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Manners and Morals of Coe Students

As a Christian school, the early Coe community believed it had an obligation to its students and to the community at large to maintain a scholarly atmosphere while still maintaining a healthy social climate as well. In 1898, women living in the dormitories were permitted to leave the hall at night for special events such as Bible study and the Thursday night prayer meetings.  Students around the turn of the century were prohibited from going anywhere on the day of the Sabbath.  School rules also prohibited students from appearing at local saloons, taverns, pool halls and other places of "unchristian behavior." Until 1934, the official Coe Policy prohibited smoking, drinking and gambling by Coe students on Coe property.

By the 1920's Coe students became more comfortable with challenging the moral rules of the college and its authority as loco parentis.  For example, by the middle 1920's Coe faculty began authorizing previously prohibited dances, sponsored by the SATC, or Student Army Training Corps.  There was also an attempt through Coe Cosmos editorials to convince the administration to legalize gambling on campus.  The flapper fashions of the 20's were however, largely frowned upon by "proper" Coe women and never really caught on as much as in other parts of the nation.  The school also maintained control of student private affairs by discouraging "petting" and dancing and by expelling several students from Coe for neglecting to request permission to marry.

As a Christian school, Coe has always been active concerning both campus and community affairs.  Organizations at Coe in the 1920's such as the Prohibition Association worked as a side arm of the local temperance movement, helping the community maintain its Christian values and helped shut down several locally owned bars in the early 1900's.  Other Christian organizations such as the Gospel Team sent volunteers to work in nearby towns.  In 1911, the Gospel Team sent seven men to work in Sumner, IA, during the Winter break.  Today the Coe Alliance, Coe Greens, Coe Christian Fellowship, and now a Coe branch of Amnesty International work on campus and within the community to continue to spread good ethics and the college's moral ideals.

However, there have been some issues to contend with. In 1904 the Coe Courier, distressed over swearing on the football field, proposed expulsion from the game for the use of profanity on the field.  Swearing was such a problem in the Chemistry Labs in 1911 that the faculty held a meeting to discuss the problem.  Rumor has it that if you step into the lab room today, quiet as a mouse and listen carefully you can still hear an occasional swear word as a Petri dish crashes to the floor!  In 1898 the possibility of unscholarly card playing in the men's dorm rooms was investigated by President Dr. Samuel McCormick.  Today, traditional poker and rummy have been replaced by euchre as the game of choice and by the occasional unfortunate streaker.

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Coe College
1220 1st Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402