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This Week in Princeton History for January 16-22

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a riot paralyzes the campus, a senior performs for the U.S. president, and more.

January 18, 1893—The faculty approve a resolution ending supervision of exams, provided that students sign a pledge stating that they have “neither given nor received aid” during the test.

First exam given at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) under the Honor Code, January 26, 1893. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 5, Folder 20.

January 19, 1817—What some will call the worst riot in the history of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) breaks out over reading assignments students say are too long. Rioters nail all Nassau Hall entrances shut, lock their tutors and unsympathetic students in their rooms, break the windows, throw glass at administrators, ring the bell incessantly, cover the walls in graffiti, attempt to set the building on fire, burn down the outhouse, and fling firewood and ice from windows on townspeople and the College president trying to climb in the windows in an attempt to free those locked inside during the siege. The arrest of seven rioters, followed by the expulsion of over a dozen students, temporarily restores order to the College, but draws protest from both students and parents who feel the school’s response inappropriately punishes individuals with no proof of their involvement. The courts will ultimately agree, and no students will be punished in civil courts for participation in the riot.

January 20, 1997—Junior Naomi Waletsky ’98 performs at the second inauguration of U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Naomi Waletski ’98, Nassau Herald.

January 22, 1929—American Civil Liberties Union attorney Clarence Darrow, made famous for defending John T. Scopes the Scopes “Monkey” Trial in 1925, speaks at the first annual Whig-Clio Banquet in Madison Hall, telling Princetonians, “Criminals are just like you except in that most of them haven’t a college education.”

For last week’s installment in this series, click here.

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