They can’t take us all! The Weyer Hall Stampede of 1993, a failure of democracy

10/15/2012 – Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

In today’s Mint, we offer, for your enjoyment, an event which transpired during our time of service on the democratically elected dorm council as secretary at Weyer Hall, circa 1993.  While the narrative touches upon many themes that will no doubt evoke strong emotions, we humbly offer it as an example of the shortcomings of governance by democratically elected bodies.

It is recounted here, with certain liberties, in loving memory of Ma Tinder, long time dorm Mother at Weyer Hall.  Enjoy!

The Stampede.

During our short, but eventful time as a student at Hastings College, we resided in Weyer Hall, an all male dormitory which housed 70 residents.  While we assume that the College Administration had ultimate responsibility for campus governance, each dormitory was governed by a small group of democratically elected peers who sat on what was known as the dorm council.

During the Fall semester of our sophomore year, it fell to us to serve on the council as Dorm Secretary.  We say fell, because we did not exert much effort in our campaign, nor did we crush an inferior opponent in a moderated debate.  For all we know, we may have raised our hand at the wrong time, an innocent mistake which caused our name to land on the ballot.

Nonetheless, we were determined to serve our fellow residents to the best of our abilities.  As Secretary, our responsibilities included taking notes of the decisions of the dorm council, which invariably included the details of certain disciplinary actions taken against those who did not follow the rules and were foolish enough to get caught, publicly recognizing noteworthy accomplishments of the residents, if any, and informing them of upcoming events.

Our diligent dispatches reached the desk of the College President as well as the backs of every bathroom stall in the dorm, where they were most likely to be read.  For a time we created toned down, official version of the dispatches for the President.  However, our inner laziness finally demanded that we produce just one dispatch, complete with all of the juicy tidbits and unsolicited commentary fit to print.

The President seemed to love it.

The dorm council meetings were held in the quarters of the Dorm Mother, affectionately known as Ma Tinder.  Ma Tinder’s quarters were located at the center of the first floor of the three story structure.  She resided there, along with her dachshund “Peanut” as a source of calm in what was otherwise a cross between “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Animal House.”

The dorm council’s business, which it faithfully discharged at its monthly meetings, was to decide trivial matters, such as the design of the dorm t-shirt (which is fodder for another day), as well as to enforce the rules of the dorm.  Violations of the law of the dorm included residents found to have invited a female to the premises without signing them in at the desk, excessive noise, possession of alcohol and other illegal substances, and in one infamous case, the unlawful operation of a charcoal grill…indoors.

Weyer Hall
The tranquility of Weyer Hall was about to be transformed
Photo Courtesy of

The dorm council, as with any governing body, was divided into unspoken but acknowledged factions.  Those who were there to enforce the rules, and those who were there to ensure that the rules, if enforced, were loosely interpreted and administered with clemency.

You can imagine which camp the younger Mint fell into.

So it happened that on a Sunday afternoon, as winter descended upon Central Nebraska, the dorm council assembled in Ma Tinder’s quarters during mandatory “quiet time,” as was the custom.  As we were discussing matters of relatively trivial importance, a pounding noise, distant at first, then increasingly loud and frequent, arose from somewhere in the interior of the building until it passed, as would a locomotive, directly above Ma Tinder’s isle of tranquility.

It was the Stampede.

Those members of the council who were firmly in the rules enforcement camp immediately sprang to their feet in pursuit of the perpetrators of what was obviously a direct affront to the authority of the council.  To flagrantly violate “quiet time” by running in boxers and boots, as heavily as one could, through the hallway directly above the meeting place of the council was not simply a minor violation of the rules, it was mutiny.

Those of us who found ourselves in the “loose interpretation/clemency” camp slowly arose, fighting off a chuckle, and give the appearance of chase as doors all over Weyer Hall immediately shut as the Stampede ended just as suddenly as it had begun.

For not only did we see the Stampede as an artful form of both coordinated self expression and protest, we had helped instigate it.

In the end, while the entire dorm was given a stern warning to respect the the rules, there were no individual indictments.  Like history makers throughout the ages, the Weyer Stampeders had proved their point,

“You can’t take us all!”

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


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