How times have (and haven't) changed at UNC

UNC-Chapel Hill student who appears to be passed out in his dorm room after a night of drinking beer, ca. 1940-1942
A recent news feature in the UNC-Chapel Hill student paper, the Daily Tar Heel, about alcohol use among students reminded me of these photos from Hugh Morton’s days on campus. It seems that college kids will be college kids, whether it’s the early 1940s or the 2000s. I have to say, though, that these first two images look somewhat staged to me. Morton worked as a photographer for the DTH, the Yackety Yack (yearbook), and other campus publications while he was a student—maybe he set these shots up to go with some piece of hard-hitting investigative journalism?
Group of male UNC-Chapel Hill students eagerly surrounding beer keg, possibly at the DKE Fraternity House, ca. 1940-1942
Or perhaps not so hard-hitting after all. Stephen and his freakish memory recognized the image below from the student publication Tar an’ Feathers, a cheeky, sometimes raunchy humor magazine put out from 1940-1942, for which Morton was photographer (and may have contributed other material). A cropped version of the image appears at the bottom of page 15 in the April 1942 issue, with a caption that reads:

“A shot by Hugh Morton showing what happens in the split second when a beer can is opened. Joe Miller stooges, while Elmo Hollingshead soberly contemplates.”

(The Tar an’ Feathers is so rich that I’ll have to save it for a later blog post; in the meantime, if you’re interested in UNC student publications you can check out the exhibit Tar Heel Ink, which the North Carolina Collection Gallery produced in 2005.)
UNC-Chapel Hill student opening a Budweiser beer can which is spewing foam while other students look on, possibly at the DKE Fraternity house, ca. 1940-1942
One thing has changed on campus very recently, and that’s the expansion of the No Smoking Policy which extends non-smoking areas to 100 feet from University facilities (forcing smokers to gather under the flagpole at the center of the quad). Gone are the days when students (or anyone, for that matter) can puff at will as the fellow pictured below was able to do when Morton snapped his photo.

UNC-Chapel Hill student smoking a pipe in front of the Institute of Government building, ca. 1940-1942

2 thoughts on “How times have (and haven't) changed at UNC”

  1. The photograph of the group gathered around a beer keg appears in the 1942 YACKETY YACK (page 394) on a two-page spread for Zeta Beta Tau fraternity (with a second, much more studious image).

  2. In May of 1957, UNC Chancellor William B. Aycock spoke to an alumni gathering in Washington, DC. His words of 55 years ago ring just as true today.
    “…I am not disturbed that alumni groups have a strong interest in athletics because I believe that the interest manifested by most alumni in intercollegiate athletics is but a symbol of a deeper interest in the totality of the programs, hopes and aspirations of the whole institution. I believe that those alumni whose affection for the University both begins and ends with intercollegiate athletics are few in number. Unfortunately, there are some among those few who seem to entertain a misguided notion that in athletics the means are not too important if the end result is victory on the scoreboard…A student who is an athlete should not be treated differently from a student who is not an athlete. There must be no double standard.. Moreover, no program in the University, including athletics, should be conducted in such a manner as to lower either moral or academic standards.”
    On this day, October 24, 2012, Chancellor William Brantley Aycock turns 97 years old.

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