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April Fool's Day Hoaxes by Student Papers
Princeton Goes Co-Ed. (1927)
A front-page article in The Daily Princetonian, Princeton's student paper, revealed that the all-male university would begin admitting women by 1929. Four hundred women were expected to be in the first co-ed class. The decision was made in order to qualify for a $20 million gift that was contingent upon admitting women. Princeton actually went co-ed in 1969. More…
Spring Recess Cancelled. (1938)
The student body of Cornell University was thrown into turmoil when the Cornell Daily Sun announced on its front page that school officials had decided to cancel spring recess. The reason given was that "a sub-committee appointed at the last meeting of the faculty to investigate student marks at the end of the first six weeks discovered that marks were so far below the required standard that they felt some immediate drastic action was necessary." The local railroad reported receiving frantic calls from students trying to get refunds on tickets they had already purchased to travel home. More…
Hutchins Quits. (1940)
The University of Chicago's student newspaper, the Daily Maroon, reported that UC President Robert Maynard Hutchins had resigned due to the unfavorable reaction from his comments on football. A successor was not named, but the article mentioned Postmaster Gen. James A. Farley (said to be an expert in "political science") as a possibility. The article also stated that the French government had presented the university with the luxury liner, the Normandie, as a gesture of goodwill. [The Freeport Journal Standard, Apr 1, 1940.] More…
“Too Sexy” headline banned. (1950)
The Guidon, student newspaper of Adelphi College, ran a headline announcing "Mating Season Open." Adelphi President Dr. Paul D. Eddy deemed this headline to contain too much sex and temporarily suspended publication of the paper. [Syracuse Herald-Journal, Apr 3, 1950.]
Cassius Clay Wins Literary Prize. (1963)
The Yale Literary Magazine announced that pugilist Cassius Clay, aka the "Louisville Lip" (later known as Muhammad Ali), had been awarded the Ephraim Barnard Gates Award, given to the person "who has done the most to revitalize poetry during the last year." The award committee cited "his mockery of the loose trochee, culminating in shocking spondees in the penultimate lines, and the final heavy line in irregular iambics" which produced "stanzas almost perfectly orchestrated." The Literary Magazine explained that the Ephraim Barnard Gates Award was a little-known prize, presentation of which had been discontinued after the Civil War but which had been revived in honor of Clay. More…
Campus Parody Turns Ugly. (1987)
Thomas Auclair, editor of The Beacon, the campus newspaper of North Adams State College, got into trouble when he ran a story declaring that the school's president, Catherine A. Tissinger, was running a telephone-sex service. The school's president responded by accusing the paper of sex discrimination and asked the Student Government Association to investigate the matter. The Student Government voted to remove Auclair from his position as editor. More…

PhDs Exempt From China’s One-Child Policy. (1993)
The China Youth Daily, an official state newspaper of China, announced on its front page that the government had decided to make Ph.D. holders exempt from the state-imposed one-child limit. The logic behind this decision was that it would eventually reduce the need to invite as many foreign experts into the country to help with the state's modernization effort. Despite a disclaimer beneath the story identifying it as a joke, the report was repeated as fact by Hong Kong's New Evening News and by Agence France-Presse, an international news agency. What made the hoax seem credible to many was that intellectuals in Singapore were encouraged to marry each other and have children, and China's leaders were known to have great respect for the Singapore system. The Chinese government responded to the hoax by condemning April Fool's Day as a dangerous Western tradition. The Guangming Daily, Beijing's main newspaper for intellectuals, ran an editorial stating that April Fool's jokes "are an extremely bad influence" and that "Put plainly, April Fool's Day is Liar's Day." More…
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