Medieval University Students

“They attend classes but make no effort to learn anything….Such are the limbs of Satan rather than of Christ….And these persons who go to a university but do not study cannot with clear consciences enjoy the privilege of the fruits of benefices in a university.”

“They frequently learn what they would better ignore…such things as forbidden sciences, amatory discourses, and superstitions.”

“They defraud their master of their due salaries, although they are able to pay.”

“They have among themselves evil and disgraceful societies, associating together for ill.  And while in residence they sometimes are gulity of vices, against which their masters ought to provide and take action so far as they can.”

“The expense money which they have from their parents or churches they spend in taverns, conviviality, games and other superfluities, and so they return home empty, without knowledge, conscience, or money.”

Alvarus Pelagius (c.1275-1349), The Plaint of the Church, in The Middle Ages, Vol. 1: Sources of Medieval History 5th ed. (1992), 296-297.

Alvarus Pelagius, the Fransican friar and former canon lawyer, understood college students and their faults.


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