Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Found In the Archives: College of St. Thomas Panty Raid Letter

Ahhh...the good old days. Dating back to the late 1940s, a panty raid was a college prank in which large groups of male students attempted to invade the dorms of female students and steal their undergarments as the trophies of a successful raid.

Considered the first post-World War II college craze, the panty raid originated in 1949 at Illinois's Augustana College, eventually sweeping through colleges in the United States. For many college students, this prank was carried out as a humorous protest against dormitory curfews and and restrictions placed on male visitors.
Letter from Sister Marie James, CSC Dean of students, 1973

According to a letter we found in the 1972-1973 College Association Annual Reports, a group of students from the University of St. Thomas (at the time, College of St. Thomas) were successful in their raid, however this victory came with a price.

In the letter, Sister Marie James, CSC Dean of Students, itemizes the expenses incurred during the panty raid. The total cost is $33.00, including 2 emergency exit glasses ($2) and one hour to check out damage ($6). She also reiterates the severity of the prank, reminding the St. Thomas students that "... an entry such as you made the other night adds additional costs which really, in justice, should be born by you boys."

By the mid-1970s, the fad had run its course and we suspect that this was the last time a panty raid was carried out by our neighbors from St. Thomas. Fortunately, the relationship between our schools remains strong, even after a prank like this!

Until 1977, St. Thomas was an all-male campus with St. Kate’s students taking on the role of cheerleaders and homecoming queens. This, combined with the proximity of our campuses, organized social events, and a shared commitment to Catholic education, make the history between our two campuses unique.

This letter is one of many unique items you will find in our Archives! Learn more about the history of St. Catherine University online and in person in Room 62 of the Library, open Monday - Friday from 9:30-4:30.

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