Of Panty Raids, Pools, and Playboy

As we reported in our May/June 2009 issue, the “Great UC Panty Raid” occurred on the sweltering evening of May 16, 1956. What began as good-natured lingerie looting soon turned into a melee involving hundreds of male students. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, doors were broken down, beds were overturned, and coeds were “manhandled” in the course of the wild spree. Afterward, reported the Oakland Tribune, “The streets surrounding the area took on the appearance of a bargain basement after a women’s lingerie sale.” The cost in property damage and lost underthings was later estimated at $12,000.

The lurid incident made headlines around the world, and then-Chancellor Clark Kerr later recalled that he approached Walter Haas, Class of 1910 to “ask him whether the answer to a warm night in spring might better be a cold dip in a supervised swimming pool.” Kerr told the story in his memoir of UC, The Gold and the Blue.

He answered ‘yes’ and contributed $300,000. He often told me later that this gift, as he saw its many uses, had given him the most personal pleasure of the many gifts he made. In any event, there were no more panty raids.

It was around this time, when the university was also embroiled in the “great corruption crisis in the Pacific Coast Conference” (mentioned in this post), that Kerr observed with some exasperation that “the job of the chancellor had come to be defined as providing parking for the faculty, sex for the students, and athletics for the alumni.” To his mild chagrin, the remark made it to the pages of both Time and Playboy.

Comments

This is not a heartwarming tale. The thought of being a victim of an attack like that deeply concerns me, both as a current Cal student and a mother.
Chill out…..
I believe the article condemed the attacks. Consider the words melee, overturned beds, broken down doors and manhandling of women. This characterization does not appear to be an endorsement of this event. Given the fact that $300,000 was donated and the pany raids ended, I would suggest that Walter Haas would agree with me. Perhaps the author will correct me.
Wow…Its hard to believe but women can do anything in this world. Before you condemn such “attacks”, it might be worth reading a little more on the history of that place. Xbox 360 deals Danny

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