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Saint Ignatius High School

Jug 'Em with a Jugum

The origins and meaning of "jug," the widely-shared term for detention in Jesuit high schools nationwide, are often debated. Today, Mr. Healey discusses a little of this history and how the jug has evolved over the years at Saint Ignatius.
Once a year, for three days, each faculty member is given the opportunity to, as jack-of-all-trades Rory Hennessey ’78 likes to say, “rapport” with students after school in Room 223 Loyola Hall.  That opportunity comes under the name of Jug Prefect.
The term “jug” is such a part of Jesuit secondary education that if someone claimed to have attended, say, Dallas Jesuit, and was asked, “How many jugs did you have?” and he gave a blank stare it would be akin to admitting that he was a liar and probably went to Highland Park or Bishop Lynch.  I know all of this because one of my good friends in college claimed to have attended Dallas Jesuit, and he verified that statement by his vast knowledge of jug culture.
For some reason, lost in the mists of history, a detention in a Jesuit high school isn’t just a detention – it is a jug.  There are two rival schools as to the etymology of the term, and adherents to each cling to their beliefs like Browns fans cling to the hope of a Super Bowl victory (or, is it ‘cling to the hope of a victory’?).
One school of thought says that the term is actually an acronym, like scuba or NASA.  According to this line of thought, the term ‘jug’ is really ‘JUG’ and stands for Justice Under God.  In its favor is the tough-sounding traditional Jesuit approach to discipline, an approach embodied in the ever-vigilant A.P.’s of Discipline and personified in our own Mr. Ryan Franzinger ‘02.
As appealing as the J.U.G. theory is, the explanation that I favor has jug deriving from the Latin noun jugum, or yoke.  For Jesuit schools, known far and wide as bastions of the liberal arts and classical education, to use a Latin word for detention has a nice, cozy feel to it.  It calls to mind the ancient and learned roots of the nickname of the Georgetown sports teams – the Hoyas.  Years ago the Georgetown football team had a massive offensive line, nicknamed Hoya Saxa by the well-educated young men in the stands.  Hoya Saxa is Greek for “What Rocks,” and over time that tribute to those giants who protected the backfield became simply Hoyas – literally, the Georgetown Whats. 
I also favor the jugum derivation because of the somewhat archaic connection that the term has to the word “collar”.  Certainly a yoke is a collar, but when used as a verb the term “to collar” is a part of old, old school police slang for catching a criminal; and what could be a more appropriate punishment for a collared criminal than giving him a jug?
In days gone by jugs included the memorization of Shakespeare or the writing out of some well-known document like the Constitution.  Today, I stare out at a half-dozen or so students – ur, criminals – who are catching up on some reading or studying for a quiz.  Since they are in the greybar hotel for such anti-social behavior as dress code violations and eating in a food-restricted area, it seems that the punishment, as God’s justice would demand, fits the crime.