Monday, February 28, 2011

Campus Guard

One of my favorite traditions from my time here at Wabash is campus guard. Campus guard entails two living units splitting up and guarding various posts across the campus for most of the night in order to stop any possible pranks from the dastardly DePauw Tigers during Monon Bell week. It is usually freshmen who are expected to stand guard during this week and it is one of many rites of passage that freshmen do. When Wabash has the bell this guard also involves making sure that no DePauw students steal the bell from us. A structuralist would say that campus guard symbolizes the unity between everyone at Wabash during Monon Bell week. It symbolizes our great yearning to beat DePauw as we set aside any differences we have in order to make sure that the dannies do not try to get the best of us. A structuralist would realize that campus guard symbolizes Wabash unity, school spirit, the rivalry between Wabash and DePauw, and the masculinity exemplified in some of the Wabash traditions. A post-structuralist would look at campus guard from a different aspect. He would question whether these symbolic meanings are good interpretations and would probably find that they are not. A post-structuralist would question whether there is a real basis for guarding the campus or if it actually shows any kind of unity between Wabash men. In this examination he would also look at the Monon Bell game and its history to see if campus guard is necessary and for what reason it is or is not.


  1. I agree with you Lewis. I think that a post-structuralist critic would look at this event, take it apart, and then say that it is just a bunch of freshmen staying outside all night (especially when we do not have the bell). Like you pointed out I believe that the post-structuralist would not see any real purpose for this event and would argue that it does not really prove anything except that an individual can stay out all night. The critic would point out that it is not really a sign of masculinity nor is it really a sign of school spirit or a symbol of the rivalry between Wabash and Depauw.

  2. I think a post-structuralist would also make mention of the ways in which Campus Guard can oppress Wabash's own students. People walking around outside late to the library, armory, or even back to their living unit may be accosted and interrogated by the campus guards. Also, they may posit that since few pranks are now pulled and many may end with legal action, the individuals guarding really serve no function. They are simply perpetuating a tradition in which freshmen and pledges must stand out in the cold and stay awake all night, most certainly affecting their in-class performance the next day. The event may also serve to secure one's conformity to the school and their respective living units.

  3. I think that you guys are right, but I also think that a post-structuralist necessarily rips apart a symbol and leaves it lying on the floor. I think that a post-structuralist would find a different interpretation however. I think that a post-structuralist would see that the analysis of guarding as a yearning to beat DePauw is really a base reading. I think that a post-structuralist would posit instead that the better analysis would be that campus guard is a way that Wabash men effectively dress up and play house, being the big protector while simultaneously emasculating DePauw.