Did Hawn get it on in Hughes?

The Eagle unveils the truth behind AU alumna Goldie Hawn and other myths

From the ancient Greeks to the mighty Romans, every culture has had its myths, and the student culture at AU is no different. Naked dances around a pagan god idol, Goldie Hawn antics and secret government maneuverings are part of the fabric of AU myths and rumors, some of which can be put to rest.

THE TIKI GOD North Side harbors quiet and studious co-eds, right? Then why might its residents dance naked around a statue of a "tiki god?"

"I heard every year at the start of track season that the track team dances around the tiki god and the girls in Hughes Hall, whose windows face the god, blink their room lights. Then the players shine a light on them and they lift up their shirts," said Carrie McKinley, a freshman living in Hughes.

Other scantily clad myths are also centered around the tiki god, a statue that sits in the courtyard between McDowell and Hughes Halls.

"All the girls on North Side dance naked around it at finals," said sophomore Chris Rinkus.

The tiki god is actually called "Moai." It was donated to AU as a gift of friendship from Rapa Nui, an island near Chile, according to the AU archives. Myth has it that it is a god of fertility, but what about these naked dances?

PRIMAL SCREAM In large part those dances have some truth, rooted in a tradition that occurs on North Side during finals week every year, called "primal scream." At midnight on the first night of finals, people gather outside the front of McDowell and near the statue in the courtyard, awaiting the flashing lights from windows above signaling that girls are about to strip. Usually a few rooms of brave girls take their shirts off, and the track team often makes a naked run-by, according to upperclassmen.

GOLDIE HAWN Other myths surround a certain famous actress that once attended AU, Goldie Hawn. Rumor has it the drama major got kicked out of school after only two weeks for smoking marijuana. Contrary to those reports, Hawn actually attended AU for a year.

Hawn spoke at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony in 2002 and had this to say about her decision to leave: "I only stayed for one year at AU, not what I planned, because again I was asked to dance at the Texas pavilion at the New York World's Fair. I had to make a decision whether to stay or go. So I went. It was the right decision for me in the end, and that made me very happy."

Other myths have also been passed down about Hawn. "I heard that she lost her virginity in Hughes Hall. I don't know which floor or room, but I like to think that it was mine," said freshman Kenton Kerns.

AU AND THE ARMY Other AU rumors focus on the University's long relationship with the U.S. military.

"I heard there are chemical weapons buried under McDowell. I don't think it's true, but it could explain the smell," joked Manan Shah. The odds that chemical weapons are being hid under the residence halls are slim, but the roots of this myth are based in truth. During World War I, AU allowed the government to use the campus as a military base, according to AU archivist George Arnold. Instead of housing students, the campus housed troops, according to the archives. Aerial pictures from the time show tents and barracks.

Chemical weapons were developed in what is now Letts and Anderson Halls and the Watkins Building. In fact, the U.S. Army began building Mary Graydon Center to be used as a chemical lab, but the war ended before the building was finished. AU later completed the building, according to AU archives.

FOOTBALL The U.S. Army may also have been involved in another rumor that tends to circulate at AU, regarding why the University does not have a team for football, one of America's most popular sports. AU student Erica Griffin said she heard that AU once had a football team years ago, but one of the players died. His name? Bender. It is rumored that the Bender family began paying AU every year to prevent the team from reforming.

In reality, American Weekly reported that AU had a football team in 1937. The last season it played was the fall of 1941. The reason the team disbanded is not known, but there are several possibilities. Arnold said that many young men enlisted during the war, and there were not enough for a team. Also, the U.S. Army and Navy took over the campus again during World War II, according to the archives.

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