Libraries & Spaces
What was a jug rat?
Until the 20th century, students who violated minor rules on campus were punished by having to memorize and publicly recite lines of Latin poetry--more serious offenses were punished by confinement (on a diet of bread and water) to a room in one of the towers of Old North or by expulsion. When a culprit had lines to learn, he went to the "jug" or detention room and was considered by his fellow students to be a "jug rat." Punishment lines were cumulative, and it was possible for a student who was given to rule-breaking and not blessed with an aptitude for memorization to be in the "jug" for most, if not all, of a school year--although lines did not carry over from year to year. A Jug-Rat Association operated sporadically at Georgetown during the second half of the 19th century. Its main activity appears to have been an annual "extermination," held in June after the end of classes. A program of music and speeches, the "exterminations" were a parody of commencement ceremonies and generally attracted large external audiences.