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That OTHER time they burned the Glom (thank God for Fob James)

John Sellers: "They're after me."

If anyone who incinerated the 1970 Glomerata caught flak for the act from one of their (obviously very young) parents, I so hope they shot back with: “I learned it from watching YOU!”

Because it wasn’t the only edition of the yearbook that burned. The same fate met the 1955 Glomerata, this time in a S’mores-less bonfire in Ross Square, but not because editor John Sellers downplayed the Greeks in the book’s version of Auburn (as was done in 1970), but because he used their money—fraternities and sororities paid $145 for their pages—to mock them.

Previously, the tone of the fraternity section was all tame inside jokes and (mostly) wholesome LOLs. Sellers, as part of his attempt (that also included major design overhauls) to revamp the Glom’s vibe, went full-on snark.

The Alpha Delta Pi’s devoted their time to mankind (“with the emphasis on the “Man—the “kind” doesn’t make much difference.”) The braniac Alpha Gams maintained a “B” average (“could this be why they’re called the B girls of the Plains?”).

Here’s a sample poem:

Here’s to all the Auburn Phi Mu’s—
They’ll take your pin and drink your booze,
They’ll hug you and kiss you ’till you almost smother—
Turn your back, and they’ll be with another.

The Pike’s apparently dated dogs…Pi Kappa Phi’s favorite charity was the ABC Store… you get the picture. The frats got the matches.

But, amazingly, the best part of the story isn’t the Glomfire, it’s the attempted lynching. This was 1955, after all. The respect for human life that might have muted Auburn student wrath to Threat Level: Effigy Burning was still 15 years away.

Thank God for former star Auburn running back and Alabama governor Fob James!

From Fob: The Incredible Story of Fob James Jr.

After tossing yearbooks into a bonfire, the students began marching toward a fraternity house where they thought Sellers would be, chanting “Where’s John? Where’s John?”

[Dean of Students] Foy got call from Sellers asking for help, saying “They’re after me.”

“The students came storming in on campus headed for the frat house where the editor was,” Bryan said. “I remember Fob stopping them in front of the house, standing in front of the door, and telling them no one was going to destroy property or hurt someone, no one was going to come through that door.”

Foy said James reminded the students everybody had exams the next day and said he knew they had to study like he did and why didn’t they go on home and let the publications board [the joint faculty and student committee that supervised all campus publications] take care of the yearbook editor.

And they did. Sellers was chastised. Bad taste. Poor judgement. The works.

“The board wishes to apologize to the student body for the write-ups but point out other sections of the book were high calibre.”

Sellers sent his own apology to the school and the offended organizations, writing “We did not intend in any way to degrade any group at all. We tried to poke fun at all groups and not limit it to any single one.

“We expected the organizations to take the attitude in the same spirit in which it was given, this is, a spirit of fun and overstatement.”

“The reaction was not anticipated.”

I should say not. So stay away from the window, future Glom staffers. Yearbook burning and threats of bodily harm to editors are apparently a learned behavior at Auburn. You can’t be too cautious.

Related: Never-before-seen photos from the great 1970 Glomfire.

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About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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