Little known facts: a headache of a handbook


While most people understand that times have changed dramatically in the past few decades, many students are unaware of how true that change is for the culture of the University of Dallas in particular.

The handbooks and regulation papers published by UD, beginning in 1956, reveal the reality of the changes that have been made to social life in particular.

In 1956, the handbook published by UD stipulates that:

– “Television sets and high-fidelity units or component parts are not permitted in private rooms.”

– “ For men: For Sunday Mass, coat and tie are a must in order that you be dressed appropriately.”

– “For women: For Sunday Mass, heels, hose, gloves, and hats are a must in order that you be dressed appropriately.”

– “For women: wear your hair in curlers or pin curls anywhere except in your private room.”

– “One must keep one’s room neat and tidy at all times. Room check may be made anytime from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.”

– “One must not take showers between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.”

In addition to these rules, in 1956, the university required a general permission slip signed by a student’s parent or guardian at the beginning of the year in order to approve any overnight or off-campus weekend leaves.

In order to obtain an approved leave, each student was required to have a written invitation from the person whom they wished to visit as well as the signature of the dean of men or dean of women to approve the trip.

“Sign-in” hours, or official hours in which students had to sign back into the dorms, were at 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday for freshman students, and 12 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, which were the latest times students could be out.

Quiet hours were observed by freshmen on Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and after 10 p.m., all resident students were required to observe them. The handbook states:

“Absolute quiet must be observed in this area in Residence halls after 8 p.m.”

The handbook explicitly states: “During quiet hours you must stay in your room and study, read, or sleep.”

In addition to these tight regulations dealing with dorm life, there were also regulations for male and female students who lived off campus in private homes and apartments.

For men living in private homes, no female visitors were ever permitted. They were also liable to sign-in times, visiting hours, and overnight and weekend leaves.

For a woman living in a private home, no male visitors were allowed without the presence of the family with whom she lived. She was also liable to sign in times, visiting hours, and overnight and weekend leaves.

Even as late as 1965, students were not permitted to engage a hotel or motel room without university authorization, and a failure to observe this rule was liable to official dismissal.

In 1965, male students were allowed to visit women’s dormitories during visiting hours, but women were not allowed to visit the men’s dormitories without a personal invitation from the dean of students or during a scheduled coeducational function.

The handbook from 1965 states: “Blue jeans, ‘T’ shirts, and similar attire are permitted only on the athletic fields, or whenever appropriate for the occasion, but never in the school buildings.”

These stipulations on dress, dorm life and social life reveal the dramatic contrast between modern UD students and past students in the ’50s and ’60s.

The times have certainly changed, and as the past codes of conduct reveal, and as they continue to do so, UD will as well.


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