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place of the faculty as the supreme authority in educational matters
was a new body, the senate, composed of the division chairmen and
the administrators who were formerly designated as the educational
policy committee. Pence and Carson retained their chairmanships,
while the retired Post was replaced by Gerhard Baerg, Hughes by
Donavan Moffett, Bundy by Fowler D. Brooks, and Smith by Truman
Yuncker. It was argued that the new divisional organization would
free faculty members from administrative detail and permit them
to devote more time and energy to teaching, as well as help create
a sense of the interrelatedness of knowledge.
A former sorority house, Locust Manor on south
has served both as a university
residence and for administrative offices
half a century.
new scheme of university governance, imposed in such an arbitrary
manner, proved decidedly unpopular with a large part of the faculty.
Many thought, and some said openly, that the president's actions
were inconsistent with his well known advocacy of democratic social
ideas. After an overwhelming majority of the faculty voted to restore
the former organization, the president relented and in January 1935
asked the trustees to reinstate the powers of the faculty. The departments
once again became the chief instructional units, though the divisions
were retained without any administrative authority as a gesture
in the direction of interdisciplinary cooperation. The faculty proceeded
to reorganize itself according to a plan produced by an informal
committee, with regular monthly meetings and five standing committees.
To four of these committees the faculty elected representatives
nominated by the divisions.
a number of younger professors were dismissed during the early years
of the depression for financial reasons, the Oxnam administration
added many new names to the faculty roster. Included among them
were Hiram M. Stout in political science; Franklin V. Thomas, Laurel
H. Turk, and Marguerite Andrade in Romance languages; Elsie F. Waldo,
George L. Bird, George E. Smock, and T. Carter Harrison in English;
Lucile Calvert in speech; Marion H. Griffitts, G. Hans Grueninger,
Gerhard Baerg, and Edward M.G. Mueller in German; William A. Neiswanger,
Hiram Jome, and Fred Ritchie in economics; Francis M. Vreeland in
sociology; Fowler D. Brooks and Paul J. Fay in psychology; William
Edington in mathematics; Glenn W. Giddings in physics; Albert E.
Reynolds in zoology; Winona H. Welch in botany; Jervis M. Fulmer,
Jesse L. Riebsomer, and Percy
L. Julian in chemistry (the last appointed to a position as
research assistant in lieu of a professorship which the trustees
were not yet ready to grant to a black candidate, no matter how
highly qualified); A. Reid Winsey in art; Vera L. Mintle in home
economics; and Raymond R. Neal, Lloyd L. Messersmith, Willard E.
Umbreit, Martha Taylor (Inglis), and Harold Hickman in physical
In 1927 this house on
South Locust Street immediately
south of the Administration Building was adapted for
use as the Home Management House of the home
New members of the Music School faculty included Kenneth R. Umfleet,
Vernon R. Sheffield, Dorothy L. Fleetwood, Henry B. Kolling, Louise
P. Walker, Franklin P. Inglis, Bjornar Bergethon, Margaret Dennis,
Herman C. Berg, Carmen E. Siewert, Leah Curnutt, Mary E. Herr, Edward
G. Shadbolt, and Edris King (Loveless).
Alumnus G. Herbert Smith became dean of
freshmen in 1932, director of the Rector Scholarship
Foundation in 1935, and dean of administration from
1935 to 1942 when he left to become president of
Wilamette University. A strong supporter of Beta
Theta Pi he served as national president when the
local chapter celebrated its centennial in 1945.
Helen Salzer came in 1931 to assist
Dean Alvord and
become DePauw's second Dean of Women from 1936
to 1943. She left to marry the Rev. Frederick H.
much to the surprise of students who assumed that
women deans could never have romance in their
hearts by the nature of their position.
President Oxnam involved the university in a serious controversy
over the issue of academic freedom and faculty tenure by refusing in
1933 to renew the contract of Professor Ralph W. Hufferd, a member
of the chemistry department since 1920. Hufferd was a highly
respected, though admittedly rather tactless, chemistry teacher, as
well as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, who may have been
uncomfortable with Oxnam's pacifist pronouncements. At any
rate he incurred the president's displeasure by his outspoken
criticism of administration policies and his participation in an
interdepartmental quarrel with a division chairman. At his
request the American Association of University Professors dispatched
a committee to Greencastle to investigate the case. Finding
the president uncooperative and the methods of faculty appointment,
promotion, and dismissal vague and uncertain, the committee decided
to look into the whole system of tenure at the university. Its
final report to the executive board of the A.A.U.P. not only
condemned Hufferd's dismissal on the grounds of unsubstantiated
charges and the lack of any hearing process but also severely
criticized President Oxnam's wide, unchecked authority in tenure
annual meeting in November 1934 the A.A.U.P. voted to remove DePauw
University from the "eligible list" of institutions of higher
education, a measure amounting to a general censure of the
administration. One constructive result of this unfortunate
controversy was the adoption by the board of trustees in 1935 of a
"Statement of Academic Freedom and Tenure," which belatedly brought
the university into compliance with the accepted professional
standards of the A.A.U.P. and similar bodies.
his differences with the faculty, President Oxnam was generally
popular with the student body. Many former students have
attested to his magnetic personality and interesting chapel
addresses, to the air of excitement he brought to the quiet and
rather isolated campus. His socially prominent wife and active
young family also may have contributed to a more sophisticated image
of the contemporary Methodist university presidency.
not altogether clear how much Oxnam's progressive ideas on politics
and society may have influenced undergraduates. In the fall of
1932 a straw poll revealed that a large majority of students favored
the re-election of Herbert Hoover, a result consistent with the
prevailing Republican predilection of the DePauw constituency.
More surprisingly, 245 students, cast their ballots for Norman
Thomas, the Socialist candidate who had spoken on campus at
the president's invitation. After the election of Franklin
Roosevelt and the enactment of his New Deal reform measures, the
Oxnam administration worked closely with the federal government to
help students find employment opportunities on campus.
Hundreds of students took advantage of jobs provided through the
National Youth Administration and similar agencies to augment their
resources in working their way through college.
Blackstock Stadium was
completed in 1941 at
a cost of near $100,000 with a stadium seating
4000, a press box, showers, locker rooms, and
the economic hard times undergraduates found ways to enjoy the good
times associated with the college experience. With the ban on
dancing at campus parties lifted by the previous administration,
social life flowered in the Oxnam years. DePauw's first Junior
Prom took place on May 19, 1930 in Bowman Gymnasium. Formally
dressed couples danced to the music of Don Bestor's Victor Recording
Orchestra from Pittsburgh in a setting designed to resemble a
Japanese garden. Two years later coeds sponsored a Leap Year
Ball, which in turn inspired the subsequent annual Gold-Diggers'
Ball. In a reversal of roles, women invited men to these
dances, furnishing them with ingenious, and sometimes outrageous,
corsages and calling for them at their living units. besides
such all-campus affairs, the fraternities and sororities each
included one formal and one informal dance in the campus social
calendar. Interestingly enough, the handful of black males at
DePauw held their own annual prom in these years at The Elms, a
popular off-campus restaurant, inviting women from Indianapolis and
elsewhere as their dancing partners.
The February 1929 Phi Mu Alpha and Mu Phi
presented Hulda of Holland with villagers, milkmaids,
and farmhands from the two honoraries and the operetta
class. Edna Tyne Bowles, voice instructor, directed.
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