The iconic tradition of stealing the clapper has been suppressed since 1992 when a student fell from the roof of Nassau Hall in an attempt. Since then, the clapper has been removed, and a pathetic recording of the bell echoes on campus. 

This lamentable state of affairs must not stand.

The desire for clapper stealing is very much alive in the heart of every tiger, and rather than suppress it, let us reinstitute the tradition in a safe ceremonial form.

Let each residential college designate one first-year as Clapper Stealer. Now imagine a crowd of students gathered in front of Nassau Hall on the night before the first day of classes. At midnight, the door of Nassau Hall opens, and a representative of the administration (Dean perhaps?) addresses the crowd of first-years in a ceremonial dialog:

“Who comes to Nassau Hall?”

“THE CLASS OF 2025!” they respond.

“What do you want?”


“Why do you seek the clapper?”


And then the students who were selected by their peers to represent the residential colleges are admitted inside, escorted to the bell tower where their illuminated figures can be seen by the crowd below — to great cheers — and finally emerge back down the doors, bearing the clapper(s) that have been awarded to them.

The tradition has been restored in a safe, memorable, satisfying form. The clapper is free to ring in peace, and the penalty for attempting to steal the clapper (outside of the ceremony) is two years suspension, and one year for co-conspirators.

Neil Weber ’86
Galena, Ohio