The Wimberly Affair





Of all events that occurred during the 1930s, the “Wimberly Affair” is amongst the most well-known of events. During the early thirties, Prohibition, an amendment to the United States Constitution that made alcohol illegal, was still in effect. Dr. L.C. Wimberly, English professor, and N.E. Eliason, instructor in English, were arrested on February 13, 1932 after a police raid at the university coliseum following an all-university party, which was chaperoned by the two faculty members. Other faculty members had been asked to chaperon as well but Wimberly and Eliason were the only two available. “I had heard that at these parties, there likely would be liquor and we constantly kept our eyes open,” said Wimberly (Lowry). As the party drew to an end, both chaperones became aware of a number of students entering and exiting a room at the far end of the coliseum. As chaperones, Wimberly and Eliason, with the company of Mrs. Eliason, went to investigate, suspecting that liquor was there. They entered the room to find what they had suspected. Wimberly claims they “were debating between ourselves what to do when the officers came in” (Lowry). Miss Lucille Mills, Miss Viola Butts, Mrs. Eliason, and Mr. Alan G. Williams were also arrested, none of whom were students at the university. Williams admitted ownership of the small quantities of beer and wine and a pint of whisky found when officers raided the room. After taking the six to headquarters, the officers searched Williams home where they found five gallons of wine. The women were booked at headquarters and released. The men, on the other hand, were released the following morning. Alan Wiliams was charged with illegal possession of liquor. After hearing the testimony of the officers and both faculty members, the Board of Regents decided to suspend both Wimberly and Eliason until September 1, 1932. However, Dr. L.C. Wimberly continued as editor of the Prairie Schooner, a publication group subsidized by the university. Classes of both faculty members were taken over by fellow faculty members immediately after suspension (Lowry).