November 10th, 1868

Williams students rebel against a faculty ruling that awards a zero for any absence from recitation.

In the student newspaper Vidette, Marshall Hapgood, non-graduate of the Class of 1872, described the students’ disagreement with a new faculty regulation awarding a zero mark for any absence from recitation, whether the absence was officially excused or not. “Tuesday, November 10 [1868] Today will be a great day in the history of Williams College . . . our main object was to consider the matter of withdrawing from College; so we adjourned to another room and there decide to withdraw until the obnoxious rule is taken back. After Chapel exercises at night we have a general College meeting and everyone except three of the one hundred and seventy or upwards members sign a resolution to withdraw. So I consider myself no longer a member of College. In eve play Back Gammon and Checkers.” Over the next several weeks, President Mark Hopkins and the faculty softened the rule, and students returned to class.