As we partially surmised might be the case last Saturday in reprinting telegraphic accounts of a bowl-rush and "riot" at the University of Pennsylvania, the account given was considerably exaggerated and prejudiced. The following description of the rush from an impartial outsider, the New York Times, sets the matter in a better light. As a whole it cannot be said, however, that the affair reflects credit on either party. The students apparently put themselves in the position of an ungentlemanly mob, and as such deserved the correction they obtained. If for nothing less than a description of a curious-relic of custom nearly extinct at all other colleges, the following account is of interest:
"The chapel of the University of Pennsylvania was filled this morning with a mostly crowd of students dressed in knickerbockers and canvas jackets, eagerly awaiting the announcements of the term averages and the annual bowl-fight that was immediately to follow. The sophomores had on the grounds a ponderous wooden bowl about 2 1-2 feet in diameter and fully 2 inches thick, strongly dovetailed to resist the most powerful efforts of the freshmen to break it. The object of the sophomores in this annual fight is to put the last honor man of the freshman class into the bowl, while the freshmen fight to get their last honor man off the field and then to break the bowl. So when Prof. Jackson, secretary of the college faculty, announced the list of freshmen distinguished through the term, a painful silence attended the calling of each name. The last name was Whittaker of the Scientific School. Whittaker, strongly guarded by the freshmen, made his appearance at the main entrance, while the sophomores awaited him, with their bowl, at the foot of the steps on the campus. With one powerful rush the freshmen forced their man down the steps, straight through the crowd of sophomores, pass the bowl, over the campus, across the Darby road, and safely housed him in Otto's beer saloon. All this was done in six minutes, the best time on record. Then the crowd rushed back to the campus to fight for the possession of the bowl, which was soon forced over the fence into the middle of Thirty-fourth street, where the sophomores made a determined stand. Here neither side had the advantage, and in the scrimmage every contestant had his turn wallowing in the gutter and the filthy mud of the street.
Policeman Murphy and Corman made their appearance and ordered the fight to stop. They were greeted by the fighters and spectators with yells and jostled about. Frantic with annoyance, the officers drew their clubs and brandished them over their disrespectful neighbors. The derisive hooting made the officers mad. They grabbed the nearest man, an innocent little chap named George Darby. The crowd then "rushed" both officer and prisoner down into the commons, while stones rattled on the backs and caps of the officers like hail on a barn. The excitement was made intense by some one of the crowd firing a pistol. Another officer then appeared, and, with drawn revolver, acted as a rear guard for his brother officers by keeping the infuriated crowd at bay. The stationhouse was soon reached and the prisoner was put trembling before the bar. Officer Murphy had his blood up; he went outside the door and shortly appeared with Mr. McBride of the Arts" senior class. A joint charge of breach of the peace was made against Mr. McBride and the little prisoner, George Derby, of No. 4,000 Chestnut street. The prisoners were taken before Magistrate Randall. Here they were met by Provost Pepper, who had them released for a hearing tomorrow.
The fight over the bowl had meanwhile gone on. The freshmen raised the bowl over the Thirty-fourth street fire-plug to break it. The fire-plug broke under the heavy blows from the bowl. Finally, tired and soaked, the freshmen claimed the bowl by possession, and triumphantly carried it across the campus into the building."
In his official report of the affair, Police Lieutenant Blankley says: "Officer Murphy was struck in the head with a stone. There were also four pistolshots fired, apparently at the officers. A man immediately behind the officers claimed to have been shot in the head. The officers could not ascertain who he was."