In 1863, a little over 20 years into our Northern Indiana adventure, I published a comprehensive disciplinary code for the lads. It has formed the backbone of our rules going nigh on 150 years now, albeit with revisions. Time marches on, customs change…Ted let in girls. So I have kept The Code as up to date as I can, both within reason and within the fine Notre Dame tradition of calling everything tradition and changing nothing except that which is absolutely necessary to change. Thus, without further introduction, I give you all — freshmen through seniors, football players and all varsity athletes, anyone who calls Notre Dame, Indiana home, and even you alumni gracing us with your exalted presence this season — the 12-score and tenth edition of the Regulations of the University of Notre Dame.
“1st. All the Students of this Institution are required to attend the exercises of public worship with punctuality and decorum.” Lads, ‘sky’s out, thighs out’ might work on the quad, but this is a church. God’s out…put your damn legs in pants. And ladies, wear something that looks like a dress, not a bib. “Catholic Students shall go to Confession every month.” Especially during football season, 30-odd days of sin is all any Immortal Soul can bear before getting cleaned up. Your Rector knows when you are sleeping; he knows when you’re awake and what you’re doing…at3:00am. Get in the box at least once a month.
“2nd. As soon as the bell announces the beginning or end of a College exercise, every one shall repair in silence to that duty to which he is called.” We struck this one around 1960, on Ted’s advice. Something called ‘Frisbee’ came up.
“3rd. The time of recreation excepted, silence must be inviolably observed in all places.” Who was I kidding? This never really worked…especially after 1887 and a little thing called football. Stricken.
“4th. Students must show themselves obedient and respectful towards the Professors and Prefects of the Institution — never absenting themselves from the place in which they ought to be, without permission from proper authority.” I don’t care if it was penny-pitcher night last night. Get your lazy butts out of bed for class. And do your bodies a favor and have breakfast a few times before finals week. We know what happens when you miss a team meeting with Professor Kelly. Apply the same principle to your eight-in-the-morning seminar.
“5th. Students must carefully avoid every expressions in the least injurious to Religion, their Professors, Prefects or Fellow Students.” I don’t get anti-discrimination clauses or harassment rules. This is pretty simple and it’s been my rule for a looooong time: don’t be crude, lewd, or insulting. Shoot your mouth off and I’ll fill it with a bar of lard-soap. Or The Lord will strike the living tongue from your skull. Either way, we’ll have Christian speech here and no other kind (conversation regarding Michigan, USC, and the Freemasons/Jesuits excepted).
“6th. Students are not permitted to visit private rooms.” You want to know where parietals came from? Right here! And give me some credit — I’ve loosened up A LOT on these rules over the years: You can visit private rooms, just not after the witching hour. And believe you me…there will be ham in the treetops before we give up on parietals, so just deal with it.
“7th. The use of tobacco is forbidden.” A filthy habit. I always hated it. Now that you know it kills — I told you so.
“9th. Compensation for all damage done to the furniture or other property of the College, will be required from the person or persons causing such injury.” I don’t get Residence Life, or Community Standards, or whatever the Befehl für die Durchsetzung des Verhaltens is called now. You break it, you either buy me a new one, or learn carpentry FAST.
“10th. No branch of study, once commenced, may be discontinued without permission of the Prefect of Studies.” I don’t get ‘finding yourself.’ You all have to take Theology and Philosophy. Now pick a damn major and stick with it. And be big boys and girls — pick a hard one.
“11th. No one shall leave the University grounds without the permission of the President or Vice President.” Ted quit checking years ago, and I’m not going to make Johnny Jenkins start up again. We keep $1,000 cash wrapped in tinfoil in the icebox of Corby Hall’s kitchen. If we have to bail you out, it better cost a grand or less — and we only do it for you once.
“12th. Any breach of pure morals, either in words or actions, must be reported forthwith to the President or Vice President.” Face it, with all this new sorcery you call ‘technology,’ the President’s people already know everything you write and say and which side of your bed you sleep on. You don’t have to report anything anymore…eagle eyes sees all.
“13th. Whether in class or in recreation, when permitted to converse at table, or during their walks, Students should endeavor to improve the purity of their language, and cultivate urbanity of manners. A few years in College would be profitably employed, if nothing else were learned but to converse and behave with the dignity and propriety of gentlemen.” Students, please repeat this section of The Code to any Alumnus who’s already three deep into the Scotch.
“14th. No one shall keep in his possession any money, except what he receives weekly from the Treasurer.” This is pretty much Flex Points, isn’t it? I was a prophet in my own time…
“15th. On the first Wednesday of every month, ‘Certificates of Good Conduct’ and of ‘Improvement in Class’ are issued by the Faculty to such Students as deserve them. On either side of the President’s table, and conspicuous to every visitor, are the ‘Tables of Honor,’ presided over by the Vice President and the Prefect of Discipline. At these are seated twenty-two of the Students whose conduct has been most exemplary during the preceding week. They are elected by the unanimous vote of the Professors and Prefects.” We discontinued this when, on the first Thursday of every month, we had 22 badly pummeled bootlickers to care for in the infirmary.
“16th. In winter, on Saturday, at 4 o’clock P.M., the Students must wash their feet. In summer, this regulation is rendered unnecessary by the rule which requires the Students to bathe, in common, twice a week, in St. Joseph’s Lake.” And this whole thing has been rendered unnecessary by giving you all luxurious indoor plumbing, including those extravagant showers. Lads in particular — use those magic rain rooms a couple time a day in the warm weather. No one likes being around a whiffy Goth. But don’t completely disregard the idea of a good Lake-bath, especially for the more hirsute of you. Believe me, with my sick flow and waist-length beard, I can clog a drain like a boss.
“17th. On Sunday and Wednesday mornings, the students must place upon their beds, wrapped up in a bag, their soiled linen of the previous half week.” Much to the shock, dismay, and ridicule of other colleges and universities, we still do our students’ laundry for them if they want. It’s because we love…just that simple.
“18th. Stationery, &c., will be delivered to Students. Every student should have a memorandum book in which to enter all his receipts and expenditures, and his notes for recitation in class, and for conduct during his stay in College.” Try to be honest with your expenditures. We all know what ‘Medicine for a Fever’ or ‘Donation to my Brothers’ or ‘investment with a financial Backer’ or ‘$300 of Milwaukee’s Best and plastic-bottle vodka at Blarney Stone’ really mean.
“19th. Students who may have failed to give satisfaction in the Class Room, or who shall have been guilty of misconduct, or breach of rule, will be sent to the Detention Room during the recreations or the promenades, and perform such tasks as shall be assigned to them.” The Detention Room is an abysmal pit we call Ann Arbor.
“20th.” Stricken. You’ve got that God-awful music now.
“21st. Senior Students will be permitted to read or study from eight to nine o’clock, P.M.” Candles used to cost good money, people! Of course, these days the Seniors only seem to study consumption theory, primitive dance, and biology of a certain sort from eight to nine.
“22nd. Every month, all the Students must write to their parents or guardians, and have their letters corrected by the Secretary of the Faculty, previous to their being mailed. All letters sent or received may be opened by the President or Vice President.” Two things to take away from this rule: first, it kept mothers very happy; second, when I was opening letters, there were never any problems with mail from fake girlfriends.
“23rd. When a Student is sick, he will obtain permission from the Prefect of Health, to go to the infirmary, and will observe the regulations of that place until his recovery.” This used to mean students with Malaria, not the ‘Irish Flu.’
“24th. No book shall be introduced into the College, without being previously examined and approved by the Prefect of Studies. Objectionable books found in the possession of Students, will be withheld from them until their departure from the University.” Not long ago, I saw a young lady with a book called ‘50 Shades of Grey.’ I picked up a copy because I though it was about Northern Indiana winter and spring. Christ on His throne! IT IS NOT ABOUT NORTHERN INDIANA WINTER AND SPRING! Because of books like this, we have such a rule.
“N.B. The happiness, no less than the improvement of Students, is so closely connected with the good order and even rigid discipline of the College, that no young gentleman of good sense, who has at heart his own welfare and the accomplishment of his purpose in entering the Institution, can fail to discover the importance of a strict observance of the foregoing Rules. If the Authorities of the University exhort all to exhibit a sincere and unwavering zeal in keeping these Regulations, they demand of Students nothing more than the promotion of their own interest.” That’s our story and we’re sticking to it…at least for another century and a half.
Son, in 199 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard, incontrovertible facts: There is a God, and I'm pretty tight with Him.
Now I’m going to tell you a whole lot of things I’ve kept to myself for years. None of you ever knew me. I was along before your time, but you all know what a tradition I am at Notre Dame. And one of the most important things I ever said was, “Friends, sometime when my University is up against it and the breaks are beating the students, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win at everything for Padre. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be then, friends,” I said, “but I’ll be looking right over your shoulder.”