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Penn Pants Fight

The Pants Fight is one of the best examples of spontaneity in the creation of Penn's class fight traditions. One afternoon in October 1902, sophomore class president John Arthur Brown and a few of his friends were bullying freshmen outside of Houston Hall when the freshmen called to their classmates for backup. When the entire freshman class appeared on the scene, Brown rallied a crowd of sophomores, and a fight ensued for the next hour. A freshman, noticing Brown's brand new whipcord trousers, raised a cry of, "Remove John Brown's pants!" The struggle continued for two more hours, and in the end John Brown walked away with only his shoes and belt. It became a tradition for the Pants Fight to be held as the second half of the Campus Fight, following a struggle by the freshmen to break through a throng of sophomores and touch the doors of Houston Hall. Over the years, the goal of the freshman class became more general as they tried to remove the pants of not only the class president but also other sophomore class officers and members of the Sophomore Vigilance Committee. At times, the fight got so out of hand that almost everyone who participated ended up running around West Philadelphia nearly naked. These ritual displays of nudity drew complaints from neighborhood residents, and the university was forced to abolish the fight in 1926.