The University of Georgia Arch has a history of hosting not only tradition and superstition, but also protest.
The superstition of not walking under The University of Georgia’s Arch has a long history of myths, legends and somewhat unclear facts, but the history of protests that have taken place at the Arch are nothing close to mythical.
A campus tour guide, Jackson O’Brien, 21, says “I always tell the kids on my tours that the Arch is a very special on our campus and while it’s not observed by everyone, it’s a really exciting thing when graduation day rolls around and the entire senior class lines up on the sidewalks of North campus and pass underneath the Arch for the first time as a class, leaving the University of Georgia campus and passing into the real world”.
O’Brien explains that he likes to explain the whole history behind the Arch, not just a superstition.
As far as the facts go, what do know about the Arch is that it was once a gate that was put up around 1857. UGA claims that it wasn’t referred to as “the Arch” until around the 20th century. The University also states that the Arch was made from already existing pieces of iron, such as light poles and other iron works around the city.
UGA tour guide, Claire Dodd, 21, shares with us that she sometimes mentions the superstition behind walking under the Arch, but tends to stick to the facts for most of her tours.
She shares with us that the legend has it that a freshman by the name of Daniel Redfearn vowed to never cross under the Arch because he believed that until he graduated from the University, he did not possess the three virtues for which it stands- wisdom, justice and moderation.
After generations of Dawgs graduating, this vow turned into a superstition, and it is now believed that passing under the Arch before you get your diploma will bring you bad luck or even the possibility of never graduating. Here are some examples of how students and organizations feel about the Arch.
Check out this time-lapse video to show just how extreme this superstition has become:
The three iron pillars, representing wisdom, justice and moderation are avoided day after day due to fear of never graduating. These pillars also represent virtues that the University of Georgia strives to instill in each of their students. And, what better way to teach these three virtues than to provide a space for students to peacefully protest?
For hundreds of years and for a variety of social and political views- the Arch has been standing with students, faculty and all Athens’ citizens as they stand up for what they believe in. From demonstrations about the ban on undocumented students, presidential elections, the campus carry bill passed in 2017 to weekly, silent vigils made by the Women in Black’s group, the Arch gives people a place to peacefully and publicly vocalize their personal views. Check out these tweets about some of the many protests that have been held at UGA’s famous Arch.
From political protests to superstitious legends, the UGA Arch is filled with a rich history.
The Arch is just one of the many go-to sites in this history-filled, Classic City. Here is a list of 1o must-see landmarks that show us that Athens is more than just a college town,