“Propagating Infidel Principles” – Sesquicentennial Snapshot

From its earliest days the Wheaton College community has agreed to common standards of behavior. These codes have changed significantly over the last 150 years and moved from explicitly forbidding activities to the biblically-based principles of today’s Community Covenant. Once referred to as “The Pledge”, students from previous decades contracted to refrain from a variety of activities such as movie attendance, card playing or membership in a secret society. According to Wheaton College’s first rules in the 1860 catalog:


  • Generally, all offensive, disorderly or indecent conduct
  • propagating infidel principles
  • profaning the Sabbath
  • profane or obscene language or behavior
  • playing billiards and like games
  • using intoxicating liquors or tobacco
  • disorder in rooms
  • disorder in or about the buildings, especially at nights
  • injuring college property
  • a careless use of fire
  • throwing water, dirt, or other offensive things from the windows
  • joining any secret society or entering the marriage relation while a member of the College

The deportment of the sexes towards each other will he particularly regarded by the Faculty, and any student whose conduct shall be, in the judgment of the Faculty, either foolish or improper, will be promptly separated from the institution, if admonition fails to correct it. In short everything is forbidden which will hinder, and everything required, which, we think, will help students in the great object for which they assemble here, which is improvement of mind, morals and heart.

The Faculty will exercise a parental and moral oversight of the character and conduct of the students, each officer having power to suspend disorderly students until next Faculty meeting. The students are required to be present at all College Exercises; to treat their officers with respect, and fellow-students with decorum; to attend church on the Sabbath; and not to leave town; or be out at night; or be out of their rooms in study hours; or absent from examinations without permission.

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