run-
ning shoes. What could draw such a
diverse and happy crowd?
Hash Bash, as it's called (just an
April Fool's Day festival to others),
was started April 1, 1971 by the
National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws
(NORML). What has traditionally
been an annual event to openly
With nationwide popularity,
Hash Bash will occur with or with-
out NORML preaching about the
benign and beaudacious effects of
hemp. In fact, without NORML, it
could have just deteriorated into a
pointless orgy of THC inhalation.
Despite attempts to dowse it,
Hash Bash smoldered on and
NORML was there.
RC sophomore Paul Ross
prophesized, "It's obvious that
'It was just a lot of naked people. Not
everyone was naked, and there were too
many guys too.'
- Faraz Javaid
Science (Nat Sci) Museum, the big,
black, stone Post-it Notes for coitus
will stare you down. Your mind
will be set rightly on track.
To parents, they can be more of
an evil curse. Arlene Lee, a recent
graduate of the University School
of Architecture and Urban Plan-
ning, said, "When I was a freshman
my mom told me they better roar
for me when I graduated...I don't
think they did."
At least one sharp lad is skepti-
cal. Anthony Callcord, an LSA ju-
nior, claims, "No, they don't roar.
They're made of stone! I know
many a virgin who has walked by.
Don't worry." Who's worried!?! I
am not worried!
The pumas are not all intimida-
tion and inspiration. They are also
an antidote for doom in perhaps the
second most important realm of
student activity - school itself. If,
at the stroke of midnight, you plant
a kiss on the pumas you can reverse
the curse of...
Sophomore Billy Cash explains,
"Oh yeah, if you step on the 'M'
they say you'll fail your next blue
book exam [that means essay test,
don't try to cop out and avoid buy-
ing blue text books]. I'm not sure if
I buy that, but I could use all the
help I can get so I'm not going to
push my luck. Maybe when I'm
feeling like a hard-ass sometime,
I'll go out and test it out."
flaunt drug laws has refined itself
Last year the University, urged
by Associate Vice President for
Academic Affairs Mary Ann
Swain, denied NORML a permit to
use the Diag. The administration
cited property destruction and
danger to personal safety as
grounds for the refusal. NORML
pointed out that both claims were
hard to substantiate and not their
fault in any case.
Washtenaw County Circuit
Court Judge Donald Shelton de-
cided, "The University still fails to
understand the basic premise of
constitutional law that a peaceable
person exercising his or her rights
to free speech may not be restricted
because of the fear of how others
may react to the exercise of those
NORML has the basis for a next
major religion in their teachings.
Pot can save the world!"
Others bemoan the fact that the
liberal spirit has dissipated.
Still others wish the entire event
Yurj Slyz, an LSA senior, said,
"I think Hash Bash is lame. It's
totally unorganized, and only about
10 percent of the people there are
from the (University)."
Hash Bash is still one big fatty
for all of Ann Arbor. So never fear.
There's plenty left for you to crack
your egg and sizzle it on the
proverbial frying pan. Or you can
pull a Clinton. Come and check it
out, but just don't inhale.
The Nat Sci Pumas
Think of them as shrines to
honor the promiscuity of Michigan
students. For these two ominous fe-
lines are supposed to rear up on
their haunches and howl at mid-
night should an undeflowered grad-
uating senior cross their path. No
one has heard a peep yet.
Or think of these mythic crea-
tures as symbolic reminders of your
true task in college. While walking
from the Diag to the Hill area of
campus you might feel your mind
flitting into frivolous little flights of
fancy. You might start contemplat-
ing, say, how to create a ecologi-
cally sustainable society or the
plight of the inner-cities or "what
the hell is that white stuff in
Twinkies" or any of the great ques-
tions of the day. However, as you
pass the entrance to the Natural
This puma - shown here how it would look if you were close enough to
kiss it at midnight- guards the entrance to the Natural Science Museum
and serves as a cure to stepping on the 'M'. Beware: this statue Will kiss
school like the University, you say?
The Naked Mile
Perhaps you'll change your
mind when you see about 200 butt-
naked people streaking through
campus and performing bizarre
dances and chants. Around mid-
night on the weekend before spring
finals, naked runners "haul ass"
from the rock to the cube (two geo-
graphical landmarks). LSA sopho-
more Faraz Javaid witnessed the
'If you step on the 'M' they say you'll fail
your next blue book exam [that means essay
test, don't try to cop out and avoid buying
blue text books]. I'm not sure if I buy that,
but I could use all the help I can get so I'm
not going to push my luck.
- Billy Cash
ber of people who decided to go
hang out has swelled enormously.
Still not convinced of the cult
conspiracy? The most notable of all
cult groups is the well-organized
Greek system. One of its public rit-
uals involves the frequent painting
of a large rock on the corner of Hill
Street and Washtenaw Avenue.
When asked why, Natural
Resources senior Pete Shear, a
member of Sigma Phi Fraternity,
said, "I don't know, we (Sigma Phi)
never do that. That's kinda cheesy,
don't you think?" Sounds a little
like a cover-up, hmm?
Another event with a mysterious
public front is the Mudbowl. On the
morning of the homecoming foot-
ball game, Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Fraternity uses a mud pit (which is
usually used for God-knows-what)
to host a football game against Phi
Delta Theta Fraternity.
A new Greek tradition, accord-
ing to the Interfraternity Council,
mandates that fraternities and soror-
ities will no longer host parties with
kegs of beer. Lips pursed, all to-
gether now, "Pshhhhhh, right."
There's one clan that is intent on
becoming a group of magicians. Its
trick - make students disappear
with a puff of smoke. Most people
know that noxious cloud as tear
See TRADITIONS, Page 11
The brass block 'M' sits in the
middle of the Diag, supposedly do-
nated by the class of 1953. But sus-
picions abound. Some believe that
the Druid and Mayan support
groups on campus felt alienated
without a geometrically-placed
shrine for their cosmic rituals in the
Diag. They cried foul to the white
male oppressors in the University
bureaucracies and were given the
infamous 'M' as a sop. Far fetched,
you say? Couldn't be such strange,
cult influences at a fine, upstanding
"It was just a lot of naked peo-
ple," he said. "Not everyone was
naked, and there were too many
Javaid's friend, who withheld
his name for fear of reprisals, said,
"It was definitely a weird scene. I
saw a woman in Saran wrap, and I
saw a guy on crutches."
The event was started by the
sexually repressed crew teams (who
must have found rowing to be an in-
effective means of sublimation).
During the last three years the num-
A foolhardy student tempts fate by stepping on the Diag 'M.'
Chait's dictionary of Daily definitions: We're no
by Jon Chait
.Daily Staff Reporter
Angell Hail: This is a bit confus-
jng. The term "Angell Hall" can re-
fer to 1) the complex of classrooms
containing the Fishbowl, Mason
Hall, Haven Hall, and Angell Hall,
.2) the computing center contained
therein, or 3) simply to Angell Hall
itself, as a separate entity indepen-
dent from the above two. In other
words, there is an Angell Hall within
"Angell Hall," there is a Mason Hall
within "Angell Hall," but there is not
an "Angell Hall" within Angell Hall.
We recommend that you make an ef-
fort to fully understand the deeper
philosophical implications of this
concept before you risk taking any
classes there. Unfortunately, most
Philosophy courses are located in -
you guessed it - Angell Hall.
Books: Even though all three
major bookstores which supply stu-
dents with required reading -
Ulrich's, Michigan Book & Supply,
and Michigan Union Bookstore -
are all owned by the same company,
we would like to stress that this is
not a monopoly. The three stores are
perfectly free to compete against one
another for the student market,
which accounts for the price differ-
ential between stores of up to 3 cents
on certain books.
CRISP: This festive biannual
event allows thousands of students
from a myriad of backgrounds and
interests to gather in the basement of
Angell Hall - maintained year-
round at a comfortable 104 degrees
Fahrenheit - and frantically decide
on a new major upon discovering
that their top 35 classes, including
the entire Poli Sci Department, have
closed. For all the careful prepara-
tions you will-make before register-
ing, recognize that you will end up
chucking it all at the last minute and
signing up for whichever courses are
recommended by the person who is
next to you in the CRISP line. We
hope that the regents will soon make
"Crisp Line Recommendations" an
Cafeterias: The sign by the exit
of the Stockwell Cafeteria reads,
(this is a direct quote) "You may not
take food out of the cafeteria. Only
soft serve." This makes us wonder:
If the soft serve is not considered to
be "food," then what exactly is it?
And where does that leave
Entree Plus: The first step to-
ward a cash-free society. With entree
plus, you can use your student ID
card to pay for food, clothing, books,
music, laundry, and many other es-
sentials. Soon, you won't need to
carry money anywhere. Even mug-
gers will be equipped to accept en-
tree plus. The only fly in the oint-
ment is if you happen to lose your
Student ID Card, which you have
probably already done (see Student
Fleming Building: Located next
to the Cube, this fortress-like
administration headquarters is ca-
pable of withstanding potential stu-
dent demonstrations involving
bricks, bottles, stones, and, in some
cases, nuclear artillery.
Greek System: Fraternities de-
rive from the practice in Ancient
Greece of initiating young males as
citizens of city-states. Before becom-
ing citizens, the young initiates, or
"pledges," had to perform certain
tasks, such as consuming massive
amounts of hemlock and running
Siberia of the University.
Orientation: Orientation is the
process where incoming students
develop deep, close friendships with
people that they will never see again.
This is because most members of
Orientation groups are not incoming
students - they are local high
school graduates hired for the sum-
mer by the University to pretend that
they like you. Oh, sure, you'll occa-
sionally see these great friends from
read this without your Student ID.
You don't have your Student ID?
Think - where did you leave it last?
You probably left it in your pocket,
and then it got lost in the laundry,
and now it's gone and you'll never
get it back 'and as we speak some
lucky student is enjoying one of
14,000 pepperoni pizzas which he
just purchased courtesy of your par-
ents. Maybe you can catch him! Run
down to the Union right now! Go!
Sorry if I threw you into a little
panic there. I'm just trying to convey
the paranoia that you will experience
four or five nights a week whee you
wake up in a cold sweat wondering
if you lost your card. It's all pretty
silly. I mean, so what if you lose
your Student ID? Sure, you can't eat
or register for classes or check out
books or get into the Union at night
or attend home football or basketball
ames or use any campus facility
nd if you're caught without it by
e campus police you may be shot
n sight, but is that any reason to
anic? Yes, it is. If at any time dur-
ng the next four years, including
ummer, you happen to lose this one
ny piece of plastic, you will techni-
ally cease to exist as a University
tudent and will be .forced to drop
)t and work as a clerk at the local
-11. Which wouldn't be so bad, re-
[ly, because any day now they'll be
eady to accept entree plus.
Today members in the Greek system spend
most of their time printing T-shirts to
commemorate every conceivable activity that
they engage in, including Spaghetti Night and
Vacuuming Behind the Sofa.
toga-less through the public square
or sneaking into Troy in giant
wooden horses. Pledge survival rates
climbed steadily after the invention
of beer, and today members in the
Greek system spend most of their
time printing T-shirts to commemo-
rate every conceivable activity that
they engage in, including Spaghetti
Night and Vacuuming Behind the
North Campus: North Campus
is a penal colony for students who
turned in their housing applications
late. Despite claims to the contrary
by Orientation propagandists,
("Bursley-Baits has many unique
advantages that make it a popular
place to live. For instance, its resi-
dents have the lowest cholesterol of
any dorm.") North Campus is the
Orientation around campus during
the year, but they're just coming
back to pick up their paychecks.
Pedestrian: In Ann Arbor,
pedestrians own the streets. Cars
have to look out for us, not vice
versa. This is because Ann Arbor
city law states that when a pedestrian
is hit by a car, the driver is always at
fault. No matter what. You could
stagger out onto the middle of the
road - drunk - during rush hour.
You could flag down cars and order
them - at gunpoint - to run you
over. You could hurl yourself out the
sixth story window of an office
building onto the traffic below. It
doesn't matter. You could still take
them to court, and win.
Student ID Cards: Student ID
cards are ... wait a second. You can't
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For'infoanntion on anything from good Chinse food to replacing yourstudent ID card,
the Capus knfomntion Centers are the best place to stat Check out their locations
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On-Nne event infomnation available
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