The University of Chicago “C Bench”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 83
Occupation: Businessman - retired
Residence: Glencoe, Illinois
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/10/2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

At the University of Chicago, there is a concrete bench in the form of a C in front of the administration building.  According to my informant, who attended the University of Chicago in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, you were not to sit on the C bench “unless you were a letterman or had been kissed by a letterman.”  Essentially only athletes and the girlfriends of athletes could use the bench.  My informant says that if someone violated this rule, however, no one really did anything, it’s was just a funny rule.

After some research, it seems that there are two different traditions surrounding the C Bench from different eras.  In the early 1900’s, the C Bench was off-limits for Freshman, and any freshman who sat on it would most definitely be harassed by older students.  Back then, the C Bench was a big social center of campus and lots of people hung out there.  In later years, that tradition appears to have faded and been replaced by reserving the C Bench for athletes and their girlfriends.   At this point in time, however, the C Bench seems to have dwindled as a hot spot for social activity and the  tradition had lost almost all meaning, especially with the school’s shift from athletic focus to academic focus.

http://college.uchicago.edu/story/story-bench