Today in University History: Feb. 7

By , and
Senior Staff Writers and City and State Editor
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Liberal intellectual speaks out against fraternities

In a 1963 speech in Alumnae Hall, famed educator and liberal historian Henry Steele Commager said the Supreme Court was the “central conscience” of Americans and denounced fraternities as educationally irrelevant. Commager, then a professor at Amherst College, said that since 1938, the Supreme Court had become a “guardian of the majority against the tyranny of entrenched minorities,”  The Herald reported. An enthusiast of the American constitution, Commager also said the most relevant legacy of the American Revolution was the creation of constitutional measures for rebellion. Commager spoke about fraternities as an outdated “inheritance” that did not contribute positively to college life, adding that Amherst was socially ideal because of its lack of Greek life. Commager was the second in the 1963 “American Characters” series held by the Faunce House Board of Governors.

Providence measles outbreak poses minor threat to students

The Herald announced February 7, 1979 that a Providence measles outbreak posed a small threat to the University. Of 53 measles cases, only two were reported in East Providence. Gerald Faich, then chief of the state health department’s division of epidemiology  said 18 to 21-year-olds were not especially vulnerable to the outbreak, ruling out the majority of college students.  

President Gee abruptly resigns from University

Vanderbilt University officials surprised Brown students and faculty by announcing that then-President Gordon Gee had accepted the position as chancellor of Vanderbilt, effectively resigning his position as president of Brown. Gee’s two-year presidency is notably the shortest in the University’s history. With the exception of several administrators, community members were unaware of Gee’s discussions with Vanderbilt until the official announcement. Gee is currently the president of Ohio State University.