Sports and Other Student Activities
By 1929-30, GJC's first year at the Harvard campus, the college offered football, basketball, track, baseball, tennis, golf, cross-country, swimming and wrestling. The swim and golf teams had to practice off-campus due to the lack of facilities.
The football team, which had been winless in conference in 1928 (its first season), won three conference games and considerable interest around campus in 1929. Things got off to a good start with a bonfire rally and pep assembly before Glendale's first home game of the year, against Fullerton Junior College. As the season progressed, the Buccaneers, the college's athletic moniker, drew larger and more enthusiastic crowds who, among other things, learned to support their team with college yells.14
Glendale Junior College Buccaneers baseball team, 1930
--an off-campus alumni banquet (where a radio was set up in the banquet hall),Noted the 1928 issue of The Log, "Although Glendale has the youngest junior college in the Southland, it has not taken a back place in Women's Athletics."16 Women's basketball, field hockey, tennis and swim teams were formed that first year. Helen (Pendell) MacDonald (1935-37) played volleyball and field hockey. She remembers that physical education teacher Winifred Champlin was GJC's leading early proponent of women's athletics. Florine (Teerink) Andrews (1936-38), who played on GJC's tennis team, recalled that women's events were often organized into multi-sport play days where competition was not as fierce as among the men.17
--a dance in the women's gym (with Johnnie Mitchell's Ebony Idols, a six-piece orchestra, "playing all the latest and snappiest numbers")
--and a chance to root for the orange and black Buccaneers in the big game.15
Women's field hockey, 1927-28
But students could participate in much more than sports. "Activities of all kinds have become more diversified," Dean Nelson wrote in the 1930 edition of The Log, GJC's yearbook. "Students have been encouraged to participate according to their interests and natural abilities."18
Without many of today's distractions, GJC's students were organizers and joiners. Although traditional fraternities and sororities were banned, Greek letter societies and assorted campus clubs flourished. There were clubs for geology, chemistry and foreign language students, among others. There were honor organizations for women and men. There were YMCA and YWCA clubs. There was a Scholarship Society. And whatever racial and ethnic diversity the college could boast of (admittedly it wasn't a lot) was funneled into a Cosmopolitan Club.
There were plenty of low-cost outings for students. The Galleon announced this January 1931 snow trip:
Snow! Ice! Youth! Merriment! These figure to predominate on the morn of Thursday, Jan. 29 when [a snow] party will be held at Wright-wood, near Big Pines. Don your old hockey cap, put on a pair of wooley gloves, slide into a pair of heavy breeches, slip on a sweater, and join the gang! All that is demanded of you before you can go, is that you purchase a ticket here at college, for the total sum of a quarter of a dollar, bring along a laugh and be ready for a good time. Ride in your own car, his car, her car, anybody's car, but get to the snow.19Honor Code
Probably one of the most important factors of a satisfied classroom is a well-functioning honor system. It is indeed necessary for all concerned to abide by its principles and cooperate with the designated student authorities to make our classrooms frictionless and successful.The code was sufficiently strong that some teachers delivered their tests, left the classroom, and returned to pick them up later. "People were honest," observed Elizabeth Talbot-Martin (1932-33). "There was great integrity." The code was taken very seriously, noted Ted Andrews: "It was almost like what you'd find at the (military) academies."21 It was the subject of numerous articles and editorials in The Galleon, including the occasional naming of specific classes where cheating was going on. A 1930 article in The Galleon recommended to students the following techniques for upholding the honor code:
The purpose of the honor system, when it was introduced to Glendale Junior College in 1927, was to place the students upon their own honor during exams as well as to do away with the high school custom of working under the gaze of eagle-eyed profs, thereby making one feel almost justified in cheating to put something over on the instructors.20
1. Rapping on the desk with a pencil and announcing that there is cheating going on in the class and unless it is stopped the student's name will be turned in to the Honor Board.The campus Honor Board was the enforcer of last resort. It was appointed by the Associated Student Body to deal with violators (although the director of the college had final say on penalties).23 Breaches of the honor system also led to personal dilemmas for students who were faithful to its principles. McNamara remembered that a student once begged her to help him on a French test. "I believed in the honor system," she said. "I was really put on the spot."24
2. Upon detection of cheating, the instructor may be requested to remain in the classroom.
3. Calling out of the cheater's name, demanding that he stop cheating is one of the methods that has proved most effective.
4. If the student persists in cheating, the only recourse is to hand his name to the Honor Board.22
The GJC social arts class acts out a lesson on proper table setting, 1936
--A lady speaks to a gentleman first.GJC students had plenty of social events at which to practice their manners. Dances, mixers and other social events were planned throughout the school year. The students-nearly all of them were recent graduates of high schools in Glendale and Burbank-mixed easily. McNamara recollected that the dances and mixers typically drew 50 or 60 students. The students who organized these events clearly put in a lot of effort. Consider this description of a September 1930 mixer:
--In all except classrooms and study hall situations, men rise when a woman enters the room and remain standing until she is seated. When she rises to go, they stand until she leaves.
--Well-bred young people do not go about the campus, walk on the street, or down the halls arm in arm, or holding hands.
Decorations will be more elaborate than ever before. ... The gym will be decorated to resemble a huge orange and black mixing bowl streaked with green streamers to represent the freshmen being mixed with the rest of the student body. An immense spoon will hang from the rafters to make the 'mixing' more realistic.Admission was 25 cents.
The committee has made arrangements for securing a large variety of college and university pennants to create a real collegiate atmosphere.26
The events often had a theme. McNamara remembered a "cotton dance," where all the women wore cotton dresses with short sleeves. Ted Andrews recalled a "backward dance," where the women would invite the men: "Girls liked it so much, they had two one year ... one in the fall, one in the spring." And several former students remember that for the freshman dance, men were requested to wear dinks.
Dinks-which Tom Pendell (1929-31) noted were intentionally ridiculous-looking green beanies with a small visor-were an emblem of the rivalry between freshmen and sophomores. Laurence Chandler (1930-32) recalled that the class rivalry originally "was something the teachers dreamed up. ... At first it was about grades."27 The Galleon, its plum editing and reporting positions generally held by the sophomores, added to the bluster. Eventually, the sophomores organized the ominous-sounding Sophomore Vigilance Committee, which drafted a set of edicts known as the Frosh Orders. Posters hung around the campus commanded the frosh to "Obey! Obey! Obey!" Here are the Frosh Orders for 1930:
By the Almighty and Infallible Court of Inquisition
1. You shall refrain from using the front steps; these steps shall henceforth be known as the Sophomore Steps.
2. You shall wear dinks.
3. Freshmen shall not sit on the rails in the arcade.
4. Discard all pins and insignia acquired in other institutions.
5. Freshmen shall not sit on the Sophomore Bench in the Administration Building.
6. Freshmen loitering on the campus during assemblies shall be particularly subject to the tortures and terrors of the inquisition.
7. Freshmen shall be ready at a moment's notice to give all school songs and yells.
8. Freshmen caught fussing or queening the women shall suffer the terrible and mysterious "roll over the holt.
Issued under the Authority and Seal of High Justice-The Terrible, Terrific, All-Powerful Court of Inquisition.28
Each fall, GJC sophomores (who controlled the editorial positions on the campus newspaper) began a ritual series of put-downs of the freshman class. Usually, this would culminate in a vigorous, but largely good-natured Frosh-Soph Brawl. This cartoon is from the Galleon of Sept. 10, 1932
Occasionally the rivalry escalated into full-scale warfare. The Fall 1930 semester was one of those occasions. Matters began to heat up when three freshmen lifted a sheet from the Glendale YMCA and painted "Frosh" on it in bold letters. Under the cover of darkness, one of them hoisted the banner to the top of the campus flag pole, carefully greasing it on the way down to ward off upper classmen. When dawn came, "There was a riot at the flag pole," claimed a student account.30
The sophs' revenge was swift: a group of them kidnapped the freshman vice president and held him hostage for several hours in Griffith Park. At the pleas of the administration, a compromise was made: the freshman leader was released, and the flag was removed.
Most years, the simmering rivalry led to a Class Day, where each class defended its honor through a battery of physical contests. If the sophomores won, the Frosh Orders would remain in effect. If the freshmen won, the orders would be declared null and void. Noted The Galleon a week into the fall semester, 1930:
After more than a week of absolute subjection to the demands of the all highest and infallible Court of Inquisition, the lowly and insignificant freshies will find themselves in the position of the worm. The question as to whether the worm will turn, or whether it will continue to bear the brunt of the numerous indignities heaped upon its downcast head will be decided once and for all on Friday.31The contests were pretty evenly matched. The sophomores had the edge in maturity and experience, but there were more freshmen on campus to choose from. The highlight of Class Day was a tug-o-war over a campus mud hole. "Everybody would pile in at the end to make sure everyone was thoroughly covered by mud," recalls Ted Andrews, who participated as both a freshmen and a sophomore.
Women were largely-but not completely-immune to these goings on. Although women were not ordered to don dinks, some years they were expected to buy arm bands. Furthermore, women's basketball was usually a Class Day contest. And female frosh occasionally faced initiation ceremonies. The Galleon described one such initiation:
Each frosh, as her name was called, marched down before the lofty Sophs in front of the fireplace, and kneeling down solemnly and sternly repeated after the leader, 'I, as a grothy, grusome, grimy Frosh do solemnly and sweetly salute thee.' They were then tried before the Court of Sophs. Further mysterious initiations were inflicted upon the unsuspecting Frosh.32Great Depression
Not that the Depression hurt enrollment; in fact, it may have stimulated it. "Why not go to college?" Talbot-Martin thought. "What else did you do?" Certainly the price was right. In February 1934, The Galleon noted that the average annual cost to attend GJC was $29 a year, versus a minimum of $300 to $1000 to attend a traditional college. And the price tag quoted for GJC included books, fees, lockers and other incidentals.34
Given the opportunity to receive a cut-rate education, GJC's students were serious and hard-working, Talbot-Martin remembered: "They didn't want to mess around. They wanted to learn." In particular, she noted a high level of energy and dedication in GJC's fledgling theater and dance programs. "We were all busy little bees. ... Everyone was working for nothing." Performers even made their own costumes.35
The Depression also highlighted the differences between students from
financially-secure homes who had the time and money to enjoy a broad range
of campus activities and those less well off who were on a seemingly endless
treadmill of school and work. Trowbridge, for example, never attended a
football game or a dance at GJC. More emblematic of his Depression-era
college experience, he recalled leaving a half-dissected cat lying on a
table in the biology lab as he rushed to work.36
The student-run Cooperative Store pledged not to undersell Depression-weary local merchants.
This is the store's 1934 staff.