Pranks at HSU

College is a time of testing limits: How many all-nighters can you pull in a row before your body deteriorates? How many dirty dishes can you stack in a sink before your roommate sends you a passive-aggressive text? Can you really get away with blowing up the school’s toilets?

Wait…what?! Blowing up toilets?

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There are many phenomenal resources that depict student life at HSU over the years, and one reoccurring theme over HSU’s 125 years is student pranks.

Stay tuned for the Top Three Most Destructive Pranks Performed by Former HSU Students:

Disclaimer: Do not attempt to recreate any of these pranks. You will get arrested.

3. In 1989, former student Charles Pond admitted that 50 years earlier he and other members of the HSU football team “captured Texas Tech bandsmen in order to brand HSU on their foreheads with silver nitrate.” [1]

Yes. You read that right. Hardin-Simmon students wrote “HSU” on the foreheads of Texas Tech band members with silver nitrate. “HSU” was essentially burned into the foreheads of those students.

And it gets better.

As the Tech students were leaving Abilene the following morning, their bus was pelted with eggs by HSU students, causing a brawl to break out in the street between the two schools.

2. In the 1950’s there was a dormitory director (the equivalent to today’s Resident Director) who was unaffectionately named “Professor Horsefeathers” by the students. The students claimed that Horsefeathers demanded they always keep absolutely quiet when in their rooms, to allow for optimal studying.

As I’m sure you can understand, the students did not like this. So, they decided to make Horsefeathers’ life unbearable.

Here is the prank, according to one of the participating students, which ultimately caused Horsefeathers to leave HSU:

“Workmen had been replacing many windows on campus, and had happened to leave a large pile of glass outside the dormitory. One boy was stationed at a top window above the glass to drop bricks down on to the pile at the same moment as some others were stationed at each hall light bulb. On a signal, all the bulbs were unscrewed as the bricks dropped on to the glass making a huge clatter.”

“Horesfeathers raced out of his room but the halls were darkened and the boys had disappeared. When he found them, he accused them of shooting out the lightbulbs—which they stoutly denied.”

Horsefeathers took the matter to President Sandefer, accusing the students of shooting the lights out, when in reality they only unscrewed the bulbs. The sound of bricks dropping on the glass below gave the illusion of the lightbulbs breaking.

Sandefer believed the boys and did not ask them to apologize, ultimately causing Horsefeathers to leave.[2]

Drum roll please…

1. Simmons College was not connected to the city sewer system until more than a year after World War I. The slow transition over to the city sewer system left many of the buildings on campus (especially the male resident halls) to use outdoor facilities, also known as outhouses.

During the post-war years (after 1918), certain (ahem…male) students grew frustrated and felt the college was moving too slowly towards indoor bathrooms. Taking matters into their own hands, these students decided to speed up the desired construction by blowing up the existing outdoor toilets.

It is believed that students who served in WWI with explosives used dynamite and skills acquired in the war to cause the explosions.[3]


And with that, I leave you with this delicious quote about pranks at HSU:

“Some undergraduates have little sense of the majesty of the law, and it is easy for college pranks to lap over into the realm of lawlessness. They are disposed to excuse almost any sort of skullduggery as a means to a worthy end.” –Rupert Norval Richardson

[1] Stackhouse, A. Yvonne. Hardin-Simmons University, A Centennial History. Abilene: Hardin-Simmons University, 1991.

[2] Stackhouse, A. Yvonne. Hardin-Simmons University, A Centennial History. Abilene: Hardin-Simmons University, 1991.

[3] Richardson, Rupert Norval. Famous Are Thy Halls, Hardin-Simmons University as I Have Known It. Abilene: Abilene Printing & Stationary Company, 1964

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