Theta Nu Epsilon Fraternity, c. 1892
Fraternities first appeared on campus during the antebellum period, beginning with Delta Kappa Epsilon in 1851. Five other fraternities existed before the Civil War. When the university reopened in 1875, the trustees forbade fraternities in order to divert student energies to the debating societies. They reappeared, though, without official sanction. In 1885, the trustees relented and allowed fraternities to register with the university as long as they pledged not to serve alcohol.